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July 2008
   
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 Welcome

Hello and welcome to the 4th Edition of the KinderSigns News! Summerís hottest month is fast approaching, which also means the beginning of the new school year. For many instructors, with the new school year, means new prospective customers- check out the Instructors Corner for more information.

In the Newsletter this month:
Article
Featured Instructor
Instructors Corner
KinderSigns around the World
Baby and Child Signs
Success Story
Become a Kindersigns Instructor
   
 Article

Teaching a Second Language- Baby Sign Language

In modern times a growing interest has been developed towards teaching sign language to hearing pre-verbal babies and toddlers. The most common reason behind this is an intense desire on the part of a parent or caregiver to understand what the baby is feeling or needing at any given moment. Sign language provides you the opportunity to easily communicate with the child without experiencing any frustration. Furthermore as the parent or caregiver, you would be able to experience a deeper bonding with the infant as well as the satisfaction of knowing how to effectively communicate with him/her.

Teaching sign language to a baby is quite easy and can be a very enjoyable experience. Infants use a different part of their brain for signing than speech and they also develop the muscles in their hands before those which are required for speech thus enabling them to sign successfully before speaking. Research has shown that signing babies experience less frustration due to the fact of being able to communicate their needs and wants to their parents. In addition to this there are many other advantages of teaching sign language to your infant. Research shows that being multilingual expands cognitive processes and intellectual skills as well as it boosts the lingual developments of an infant. So in fact as opposed to the existing myths regarding sign language delaying speech in a child, signing children actually speak sooner than those who do not. Children who sign, has shown stronger lingual development and higher IQ results (10-12 points) than those who do not sign.    

Chances are your baby already knows some signing gestures such as waving bye-bye and clapping when she/he is happy. Once you have decided to teach signing to your infant, start with a few gestures. One method is to start with signs which are needed often through out the day. For example milk, eat, more, drink or sleep. Another method to introduce the first sign gestures are through activities/things which interest or excite your little one. Babies love to play with pets or listen to music. Start introducing these words to him/her. Always say the word out loud while signing it. For example when you are giving your baby milk, say the word out loud as you are signing it. Consistency is the key to success in teaching your child sign language. As your baby starts to recognize the signs and signs back at you, you can start introducing some new signs. But keep using the ones which your baby already knows.

It may take a while for the baby to respond to the signs depending on his/her age. Do not get discouraged about this; just keep on signing to your baby. Eventually your baby will start to respond. An important fact to keep in mind is that your baby will not be able to perform the gestures fluently as you are able to do it. Your baby will adapt some hand shapes and movement of signs depending on his/her hand/eye coordination. Keep signing to your baby in the correct way and as he/she matures and develops the skills, the signing would be more precise.          

Teaching sign language is not time consuming and you do not require any prior knowledge. You can easily pick up signs through the help of a sign language dictionary, a baby signing book or through websites. You can start teaching your baby as early as six months of age. Enjoy teaching your child and have fun. Do not make it into a boring or exhausting chore. Be patient, consistent and encouraging. Soon you would be amazed by how easily your pre-verbal child communicates with you.     

 
 Featured Instructor

This monthís Featured Instructor is Allison Bouffard!

When did you decide you wanted to teach baby sign language?
Right after my son was born I was searching the internet and came across some articles about baby sign language. I saw how many benefits there are for both the babies and parents. I was floored! I had never really thought that hearing babies could learn sign language or needed to. I had just started my year leave from teaching first grade and thought this would be a great thing to learn and to hopefully provide some additional income for the family

When and how did you get started teaching baby sign language?
I took the Kindersigns course and got certified in the fall. I began teaching a friend’s baby and then my own son when he turned 6 months old. It was right after the New Year (2008) that I began teaching. I approached the different moms’ clubs and breastfeeding resource group that I belonged to and the Stroller Strides exercise class patrons that I knew. From there I went to libraries and Babies R Us stores-anywhere that I could think of that had baby clientele to spread the word about baby signing. I am doing workshops and seminars mostly out of my home and occasionally at someone else’s home or location.

