Six years ago I had read about the benefits of signing with babies, such as development of language skills and less frustration due to being able to express needs better. I was pregnant with Tabitha at the time and was so excited about the possibilities. I actually couldn't contain my enthusiasm and ended up introducing signing in the baby and toddler area in the Montessori where I worked. After Tabitha was born I soon started signing with her, though hubby, at the time, had his reservations. My signing knowledge was limited, but I did the best I could with the books I could find and some different websites. There was no chance of finding a class in our small rural community.
We continued to use some signs as we started having lesson time. I do have to say, hubby lost his reservations about signing, he saw the benefits. Unfortunately, through the years we have used it less and less. We never did use it as much with Hannah and I have been wanting to "resurrect" the habit. Recently I was offered the opportunity to become a WeeHands Ambassador! What perfect timing!
The first thing I am trying out is this self-paced Every Day Signs Online Baby Sign Language Class. The course begins with the goals of the class plus an introduction to sign language, including how to start with beginning communicators (which includes not just babies and toddlers, but individuals with special needs). It then moves on to learning the alphabet and numbers in sign language. The girls have been taught the alphabet in the past, as I would teach the sign in conjunction with the letter/sound. In fact, I remember when Tabitha first started showing signs of being able to read/sound out words she would say the sound while forming the sign language letter. However, as I have stated, we haven't been focusing on it as much lately, so they have lost some of it. Though they are catching on really quickly.
It is mentioned in the class, that it is very important to note the hand shapes, a lot of which are letters or numbers. But at the same time, you also need to pay attention to the movement used and the body space (where you form the sign, in front of your chest, at your shoulder, in front of your mouth) because those factors will change the meaning of the sign. In fact, I found it intriguing that pickle and plum are so close to each other, literally. Plum takes the "p" shape and places it up by the cheek and then flips it back and forth, while pickle takes the same "p" shape and places it by the jaw or side of the neck and makes the same movement. I always tried to explain to the children that a slight change can make a big difference in the sign.
One of the tips in teaching signs is to "think of real life situations such as mealtime, bathtime and play as natural and fun times that you might introduce signs." One of my favorite times to introduce signs is mealtime. The signs I have continued to use through the years with each child are the signs for "food/eat," "more," and "milk." I thought it was great that this class continues from the ABC's and Numbers into Food Signs.
Here the girls are helping to feed Harold and teach him the sign for "food/eat."
So far I haven't gotten beyond the food unit, but I am looking forward to teaching the girls more food signs and in turn teaching more to Harold. As we move on in the course we will learn signs for clothing, playtime, colors, location and place, people, home and so much more.
What I have found most helpful about this course is the explanation that she gives when teaching the sign. You are taught the hand shape and where to place it plus the movement that goes with it. In addition, she tries to explain why the sign is the way it is. This is so much more beneficial in trying to learn the sign than when I was trying to learn from other websites where the sign was just shown, sometimes extremely fast. In using this course, I love that I can go back and watch the video again and again if needed so I can make sure I have the sign correct. In addition, there are little quizzes that I get to take to see what I have retained. I also love that the focus is definitely learning in order to teach to children. I thought it was cool that there are videos of books being read along with signs being used.
The one concern is that, obviously, in a short class she can not show every sign that there is. There are so many more signs I'd love to learn just in the food section. However, I believe now that I am more aware of the hand shape and the importance of movement and placement, I will hopefully be able to search for signs I need and be able to figure them out. So this course is a great foundation for building on.
If you would like to find out more about this course here are some links for you:
The course description of the Everyday Signs Online Baby Sign Language Class, including the course schedule/calendar. Click here
FAQ's which address some common concerns. Click here
You can also find WeeHands on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And you can subscribe to their YouTube Channel.
But best of all, you have the opportunity to win a space in the Every Day Signs Online Baby Sign Language Class. You can enter the giveaway here.
Disclosure: I was given access to the WeeHands Everyday Signs Online Baby Sign Language Class as a WeeHands Ambassador. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.