Makaton is a visual method of communication using signs and symbols to enable people to communicate. At Tic Tocs Day Nursery in Exeter, a lot of our children have EAL (English as an additional language), some of our children have additional speech and language needs and some are just a little more shy than others! Makaton is so important to teach to the children so everyone can feel comfortable to communicate their thoughts, wants and needs however they feel fit.

The Benefits 

  • EAL.
    A lot of our children have English as an additional language and Tic Tocs is their place to learn English! Studies have shown that adding use of Makaton helps the pace in which children learn another language.
    It’s also important for their communication. If they can’t remember the correct word, they can use the sign.
  • Context
    Makaton aids children with extra clues by attaching contextual meanings to words. For example, “hungry” is a belly rub. This helps children to understand the meanings of the word.
  • Inclusivity.
    Makton is used worldwides! If they can learn how to sign, they can use it to communicate anywhere. 
  • Body Language and Facial Expressions.
    Communication isn’t just speech! The facials we express and movements we gesture can be the thing that changes the whole meaning of a sentence. This is such an important thing for children to learn as they grow.
  • Start Young!
    From baby age, Makaton can be taught. Yes, that’s right… children younger than “first-word territory” can use signs to communicate.
  • Supports Emotional Development
    When children are heard and understood, they are less likely to get frustrated. Teaching Makaton is a great way of ensuring this.

How do we teach Makaton?

Our deputy manager Jessica is qualified in Makaton and has been teaching the Pre-schoolers different signs at Circle Time and Meal Times such as “please” , “thank you”, “more” , “hungry” and “help”.” Check out our video on Facebook to see some of our Pre-schoolers showing off what they’ve learnt!
Jessica is patient with the children as an overload of information can bombard them and result in no learning at all. It is like learning a whole new language after all!

Like most things, practice and repetition is key. Getting it to stick in their heads means doing it a lot. Check out some Mr. Tumble videos at home! Here is one for basic simple words, wants and needs. Or go further and check out different objects such as animals and foods!

Fancy another read? We’ve put together some advice for nap times! Check it out here.