VaVoom! Toddler & Preschooler Sign Language
VaVoom! takes Happy Baby Signs’ Boom and Zoom Playgroups to a new level – just for toddlers and preschoolers! Your child will have a blast learning American Sign Language (ASL) by singing, dancing, story time, and action-packed games. Eight fun-filled themed sessions:
- Let’s Eat
- More than a Rainbow of Colors
- Lions and Tigers and Bears and More!
- We Are Family
- Vehicles That Go VaVoom!
- What are You Wearing?
- Let’s Go Outside
- Move and Groove
The Benefits of Sign Language with Older Children
by Happy Baby Signs
Signing with your baby is a wonderful way to deepen the bond between you and your child and jump start his or her verbal skills. But are there benefits to signing with toddlers after they become verbal? The answer is, “Yes!”
As your child matures and starts to verbalize she will go through a transitional period, speaking some words and signing others. At around 19 months of age, a child will often discontinue the signs as soon she can say the words. It’s so much easier to say, “Mommy” than to sign it. However, even at two or three years old, it’s not always easy for parents to comprehend what their child is saying. Using sign language can often bridge the gap and give your child a way to communicate with you. Asking your child if she can use her hands to tell you what she wants can reduce her frustration and minimize temper tantrums, making the “terrible twos” not so terrible.
Touch Blue Sky’s Baby Sign Language Director, Bill White tells a story of being out on a stroller walk with his son, Liam. Liam was a toddler and had been speaking verbally for a few months. About five blocks from home, Liam said, “Mush mush!” Bill increased the pace thinking that his son wanted him to go faster thinking of the dog sled movie where they call out, “Mush” to make the dogs run faster. Increasingly frustrated, Liam said, “Mush, mush!” again. Bill stopped the stroller and requested Liam to say it slower. Liam opened his eyes wide and slowly replied, “Muuuushhhh.” Still confused Bill asked, “Can you tell me with your hands?” Liam beat his chest with his hands to sign “GORILLA” and Bill instantly understood what Liam wanted – Gorilla Munch cereal, which was located in a container in the bottom of the stroller. Bill put some of the cereal on the tray of Liam’s stroller and Liam munched (mushed) happily all the way home. Potential melt down averted by signing.
Feeling the Phonics
Signing is a good thing for all age groups. When an individual signs, language is processed not only in the auditory center of the brain but also the visual and kinesthetic brain centers. Thus, speech memories are stored and processed in three parts of the brain rather than one. A signing child can see and feel the words as well as hear them. When a child signs, he is utilizing different neural modalities and accessing more brain power, so to speak. Fingerspelling helps older children as they learn to read. Sign language helps visual learners integrate new information. Parents and children can fingerspell the letters as the child sounds out the words. For kinesthetic learners, those who learn by doing, signing can help channel physical energy into communicating their thoughts. Children have said that when they practice for their spelling tests in elementary school, fingerspelling each word helps them “feel the phonics.”
A mother who is an ASL interpreter told a story about her daughter’s spelling test. Her daughter, who is dyslexic and skilled at ASL, scored 100 percent on her spelling tests. She said, “Mom, I just fingerspell the words!” Motor memory is different from auditory recall. Apparently, her hands that are accessing her muscle memory are not dyslexic.
There recently was a research project with fourth graders that had slow reading speeds. Once they started an ASL program their reading speeds increased – some up to 40% faster. Perhaps these children were more right brained, visual and kinesthetic learners.
ASL As A Second Language
Many parents have enjoyed Baby Sign Language and would like to continue teaching their child ASL as a second language. Children learn rapidly and are able to pick up languages very easily at a young age! Perhaps they might have a deaf relative or friend with whom they would like to be able to communicate.
The Bilingual Bridge
Bilingual families that have used baby sign language already know the advantages of ASL. Signing builds an iconic bridge between the two languages. For example, the same signs are used for words spoken in English or Spanish. Knowing a sign for a word helps a child recognize the same word spoken in other languages.
Signing may actually improve a child’s IQ
Research studies have followed signing babies as they mature. At eight years old, these children scored, on average, 12 points higher in IQ testing than a control group of non-signing eight year olds. The signers had a mean IQ of 114 (75th percentile) versus the non-signers’ mean score of 102 (53rd percentile). The study was designed to equalize socioeconomic factors between the two groups.
Signing Saves You From Shouting
Signing is also great to use at a noisy playground because it reduces a parent’s need to shout. Whether you want to communicate a five minute warning before heading home or a reminder to be careful climbing the ladder to the slide, you can sign to your child from all the way across the playground. And, using sign language is just plain fun. It can give your family your own little “secret language.” Your child or even your partner can silently sign they are headed to the restroom without having to announce it to everyone. But before you start signing any thoughts you don’t want to share with everyone, remember that American Sign Language is one of the most popular languages in the nation!
Whether it’s broadening your child’s education, adding more language skills, accelerating social development, or just for the fun of being able to send your kiddo a message across a noisy playground, Happy Baby Sign’s Toddler Series is for you.
- Age Range18 months – 5 years
For ages 18 months – 3 years, parent attendance is required.
For ages 3 – 5 years, parent attendance is optional.
per child | $175
for each additional sibling | $107
* To receive sibling discount, click REGISTER link to add first child to cart, then come back and click REGISTER again, and discount will automatically be applied in cart.
- Upcoming Class Schedule For VaVoom!Toddler & Preschooler Sign Language
With Erika Vetter and Bill White
Day Date Time Instructor
Register Sundays 1/21 - 3/18
11:00 - 11:45 am Erika Vetter 5 Register Sundays 8/19 - 10/14
11:00 - 11:45 am Erika Vetter 12 Register
The toddler series may be joined in progress, as long as space allows [since all materials are included and content review occurs each week]. The full fee applies to those joining in weeks 2 or 3, and fee may be prorated if joining after week 3.
- Minimum and Maximum Enrollment
- Attendance Policy
Since we limit class sizes and reserve your spot, we cannot offer credits or refunds for classes canceled with less than 1 week notice.
- Sick Policy
Please do not bring kids if you or they have an active cold or fever, but you may attend without baby, or send another caregiver in your place.