THÉRÈSE Markham loves seeing the joy on the faces of babies and toddlers in her TinyTalk classes when their parents understand what they’re trying to say.

Equally, the smiles radiating from the adults as they communicate with their little ones is just as rewarding.

Baby signing sessions in Warrington are hugely popular, with Thérèse teaching the smallest family members and their grown ups how to communicate for the past 18 years.

It’s these happy customers who have voted TinyTalk Warrington’s Best for Kids 2023, something which Thérèse is quite rightly celebrating.

Each week, we will be searching for the best Warrington has to offer in different categories and we’ve given out 15 awards for 2023.

The winners so far:

Best for Hair – Ashleigh Hair and Beauty

Best for Pies – Tomlins Bakery

Best for Nails – Bamboo Hair & Beauty

Best for Roast Dinner – Heaths Kitchen

Best for Cocktails – Dead Eyes

Best for Breakfast -Café Blu

Best for Fitness – Daniel Warburton

Best for Fish and Chips – Fish Net

Best for Tattoos – Danny’s Tattoo

Best for Pizza - Donatello

Best for Pets – Victoria Park Vets

Best Independent Shop or Business – The Phone Whisperer

Best for Dessert – White Lace Bakery

Best for Beauty – Bella You

Voting for Warrington’s Best Gym is currently taking place and we’re also looking for nominations in our latest search - Best Beer Garden.

Next on the list was the search for Warrington’s Best for Kids and TinyTalk Warrington, Newton and Lymm took the latest Best of 2023 crown.

TinyTalks Thérèse Markham

TinyTalk's Thérèse Markham

Thérèse started teaching the baby and toddler signing classes in 2005 and 18 years later she’s still running sessions in some of the same venues – St Thomas’ Church hall in Stockton Heath – as well as new locations in Newton and Lymm and the same Great Sankey building for the past 15 years.

It was while she was on maternity leave with her daughter Hannah, who is now 19, that she saw an article in the national press about TinyTalk.

Thérèse was already teaching Hannah some signs and she decided she wanted to share her skills with other families and their young ones.

Thérèse said: “I was made redundant while on maternity leave in 2004 and by chance read about TinyTalk in the national papers.

“I was already successfully teaching my daughter baby signing at home and I was also looking for a job.

“When I saw that TinyTalk were recruiting for teachers in the north west, I realised that this was something I could do and something I really wanted to do.

“Using British Sign Language (BSL) signs, TinyTalk baby signing classes help babies and toddlers to communicate with their families before they can talk.

“Rather than feeling frustrated babies and toddlers can sign what they need, what they want and what they can see, as soon as their fine motor skills are established.

“I have weekly classes for babies from birth to 16/18 months and toddlers from 16/18 months to preschool / school age, as well as a six-week gentle workshop for newborn babies in their 4th trimester, under 12 weeks old, together with their parents or carers.

“With weekly themes including bedtime, going to the park and colours of the rainbow, the hour-long classes are essentially a fun and interactive signing class.

“We sing traditional nursery rhymes and action songs, while learning handy BSL based baby signs.

“Each week there’s an age-appropriate sensory activity or language game and every class has an incorporated social time giving parents a chance to chat and form friendships over a hot or cold drink with biscuits while the babies and toddlers play.”

Babies and toddlers learn BSL signs to communicate with their grown ups

Babies and toddlers learn BSL signs to communicate with their grown ups

Before joining TinyTalk, Thérèse worked in the travel industry in various jobs and locations, including three years in Mallorca.

Being self-employed wasn’t too daunting for the now 52-year-old, and she received excellent support from the TinyTalk head office team.

TinyTalk Warrington is the only baby signing class in the Warrington area and the company was one of the first to incorporate social time at the end of each class, which many first-time parents have enjoyed over the years, having formed life-long friendships with other families.

Thérèse said: “This job combines my love and passion for baby signing, and all the wonderful benefits it brings, with the flexibility of work around my young and now growing family.

“I love seeing the joy on the babies’ faces when they know they’ve been understood and seeing the joy on the parents’ faces when they understand their little ones.

“Knowing that I’ve helped these families puts a smile on my face every single day.

“The cuddles from the babies and the hugs from the toddlers are simply the best!”

There are weekly themes to the TinyTalk classes

There are weekly themes to the TinyTalk classes

But what do the families think about TinyTalk? Why did they want Thérèse to win this Best of 2023 title?

One happy parent said: “Therese is so lovely and welcoming.

“It’s so amazing to learn how to communicate with your little one before they can talk.”

Thérèse was excited and humbled to discover her TinyTalk sign classes had been shortlisted for Warrington’s Best for Kids 2023 award as there are so many fantastic classes for babies and toddlers in the area.

Newborn babies come to class with parents and grandparents

Newborn babies come to class with parents and grandparents

She said: “I’ve not stopped smiling since I found out we won the award.

“Knowing that parents in Warrington think I offer the best for their babies and toddlers means so much.

“After running my own business for more than 18 years, this is definitely one of the best things to have happened to me.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me.

“It’s been so lovely reading everyone’s comments - some from families who were with me at the start back in 2005 - as well as those currently in classes with me now.

“Knowing that my classes have made a difference is just the best feeling ever.”

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