Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Starting Points - Baby Sign Language

 Yesterday I had the privilege of joining the Roppongi Cooperative Playgroup to share about the benefits of signing with babies and toddlers. After a quick introduction to baby sign language we did a mini lesson based on the song “Pets I Love” from Baby Signing Time.

We practiced the pet signs in the classic song Old Macdonald and while reading the book "Peek-a-Boo Pets". The lesson wrapped up with the ever popular Sing & Sign Along book “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”.

Many great questions were asked and ideas shared. Here are some of the take-aways:
 - The best time to start signing is today. The benefits vary depending on the age of your child but it is never too early or too late to start.
 - Most of the time we sign with our dominate hand (the one you write with) but when you are holding something (like baby ;-) ) you can use whichever had is free.
 - Signing makes a great bridge between spoken languages. Use the same set of signs with all the languages you speak. It is also a chance to learn a new language with your child!

There are many signing DVDs to choose from. My favorite (and I’ve viewed a lot!) are the ones in the Signing Time series. I like the way that the signs are taught with songs and hints to remember them. The DVDs show real people doing the signs - including children. This is important because it can be hard to make out fine differences in handshakes in animated signing materials. Most importantly though, Signing Time teaches ASL vocabulary so the signs you and your child learn are not simply gestures for this era in life but are a part of a real language which can be used throughout life and around the world.

- There are both digital (online) and hard copies of the DVDs. I keep some of the hardcopies on hand here in Japan so drop me a line if you prefer the DVD format.

Some of the other questions that came up were about links for more information.
There are Signing Time video clips on Youtube but the material there is only a fraction of what you can access through the digital player and app. You could think of the Youtube videos as a “best of” soundtrack for some of the DVDs. 
Also, with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. For babies/toddlers I recommend looking first at the Baby Signing Time series. For children who are in a phase where they love animals, there are 3 great DVDs in Series 1 (#7 Leah's Farm , #8 Great Outdoors, #9 Zoo Train) and an Awesome Animals episode of Rachel and the Treeschoolers. Each series has its own unique flavor so take a look around!

I highly recommend taking exploring the various options on the digital player. Use the code " sign99 " to get a 1 month subscription for $0.99. With the Signing Time TV app to watch on your phone & tablet. Go to this link to make an account and them you can download the app to access your account on your phone or tablet.

Signing Time Academy Instructors also teach classes all over the world.  
My current classes:
Wednesdays in Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 竹の塚足立区)
Thursdays at Hana House in Suginami-ku ハナハウス杉並区)

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions &
Happy Signing! 

☆ Affiliate links may be included in posts. While at no cost to you, money earned will help me to be able to continue sharing about the benefits of signing and multilingualism.

Fall Classes 2018

Baby Signing Time & Beyond Class

水曜日   Wednesdays in Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 竹の塚足立区)
木曜日  Thursdays at Hana House in Suginami-ku ハナハウス杉並区)