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Touch-Learn International Ltd
Touch-Learn was established in 2001 as a training provider and over the last 12 years they have specialised in positive-touch and communication-based programmes for professionals to undertake and then share when teaching parents. Touch-Learn’s principal programme is the five day Baby Massage Teacher training programme but over the last decade they have extended their programmes and tool kit for professionals to include Baby Yoga Teacher, Rhythm Kids® Teacher, Baby Signing Teacher, Massage for Babies with Special Needs and numerous other bespoke courses incorporating positive-touch with children.
All training programmes have been specifically designed for complementary therapists, health professionals and parenting practitioners who are working with parents. Over the years Touch-Learn has trained thousands of teachers, and the company is highly respected by their customers, students and alumni for the quality and professionalism that their programmes offer, leading Touch-Learn to be considered an exemplary training provider in their field. Hence their partnership with the University of Wolverhampton that was cemented in 2012.
The Director, Anita Epple, is passionate about offering quality programmes to enhance the skills of individuals and the performance of organisations through the achievement of recognised teaching qualifications. Indeed it is this passion in teaching excellence that lead Anita to be nominated and subsequently a finalist in the 2012 Nursery World Awards under the title of Trainer of the Year. The quality of the teaching and therefore the student experience has been borne out in research published by Anita in April 2012 (Epple 2012) in Staffordshire University's Innovative Practice E-Journal. This demonstrates Touch-Learn's commitment to its students, their right to a positive learning experience achieved through respectful communication, quality teaching, excellent resources and mentoring service. Touch-Learn insists that all of their trainers are highly experienced and qualified in their respective specialisms and importantly they all hold teaching qualifications.
Touch-Learn’s team is passionate about children and families and improving outcomes for families undertaking positive parenting skills in the community. They do this is by developing skills for professionals to become knowledgeable and reflective practitioners who can then provide the best possible service for the family as a whole. The company’s philosophy is based on respectful communication; this is reflected in all communication, including internally within the Touch-Learn team, externally from the trainers to their students and is also modelled by the teachers with the parents in their classes. This ensures a non-directive, non-stigmatising, non-judgemental and wholly supportive approach which in turn means families and children are undertaking parenting classes in a safe and nurturing environment optimising the outcomes for families; Touch-Learn’s ultimate focus.
The courses are grounded in research-based theory with a strong practical element as this is vital to achieve sustainable, positive outcomes. Touch-Learn does not believe in a franchise approach but rather offers their customers excellent, value-for-money courses without ongoing costs, thereby empowering their teachers to be independent. They do, however, continue to support their teachers beyond qualification, with updated resources and advice about their practice, totally free of charge.
The Touch-Learn Teacher Tool Kit:
Infant Massage Teacher Training Programme
This is a five day comprehensive programme encompassing research-based evidence, giving the professional an easy-to-learn practical Baby Massage routine and the under-pinning knowledge to teach parents safely, ethically and professionally. The teacher uses a life-like demonstration doll to show parents how to massage their babies. As massage and positive touch is a powerful medium for bonding and attachment it is vital that the teacher uses a doll and does not lay hands on the baby.
The course cost includes all teaching resources for teaching parents, course texts books, on-going tutorial support and a summative assessment on part two to ensure all teachers are practising safely and professionally. The course is accredited by the Guild of Sensory Development (www.gofsd.org.uk), the University of Wolverhampton (levels 4, 5 and 7) and is underwritten by IPTI.
Baby Yoga Teacher Training Programme
This is a two day supplemental programme designed to increase the skills of the qualified infant massage teacher. Again, a demonstration doll is used to teach parents simple exercises based on yoga poses and includes an element of relaxation, stretching and breathing for the parent too. The programme enhances the bond and attachment between parent and baby.
The course cost includes all teaching resources for teaching parents, course texts books, on-going tutorial support and a summative assessment ensuring teachers are practising safely and professionally. The course is accredited by the Guild of Sensory Development and is underwritten by IPTI.
Baby Signing Teacher Training Programme
This two day programme has been designed for all professionals working with parents with children in early years. Baby signing is a form of communication used between parents and babies before they have the ability to talk, using extended gestures from British Sign Language. Babies who use sign are less frustrated as they are able to communicate their needs. The course offers teachers 8 weeks of classes with parents and involves lots of singing and props for a lively session.
