Wednesday’s Word- Halloween Signs for Mom and Baby

I am having so much fun showing fun Halloween signs for you to learn! Today, we will learn: pumpkin, jack-o-lantern and costume!

Pumpkin is a great ASL sign to learn. You can make a pumpkin patch for your children to play with and explore.  I have attached a poster for an example. Have your child touch and feel the pumpkins while you sign and talk about they are feeling, seeing and doing!

pumpkin play pumpkin bin

Fun Friday

Fun Friday –

signing W

Elijah and I have been busy decorating for Halloween next week. Here we are putting stickies on the front door. What letter am I finger spelling?

Find ways to use baby sign language in your day to day life! This allows signing to become more natural, fun and provides learning and language opportunities for your little!

Wednesday’s Word- September 16th

Wednesday’s word is “TOY”! Remember that children are motivated by specific signs and these will become very important to them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL_Agw1we6gcropped-elijah-and-me-signing-toys-for-global.jpg

Elijah’s second and third signs were “light” and “fan”. As parents, we never know what our child wants to communicate.

In the picture Elijah is signing toy at approximately 15 months of age.

Invitations to Play and Signing to Support Learning

This past week’s classes we were discussing the importance of play and exploration. A conversation came up regarding a type of play called invitations to play, or invitations for learning, or play exploration. I thought that this would be a good topic for this week’s blog.

What is an Invitation to Play?

This is an intentional and planned collection of materials that a parent/caregiver prepares and sets up with which a child plays and explores. Invitation to play is an open invitation for a child to use as they desire. This can be a sensory basket, organized colour bins, paint daps, and much more.

How Children Learn?

Children are sensory learners. This means that children learn though: tasting, touching/feeling, seeing, hearing and smelling. Parents can encourage child’s learning by setting up an invitation to play, watch their child explore and then begin to talk and sign with their child.

How can you use American Sign Language signs during play?

There are three main ways to learn: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Using sign language with your child allows for all three types of learning. Your child is learning though their visual (sight) by seeing the sign. Auditory learnings see their parents use the American Sign Language signs while saying the English word. Kinesthetic learners move their hands to communicate before they are able to express themselves through language.

If you provide your child with an egg carton filled with 6 different coloured plastic eggs. You many watch your child explore “opening” and “shutting” the container, they may take the eggs “in” and “out”. A child’s learning is supported by their parents/caregivers. When you see a child begin to explore, act like a broadcaster saying what the child is doing while signing key words. For example “Elijah, you took the yellow egg out of the container and put in the blue egg”. (ASL signs that maybe used are in bold).

Another idea is a winter sensory basket. This can filled with “white” cotton balls, “blue” pom poms, snowflakes, snowmen. As a parent, you can have an idea of how your child will play with these times. You may want to have them practice fine motor skills and provide a shovel and pot or have them feel the different textures of the pom poms, cotton balls and the hard plastic snowflakes. An example of signing and talking: “Those soft balls are blue, the white balls feel like fluff. Can you put the ball in the pail? Oh, you took the ball out!

What to Remember About Invitations to Play?

All types of sensory play, invitations to play and play exploration is well supervised time. There can be many choking hazards in this type of play. This does not mean it is not safe, it means that parents have to be engaging in play with the child to ensure safety.

Examples of Invitations to Play!

20 months old

Sorting play. This invitation to play can be used as colour sorting or item sorting based on child’s need to explore and discover.

16 months old

Colour and shape recognition invitation to play.

14 months

Sensory bin focused on fine motor skills

Photo 5

This invitation to play was set up to show the difference between soft and hard toys. As everyone can see, climbing on the basket was much more fun.

DSCN2650

Playing with hand crafted stones- focused on shape sorting from http://www.artinstones.com/

DSCN2655

Pattern play with natural rocks from http://www.artinstones.com/

Please let me know your comments and thoughts on invitations to play and signing.

Happy Signing,

Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon

http://www.mysmarthandssaskatoon.com

http://www.facebook.com/MySmartHandsSaskatoonBabySignLanguage

Does Baby & Toddler Sign Language Promote Whole Child Development?

My Smart Hands Saskatoon is a program that teaches parents how to communicate with their children by using American Sign Language (ASL) signs. Our classes use ASL signs, as the research studies indicate that using a true language has more benefits that making up signs or gestures. We also, believe that ASL is a true language, and why not borrow this language’s signs to communicate with your child? Technically, you are teaching two languages. How neat is that?

Each week in our classes we cover a new and exciting theme! One of my favorite themes is ‘toys and objects’ as this week we play, explore and play some more. However, in all of the weeks, parents and children will be introduced to child development activities. Whole child development is very important, and is a key focus in our baby sign classes.

The whole child activities that we include in our classes focus on: physical, intellectual, social, emotional and language development. Here are some examples of how we promote child development and whole child wellness while maintaining the premise of ASL signs.

