KCET-TV in Los Angeles brings educational programming to life with Signing Time event

Christine Fitzgerald

KCET, an independent television station serving the greater Los Angeles area, recently teamed up with a group of local Signing Time Academy Instructors to provide a hands-on learning experience for children and parents attending the annual Baby & Kidz Expo. The Expo, sponsored by KCET, KTLA and Family Magazine, drew hundreds of families to the Pasadena Convention Center on January 22nd.

The KCET booth was alive with activity as children of all ages crowded in to make crafts and learn American Sign Language (ASL) signs for their favorite pets. “Many of the children who came to the booth had already learned the signs from watching Signing Time [a popular program that airs daily on KCET Kids & Family Channel],” explains Signing Time Academy Instructor Christine Fitzgerald. “They were so excited to show us what they knew.”

Francine Agajanian

Fitzgerald and her fellow Instructors oversaw the activities and talked with parents about the educational benefits – and the fun – of learning sign language. “Signing allows infants and toddlers to communicate with their parents before they can talk, which is really, really helpful. The message we want to get out to parents is that they should keep right on signing, even after their child learns to talk because there are some great educational benefits.”

“Signing helps build vocabulary and early reading skills. Fingerspelling helps kids remember their spelling words, too!” said Franci Agajanian, an ASL interpreter who teaches Signing Time classes in LA County. “But the best thing about signing is that it helps us communicate and connect with our children – it brings us closer together,” she added, as she helped a child glue down the fingers of a construction-paper hand to make the “I Love You” sign.

The highlight of the day was the “stage production” put on by Fitzgerald, Agajanian and fellow Instructor, Jewels Zeitlin. They invited young fans of the show to join them in singing – and signing – “The Silly Pizza Song”,”Leah’s Farm” and other popular Signing Time songs. There were smiles all around as proud parents looked on.

Jewels Zeitlin

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The Signing Time Academy certifies Instructors who use the Signing Time and Baby Signing Time materials to bring parents and children closer together through signing. For more information on becoming a Signing Time Academy Instructor, visit www.signingtimeacademy.com.