Top Academic Enrichment Program in Saskatoon!

My Smart Hands Saskatoon was announced as a Top Academic Enrichment Program in Saskatoon!

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http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b7c734a8748dcc4ba62547a6c&id=027ff0a901

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Does Signing with Children Delay Natural Speech and Language?

While at a trade show yesterday I met many families who have used sign language, were interested in taking sign language classes or my past signing families! I enjoy hearing stories about how signing has positively impacted a family and how they are able to communicate with their young children. The best feedback I received yesterday was how a family can see how their child feels empowered to be able to communicate with her parents!

However, there were parents who expressed concern that using #ASL signs with their children may delay natural speech and language. The short answer is no! I think the confusion is due to the fact there is often confusion between  speech and language. Here is a great link explaining the difference:

http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/01/what-is-the-difference-between-speech-and-language/  (this blogger is a Speech and Language Pathologist).

When a child is using baby sign language (ASL signs) they are using language, and bridging the gap to meaningful communication! How wonderful is is that a non-verbal baby or a late talking toddler is able to use a true language to communicate their needs and have a sense of empowerment over their environment?

The Mayo Clinic promotes the use of Baby Sign Language stating, “Baby sign language — when babies use modified gestures from American Sign Language — can be an effective communication tool. Teaching and practicing baby sign language also can be fun and give you and your child an opportunity to bond.”

To read full article:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-sign-language/faq-20057980

Our classes are also language rich as teach baby sign language through music, signing, movement, sensory activities. we encourage parents to constantly talk with their children while using baby sign language to support and encourage verbal English.

Please feel free to ask me any questions!

Tanya Myrfield-Wofe – BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Instructor, and Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon

Like us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MySmartHandsSaskatoonBabySignLanguage

Visit our website:

https://mysmarthandssaskatoon.com/

“It is vital when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect their hearts” ~Dalai Lama

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.

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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

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

When Can I Start Signing with My Baby?

Tanya with My Smart Hands Saskatoon is often asked the question, “When can I start signing with my child?” The answer is never the same for each family, as each parent has their own reasons for using American Sign Language with their child.

Most baby & toddler sign language instructors recommend waiting until your child is between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Children are meeting important milestones during this time including: eye contact, purposeful movement of arms/hands, and beginning to find new ways to engage with their parents such as squealing, smiling, cooing and babbling. Parents may decide to start signing earlier or later. In fact, we have had children as young as 2 months up to 2.5 years of age in her classes. Basically parents can start signing with their baby or toddler when ready!

Based on child development, babies are ready for signing when they start moving their eyes and head to track toys or their parents face. This shows they are interested in learning and ready to start communicating with you! When you start signing, your child may show you many new reactions. This could be a frustrated or confused face, an interested expression, moving their hands in different ways, or smiling. These are all good indications that your child is trying to figure out what you are saying with your hands. Keep using American Sign Language and soon your child will be signing back!

A key point about signing, is to be consistent! Start signing with 2-5 words, consistently during the day. However, add more in every week as your child is wanting to learn more. Finally, watch your child for signing approximations and when they start signing or moving their hands to approximate a sign, reward them with praise or what they were asking for!
Level 1 class picture (3)
Join My Smart Hands Saskatoon’s Facebook page for more information related to baby & toddler sign language, child development and upcoming classes.

Happy Signing,
Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator
My Smart Hands Saskatoon

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.