Physical (fine and gross motor skills)

Fine Motor:

In our ‘opposite’ theme we will bring out sensory boards and bins. These boards help children explore their world through various textile items. Parents are encouraged to sign, ‘touch’, ‘feel’, ‘look’, ‘rough’, ‘soft’ and much more.
Gross motor skills:

In our “animal” theme we will be going to the zoo and move as animals. This song and activity is a wonderful way for parents and their babies to move around the room, dance together, act like specific animals, and sign to the sounds each animal makes! Movement and music do promote a special bond.

Social Development:

A child’s social skills are being strengthened and encouraged in our classes. My Smart Hands Saskatoon, has small class sizes which are between 3 to 6 families. We keep our classes small, to ensure families get to know one another and their children recognize familiar faces each week.

All the parents and their children are welcomed to sit together on a shared foam square. Toys and easy to sign books are places in the middle to encourage play and exploration while parents are sharing their stories, asking questions and learning signs to be used in the following activity. We experience many first in our classes- first time a child signs, first crawl, first roll over and even have had our first steps!

Emotional Development:

Babies and toddlers are learning about their emotions and are not able to self-regulate. However, in our classes, we often discuss ways to help a child learn to self-regulate. This is done though song, movement and bouncing activities. Parents will also learn various ’emotion’ signs during our last week together! We sign and sing, “If You are Happy and Know it” as well as “Happy Face Happy Face What Do You See?”.

Intellectual (Cognitive) Development:

Using ASL signs strengths and connects neurological brain connection. This means the activities that we use in our classes, increases and promotes intellectual/cognitive development.

An example of an activity is our ‘shake’ bottles. These bottles are often filled with water, sparkles, soap and water. Together, the parent and their child, shake the bottle and watch the changes. The specific brain development concept that is being learn is called, cause and effect. This activity is completed in our “toy/object” theme.

Social Development:

One main reason we keep our class sizes small, is that the children are able to socialize with the other children. Various child activities, promote social skill development such as movement and music. We sign and sing a version of “open shut them”, when children need to move about, which includes the sign “stop” for the English word freeze. All the parents and children have to “stop” until the music starts again. This song is teaching the social development skill of turn taking!

Language Development:

In short, language development is occurring during all of our baby sign language classes. Research indicates that a child needs to hear a word 200 times before verbally saying the word.

In all of our baby sign language classes, we are promoting the use of two languages! These are our verbal English and American Sign Language signs. Children are able to comprehend a single work though both auditory and visional learning. We never replace our verbal English, rather we support language development though using ASL signs

Please join us for a baby sign language class, and learn many more ways to promote whole child development!

Happy Signing,

Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon

http://www.mysmarthandssaskatoon.com

http://www.facebook.com/MySmartHandsSaskatoonBabySignLanguage

Cell: 306-202-9345

 

“It is vital when educating our children’s brains that we don’t neglect to educate their hearts.” – Dalai Lama

CTV morning news!

Did you manage to catch us on CTV morning news a few weeks back? We had so much fun that day, showing Saskatoon all about sign, exploration and play.

Here is one of the video clips. I was using “Food Monster” as a teaching tool during this segment. In classes, we promote whole child development, and will bring in multiple fun, educational and easy to make items to facilitate learning.

http://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=442375&binId=1.1165965&playlistPageNum=1

Happy Signing,

Tanya

Website re-designed!

After much thought on re-vamping and making changes to our programs, promotions and working with families in Saskatoon, I decided to make a change to our website.

Here it is! What do you think?

I will also be dedicating my time towards creating at least a weekly blog. My hope is to provide information parents and caregivers are looking for when signing with their children. I would love to hear your ideas on topics!

Happy Signing,

Tanya

Sign, Play & Explore Workshops!!!

This is a brand new program to Saskatoon. Together, through play invitations; parents and their baby and/or toddler explores their world, develop skills, and engage in meaningful (developmental) learning experiences and all while having fun. These skills are taught through American Sign Language signs, activities and games that encourages parent-child interaction. This program will have activities for children ages 2/4 months to 3 years of age! Come join us the first Wednesday of each month to connect, communicate and bond as parents and children.

These workshop are great for parents wanting to learn to sign with their children or those developing their signing vocabulary. Each month we will create invitations to play that will be enhanced though signing! While the themes repeat throughout the year, there will be different learning activities and opportunities to play and explore.

Theme I: Sensory (February, June, November 2014)

Theme II: Language Development (March, July, December 2014)

Theme III: Physical & Brain Development (April, September 2014)

Theme IV: Creative Play (May, October 2014)

Where: Birth Rhythms – 248 3rd Ave South

When: First Wednesday of each Month starting February 2014

Time: 10:30-11:15AM

Cost: $10/family or 5 pass card for $40 (5 workshops for the price of 4)!!!!

Monthly registration is required to ensure enough material and activities are provided each class.