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Want to be a baby whisperer? Stop guessing what your baby is trying to tell you.
Baby Sign Language (Birth to 18 months) gives babies the opportunity to communicate long before they can verbalize their wants and needs. Our six-week playgroup is a fun opportunity for parents to build their signing vocabulary with themes like mealtime, animals, colors, family, bedtime, and more.
Eighteen sessions are split into three different six-day series named after the primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. It is recommended that participants enroll in the Introductory Workshop prior to taking a playgroup series.
In each session you will:
-Read and Sign popular board books
-Learn valuable tips to help your child learn more than 100+ signs!
-Individual Sessions for each Playgroup are outlined in the “Details” tab
-You are welcome to bring your baby, but it is not required.**
-Day #1 Magic 7* Signs plus Mealtime Red
-Day #2 Colors and Clothing
-Day #3 Animals on the Farm
-Day #4 Bath Time Signs
-Day #5 Weather Signs
-Day #6 Family Signs & Series Review
-Day #1 Magic 7* Signs plus Mealtime Yellow
-Day #2 Colors and Garden Critters
-Day #3 Animals in the Zoo
-Day #4 Safety and Senses
-Day #5 Feelings and Emotions
-Day #6 Opposites & Series Review
-Day #1 Magic 7* Signs plus Mealtime Blue
-Day #2 Ocean Animals
-Day #3 Things that go Zoom
-Day #4 Bedtime Signs
-Day #5 Playtime and Manners
-Day #6 Woodland Animals & Series Review
* Magic 7 signs are the basic starter signs
**Babies are welcome in class, or parents may come on their own, since babies will do the bulk of their learning through being exposed to signs by their caregivers in their daily routines rather than in a class once a week, just like with spoken language. We call the series of classes "playgroups" because it's the grown-ups that are playing, having fun growing their vocabulary and confidence, using the signs with interactive games and songs. Many of the younger babies sleep through class or are nursing. At this stage of the game, the babies are just along for the ride. If you have really mobile toddler you might prefer our Toddler Series.
If you have an active toddler you might consider attending without your child so that you can focus and get the most out of class. If you do bring your baby, have some things to keep your child occupied and happy, like a few favorite toys, snacks and drink. Older siblings are welcome if the instructor feels there is enough room and you feel they will do alright.
When can you start learning how to sign with your baby?
Start Now. You’ll hear six to eight months old is an optimal time to start signing with your baby. After babies are six months old, they are starting to associate words with the world around them. That's language whether spoken or gestured. Their long-term memory is developmentally ready to retain the signs they see. At six months of age babies’ motor skills and hand-eye coordination are at a stage to be able to make more precise gestures. Having said this, it’s perfectly fine to start earlier than six months old. That way you will be ready with a solid signing vocabulary when your baby is six months old! Start building your baby sign language skills today.
Two reasons why we suggest parents start early on:
1. We’ve found the younger the baby is the easier it is for parents to pay attention in class. Older babies often demand more attention during class and pull the parent’s focus away.
2. Many parents are very interested in learning baby sign language however they end up going back to work when their baby is four months old at which point they don’t have the time to attend the classes.
It’s worthwhile to note that many Deaf parents sign with their babies from birth. Their babies generally sign back significantly earlier than babies in hearing families do. The only caveat is that when you start signing with a very young baby and you don't see any results, don't give up. Be patient and remember that receptive language comes before expressive language whether it's signed or verbal.
When does a baby start to sign back to you?
If you start signing regularly to babies when they're under seven months of age you can reasonably expect them to sign back when they’re between eight and ten months old. It really depends on how often you sign with them and it also depends on your baby’s personal agenda. Yes, every baby has their own agenda and, much like their first step or the day they are potty trained, they ultimately are the ones that decide when they are ready to start signing.
Here is a link to Bill's FAQ page.
Bill White received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychobiology from University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the director of Happy Baby Signs' Baby Sign Language program and a baby sign language instructor. Bill is passionate about the benefits of signing with babies and is the proud father of two hearing sons who both sign.