The course cost includes teaching resources, course texts book, on-going tutorial support. Students are advised to purchase a license to use BLS images to enhance their teaching resources. The course is soon to be accredited by the Guild of Sensory Development and is underwritten by IPTI.
Massage for Babies with Special Needs
A one day supplementary programme aimed at qualified baby massage teachers who wish to offer support to parents with premature babies, or babies with special needs. The course offers two new routines to support parents of these babies and advises teachers how to research and adapt their massage techniques and routines as required dependent upon the needs of the infant.
The course cost includes a comprehensive compendium of special needs and course texts book. The CPD course is accredited by the Guild of Sensory Development and is underwritten by IPTI.
Prospectuses for all courses are available from www.touchlearn.co.uk
Epple, A. (2012) Student retention on an Infant Massage Teacher Training Programme, Innovative Practice in Higher Education, Vol 1, No 2 Staffordshire University
Download leaflet from Guild of Sensory Development with Guidelines for choosing a reputable Infant Massage Teacher Training programme.
Click here for leaflet: Finding a Baby Massge Teacher Training course
Anita Epple Finalist at Nursery World Awards 2012
Trainer of the Year Award
Anita Epple was delighted to have been nominated, short-listed and then on the night become a finalist for the coveted award of Trainer of the Year. A delegation of four attended the prestigious event in Lancaster Gate in London last month and it was a truly enjoyable evening celebrating the very best organisations, teams, individuals, initiatives and resources in the UK. Editor, Liz Roberts's opening address was very moving and she talked of shining a light on the hard work, innovation and dedication of those in early years education and childcare, illustrating best practice and raising the profile of early years. This certainly brought a lump to Anita's throat who has strived for excellence.
Anita said "I was absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for the award, but to then be short-listed was such a wonderful surprise. I can't thank my colleagues and current and past students enough for the wonderful testimonials that supported my nomination and generally the lovely wishes of support from so many. I came away from the evening as a finalist and I can assure you I was in extremely good company and proud to have taken part in such an event."
Photo: David Thomas, Anita Epple, Louise Cooper-Bevan and Lee Cooper-Bevan
Nursery World - Trainer of the Year Award 2012
Anita Epple short-listed
Touch-Learn International Ltd is proud to announce that Anita Epple, director and Trainer, has been short-listed for the prestigious Trainer of the Year Award 2012 in the Nursery World Awards!
Anita was nominated for the accolade by both her colleagues and students, past and present, back in May and is now set to travel to London in September for the black tie awards evening, where Early Years Professionals will gather for a night of celebrating outstanding achievements and professional excellence. Please join us in congratulating Anita on this wonderful achievement and wish her all the best for the night.
Touch-Learn International Ltd
Just One of The Testimonials For The Award
Anita Epple Trainer of the Year
When I decided to undertake a course of training in Infant Massage, I did a lot of research to find a reputable and rigorous training course. A combination of information available on the internet and personal recommendation brought me to Touch Learn International. I completed my training in March 2012 and Anita Epple was the course tutor.
Anita embodies the organisation’s philosophy of respectful communication in all her interactions with the students. She is clearly very knowledgeable and experienced, but is open to new learning and always looking for ways to improve the training she offers. As a student I felt listened to, supported and challenged to move on in my learning and practice. Anita models the inclusive and respectful approach to learning and teaching that she advocates for work with parents and children. She comes over as genuine and open and her warmth and sense of humour help everyone relax and enjoy their learning.
She is absolutely committed to infant massage as a powerful form of early intervention which helps children develop and supports their parents in getting to know and respond to their babies, thus strengthening early attachment and communication. She is clearly also interested in researching the effects of massage and contributing to the evidence base for its effectiveness through her own research and through working with university based researchers. She engages her students in dialogue about these interests and is interested in their perspectives as colleagues with a variety of different backgrounds and experience.
I could go on and on about other aspects of Anita’s excellent practice but the bottom line is she made me and the rest of my group feel nurtured and empowered to be good massage teachers ourselves. She is simply a great and inspiring teacher and deserves to be more widely recognised as such.
Director, Early Learning Consultancy
President of Early Education
Visiting Fellow at Oxford Brookes University