Kindermusik Sign and Sing

 You can see the brain wheels turning as older babies and toddlers try to communicate… as they try to tell an older sibling or adult what they need or want. You can also see the dazed look on the parent’s face as they try so hard to understand. Amazingly, older siblings can be impressive interpreters. But they are not always available. When others don’t understand, it can become very frustrating for the child, leading to emotional meltdowns – no matter how hard the parent is trying to guess their meaning.Baby Sign Language has been around for awhile in many different forms. Indeed, for hearing babies and toddlers that have no developmental issues, sign language provides an option for a peaceful way to communicate their needs and wants.

 
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ASL for Music

Signing Music

 
 
 
Kindermusik International teamed up with Signing Smart, who put a lot of research into the best methods for parents to use to help set up positive situations in which their child WANTS to use signs to communicate.   Together they established methods for helping parents and children learn these methods through musical and playful activities.   The result is Kindermusik Sign and Sing, specifically designed for children from 6 – 36 months along with a parent or significant care provider (a grandparent, aunt, or even a nanny).
 

THIS is different approach from other sign language programs for babies. Through songs, toys, and loving playtime between you and your child, Kindermusik Sign & Sing demonstrates the FOUR Keys to Signing Smart. Parents learn when and how to use and encourage sign language during important parts of the child’s daily routine.

Learn when you play. Parents do not have to memorize a list of signs. Babies are not asked to make a specific sign when a word is called out. This system encourages using signs that reflect the typical patterns of conversation between a parent and child. The home materials provide more than 50 signs on flashcards and on DVD (for the adult’s reference). But parents CHOOSE a few signs to focus on that are most likely to fit into a child’s day and interests. So playtime and everyday items around the house; ball, bubbles, mom and dad become the objects of learning in the classroom, and sign language becomes a natural, happy part of a family’s day.

Children start to understand language WAY before they have the ability to use it. And children are multi-sensory learners. When a word is used in combination with a sign, the child is able to hear and see what the parent is trying to communicate, enabling them to understand the meaning of the word more quickly. If a tangible object is also available, it can provide the sense of touch as well. For example, a parent says the word “ball”, while signing the word, then hands the child a “ball”, and plays with them joyfully for a few moments (adding a positive emotional element), it stimulates MORE areas of the brain to develop a neural pathway to connect object to the word and sign. Although a child may not yet be able SAY the word “ball” yet, they are likely to understand it, and use sign language to initiate playing with the ball. And they are more likely to start to say the word “ball” earlier in their development.

The following video features our fellow Kindermusik educator in Orlando, Holly Lesnick, and the families in her Sign and Sing program.

 
 
 
Session A – Beginner
45 minute class with caregiver (mom, dad, grandparent, nanny, etc.)

This class combines songs and playful interaction to help children learn American Sign Language. The five-session class gives parents the tools to learn more than 50 American Sign Language Signs for children ages 6 months to 3 years.
SS materialsAt Home Materials include:

 

  • one Family Activity Guide – providing plenty of ideas for activities for parents and children to learn and play with at home
  • one DVD glossary showing 60 signs – WATCH the signs being made by adults & children
  • one set of clip-on flashcards that feature both children and adults using family-friendly American Sign Language signs.

SESSION B (Advanced)

This session reviews the first three Keys to Signing Smart Success and provides an in-depth look at the final and fourth Key. New concepts such as in and out, up and down, big and little, tall and short will be explored with more songs and animal-themed activities.
At Home Materials are included with both classes.

Find out more on: Sign and Sing – Some Questions Answered :  Holly Lesnick does an excellent job of answering the questions:  Will using sign language delay the speech of normally speaking children?  Or will it enhance their language development?

Hearing children who know signs learn language almost twice as fast. Check out these statistics from this Study conducted by Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert, Signing Smart program founders:

Compared to developmental norms, Signing Smart children have enriched language and communication skills:

  • While the average 8 month old will have no spoken words, the average Signing Smart child will have 5 signs and 1 word.
  • While the average 12 month old will have 3-5 spoken words, the average Signing Smart child will have 25 signs and 16 words
  • At 18 months, the average child will have 10-50 spoken words. In contrast, the average Signing Smart child will have 79 signs and 105 words.
  • In addition, a majority of Signing Smart children begin combining signs and words or signs and signs together to form little sentences at 11-14 months. Compare this to non-signers, who do not begin to combine words into short sentences (e.g., “Da-da car”) until 20 months old on average!

These results indicate that ASL signs, used in combination with Signing Smart strategies, facilitate both overall communicative abilities as well as spoken language skills in hearing infants and toddlers.

How do you to communicate with your child?   Do you easily understand what your growing child wants and needs through listening to his sounds and watching his actions?  If so, congratulations, you are a very observant parent, who listens to their child without the need for words or ASL signs.  I KNOW parents like this.  I also KNOW parents who are challenged to understand the garble that their child is so intently trying to share.  AND, those who deal with major tantrums because their child is frustrated with his or her inability to communicate. 

Do you fit into one of these categories?  Or do you have a whole different situation?  Please share.  I’d love to know more about how families communicate.

 

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