This month's Featured Instructor is Joann Woolley!
When did you decide you wanted to teach baby sign language?
I decided in July 2007 that I needed a change of work environment.
When and how did you get started teaching baby sign language?
Having an infant and a toddler at home I knew I only could be drawn away from them by work that was fulfilling to me. My husband always said I should do something with my skill in ASL, my mother is deaf and I'm fluent in sign. After teaching my children to sign I realized the joy it brings to a family and having always wanted to be a teacher of sorts this would combine both my talent and childhood aspiration along with my adult desire to be in business for myself.
What is the most important thing/lesson you have learned working with children?
They are so much smarter than I'd ever imagined, and signing shows us what they are capable of at such an early age. I now believe that with the lack of ability to communicate that children lose some of their intuitive desire for learning probably because they give up, thinking that people don't understand them.
What are your inspirations?
My mother inspires me. She always had to work hard for what we had growing up and never allowed pride to impede her. This has helped me get over the initial fear of approaching people with my business card, asking if I can hold workshops in their place of business, and network with well established children's business owners. I am the one held accountable for growing my business. My mother has said to me plenty growing up how proud she is for what I've accomplished, I believe creating a business with a skill she has taught me will epitomize that feeling.
Seeing my children being understood by their father when using a sign also inspires me. We started signing from day one, literally. That was the natural practice for us in our circumstance because grandma is deaf and that's what my mother did with me. Because of it being such a built in practice my husband is even better at integrating signs into his activities with the kids than I am! Starting early helped with daddy to be embedded in the belief of the importance of signing. Dads in general often have a more difficult time with understanding their newly verbal children practicing talking and I love when he is able to ask "Do you have a sign for that?" and then our kids and daddy are successfully communicating!
Any news to share with us?
I'm holding a workshop at Java Mama on January 14th. This is a coffee house café unique for moms to enjoy a cup of java or have lunch and get some work done while child plays in the supervised play area that you can easily overlook. Her business opened just two years ago and I though the concept was fabulous, in addition the location has a classroom for all sorts of featured activities, mommy and me yoga, toddler dance party, crafts etc....When I first started my business I knew I wanted to approach the owner about having my workshops there Through personal introduction and sending e-mails I had yet to secure her interest to invite me to use her classroom. It was in not giving up and networking with another mom who had products in her café that captured her interest finally and bringing me into her classroom. She even has a 13 month old son and she wants to attend my workshop!
A bit about Joann
Sign4Baby instructor Joann Woolley has signed since infancy and recalls the countless times telling the story of being able to communicate through sign language before walking or talking. Growing up with a mother who is deaf enabled Joann to become fluent in American Sign Language and experience firsthand the dramatic impact signing has in cognitive development. Now having her own children, Amberly age 2 and Kyle 9 months, she found that teaching them to sign created a bonding experience unparalleled by other parenting practices. This is what sparked the desire for Joann to help other parents discover what their baby is thinking.
You can visit Joann's web site at:
www.sign4baby.com Coming soon!
Joann is also listed as the Featured Instructor on www.Kinderworkshops.com, check it out!
If you would like to be our next Featured Instructor send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Featured Instructor in the subject line. Our Featured Instructors will be presented in the monthly Kindersigns newsletter and on www.kinderworkshops.com for one month!