Making Signing Fun for Families

By Signing Time Instructor Colleen Brunetti

dad and daughter playingIn this age of increased focus on test scores, “teaching baby to read”, and some kids being put on waiting lists for preschools before they are even born, it can be easy to get swept up in the desire to give a baby the best start possible, and loose a little sight of the joy of learning and play. Enter Signing Time, and the classes you teach as a Signing Time Academy Instructor. Learning to sign is just plain fun, and you can really bring that alive with the classes you teach in your communities.

The magic really happens when parents get involved. I don’t know about you, but I’ve taught some classes where parents were pretty content to let the child sit on their lap or nearby, and practice the signs on the side. It may take some coaxing, but I really encourage you to encourage them to take center stage with their child during classes.

In the education world we have a saying, “Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage”.  What it means is that you as a teacher should be empowering students to take control of their own learning, and moving away from an older tradition of lecture and monopoly of class time. How can you apply this concept to your classes? By modeling the signs, songs, and activities and then stepping to the side, letting parents take the lead in guiding their children through the practice times.

dad hugs sonThis month’s Handy Craft on our website is a memory game with many of the animals you learn about in Signing Time Series One: Volumes 7 – 9. Here’s where you can apply the above quote in a tangible way: If it’s time to act out the animals, have the parents go first. When the children march like the bugs, play “Follow the Leader” and choose a parent-child pair to lead. Let them be silly together – make signing fun by letting the biggest heroes in the children’s little world become the ones who ultimately take the lead in the games and puts really fun spin on learning you can provide. Have a blast!