What is the most important thing/lesson you have learned working with children?
Each child/baby is unique and learns differently. They learn at their own pace and in their own way. It is important to remember that there are different learning modalities for how one learns best (i.e. visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners). You need to play on their strengths, be patient, have fun and be positive!

What are your inspirations?
My son’s beautiful smile (thus my business name TOO CUTE FOR WORDS) and my husband’s never-ending encouragement, motivation and support! I love seeing the look of success on children’s faces when they try and when they know they’ve succeeded!

Any news that you would like to share with us?
I presented FREE intro. Seminars at several Babies R Us stores in CT during the months of Mar.-May. I am going to teach a three session workshop at a Trumbull, CT library this summer. This fall I will teach a Baby Signing 101 workshop for a continuing education class in Fairfield, CT as well as one in Stratford, CT. I often run specials and offer discounts to entice participants to attend and to bring their friends!

A bit about Allison:
I am a lower Fairfield County, CT elementary school teacher with 11 years+ experience. I have a B.A. in Elementary/Special Education and Psychology from Providence College. I have a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Fairfield University. I am on maternity leave this year. I live with my husband and baby boy. I began to research baby sign language as I watched my son grow but was too young to communicate with us. I was intrigued by the benefits of baby signing with hearing babies and couldn't wait to become certified in order to spread this knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) with other parents who want to be less frustrated, give their child a gift of communication and have a greater bond with their child/children.

www.kinderworkshops.com/toocuteforwords.html
From everyone at Kindersigns.com, we wish you the greatest success with your Baby Sign Language Business, Allsion!

If you would like to be our next Featured Instructor send me an email to jamie@kindersigns.com 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!

 
 Instructors Corner

With the new school year fast approaching, this can mean prospective customers for you! Target schools, specifically elementary schools and daycares when you market your business. Also contact the Mother’s Day Out/Kids Day Out programs, Churches, YMCAs, Hospitals, etc.

Very soon, Kindersigns will have a new Instructors kit page/center that has a forum live inside of it! I will do my best to make sure you all get the necessary information to access this new Kit Center when it is ready J

Don’t forget to visit the current Kindersigns Forum. You will need to register an account first. You will find the link in your KinderSigns Instructors kit page. The forum will be a great place to get advice, share ideas and network with other instructors! Please join in, introduce yourselves, and create some topics and post!

 
 Kindersigns around the World

We want to hear from you! We want to know what part of the world you are from and how Kindersigns has helped you, your baby or students. Send me an email at jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns World’ in the subject line. Please include your name, email, web site URL if you have one, what Country you are from and how you have adapted Kindersigns as a parent or Instructor.

Please visit our Kindersigns Instructor map and place a pin on your location!

 
 Baby and Child Signs

Learn a word or two in Baby Sign Language! This month’s words are taken from the View and Positive categories. The words are Zoom and Yes.

Zoom - One forefinger is extended and held horizontally with the thumb side up. The thumb of the L hand shape is placed on the forefinger. The thumb and forefinger of the L hand shape close as the hand moves along the forefinger. The closing of the L hand shape is showing an object getting smaller as it gets farther and farther away. Thus, the sign represents something taking off and going far away quickly.

Yes - The S hand shape shakes up and down. The S hand shape represents the head nodding.

   

Be sure to check out next month's issue for the new signs!

 
 Success Stories

Are you a Kindersigns Instructor and want to share with us your success story? Please send your submissions to Jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns Success Story’ in the subject line.

 
 Become a Kindersigns Instructor

Want to join the largest Baby Sign Language Instructors Network in the world? We would love to have you join!
Visit www.kindersigns.com for more information!  

I hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Kindersigns News!
Keep signing and making a difference in children’s lives.

Jamie Edson Opielski - Director of Operations
Kindersigns.com

   
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