"My dream was to create an English-speaking, multicultural centre for parents with small children, where you can find internationally acclaimed activities for babies, toddlers and children. At the same time, I wanted to create a space where parents and children can build connection and community. Many expat mums in particular, feel isolated, and BabyPequeKids gives them an opportunity to meet other mums, families and children in a safe, child-friendly environment. Mums often say that when they arrived in Barcelona, BabyPequeKids was their lifeline."l
What do you do?
I’m an expert in early development. I run activities in English for parents and children from newborn to 5 years. The activities are tailored to each developmental stage of the child. It’s about parents / caregivers doing things together with their child; I guide them, facilitating knowledge, information and activities.
Where do you do these activities?
I have a centre in Barcelona called BabyPequeKids, which I opened in November 2012. It has been specially designed, with a very large play area and anti-bump flooring, lots of natural light, a wide variety of great developmental toys, changing facilities, high-chairs and everything mums need.
Why did you open BabyPequeKids?
I started running BabySensory™ classes in and around Barcelona, but I wanted to do something more than activities. My dream was to create an English-speaking, multicultural centre for parents with small children, where you can find internationally acclaimed activities for babies, toddlers and children. At the same time, I wanted to create a space where parents and children can build connection and community. Many expat mums, in particular, feel isolated, and BabyPequeKids gives them an opportunity to meet other mums, families and children in a safe, child-friendly environment. Mums often say that when they arrived in Barcelona, BabyPequeKids was their lifeline.
Tell us more about the activities you offer.
I offer a wide range of activities in English for parents with children from newborn to 5 years. The children come with parents, caregivers or grandparents.
How important is it for parents or other adults to take part in the activities?
It’s essential. The key is that children learn better with a parent / caregiver who shares and supports their exploration of their world.
Can you give us more details about what you offer at BabyPequeKids?
The first stage is Baby Sensory™, for 0 – 13 months. This is an award-winning programme from the UK based on more than 30 years of expert research. Here we do sensory activities which lay the foundation for learning. Parents play a key role in this important first year of their baby’s life, because everything baby learns starts from sensory experiences. Ongoing research clearly demonstrates that multisensory experience is essential for developing neural connections, which are the basis of all future learning.
The continuation is Toddler Sense™, for 13 to 36 months. This is also a research-based award-winning programme from the UK. This is the next step in child-led learning, in which play is a crucial part of the child’s development. Toddler Sense™ builds on sensory learning and introduces new learning through exploratory play and games. Each week is new adventure where parent and child take part together in music, movement and adventure activities.
Our newest parent-child programme is Kid’s Funtime. This is a hands-on learning experience for 3- 5 year olds along with parents or caregivers, where English is the means of communication. The activities are creative, child-motivating experiences which engage all the child’s senses and motor skills. The experiences stimulate the child’s interest and expose the child to the language in real-life meaningful situations which they can relate to in their own world. Kids Funtime supports different levels of language development. Whether your child speaks English at home or has limited or no exposure to the language, Kids Funtime provides a learning enviornment where children are able to develop at their own pace and build on what they already know.
Can you tell us more about the community aspect of BabyPequeKids?
The people who attend the activities come from all over the world, representing many different cultures. And that of course includes Spanish and Catalan mums. At BabyPequeKids you will hear many other languages being used by both adults and children, but what brings us all together under the one umbrella is English. Every day I hear mums giving each other tips on raising children – problems with sleep, eating, potty training, where-do-I-find? – mums arranging playdates with new friends, parties, nights out – in a word, building up their own support network. As I said before, for many first-time mums, and mums new to Barcelona, BabyPequeKids can be a lifeline.
Do you only run organised activities?
Currently I also run play sessions for children under three accompanied by mum or caregiver. We do baby-related talks in English, and we rent out space for under-three birthday parties; in fact Baby’s First Birthday Party is my speciality. And I do weekend events like Christmas, Halloween, and so on. I also have a number of projects in the pipeline. For example, I’m organising pre-natal courses in English with a midwife, a First Aid course for mums with babies, talks on weaning and nutrition.
Yvonne, could you tell us a bit about your credentials and experience?
I have an MA in Education from a UK university, where I specialised in baby development and, specifically, language development for multilingual children. At that time, I was working as an English pre-school teacher with three-year-old Spanish children and actually had to set up the bilingual programmes. There were very few studies on bilingualism then, and so I felt the need to research the subject in more depth. When my own daughter was born, 16 years ago, I was able to apply the theory hands on. This is when I really understood the importance of learning language through real-life experiences that are meaningful to the child. Through my studies, I came to know Dr Lin Day, a UK specialist in baby development, and joined her international team, introducing Baby Sensory™ and Toddler Sense™ to Spain in 2010.
So, for mums with babies or toddlers who are looking for a fun activity in English, or looking to meet other like-minded mums, BabyPequeKids is the place. Yvonne, how do they contact you?
They’re welcome to visit my website, www.babypequekids.com or contact me by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 645 817 317