In 2009 Rachel Coleman and Emilie Brown created the Signing Time Academy to bring American Sign Language to communities around the world as the educational division of Two Little Hands Productions. Our mission is to bring the benefits of ASL and active learning to children of all abilities through Certified Instructors who offer classes, products, and personal support to parents and teachers in their communities. Our Instructors come from all walks of life that bring their own expertise to their community with parent workshops, baby sign language classes, teacher training, home parties, and free presentations.
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Rachel shared her personal goal when she said “My hope is that everyone will know a little sign, just as most people know a little Spanish – so when your child sees my child at the park, there would be no awkwardness, no communication barrier, just three signs… Hi … friend … play … that is all it would take to change her world.” Since then, the Signing Time Academy has been fulfilling that goal.
Join us in celebrating the last ten years with memories from some of our Signing Time Academy Instructors.
I have a special memory of how we support each other and how that goes on to help others. One day, over 6 years ago, I was at Chick-Fil-A with my kids when I got a call from Christie O’Neill. She had gotten a call from a parent who had a newly diagnosed hard-of-hearing 3-year old but the person was in SoCal near me and not in NorCal near Christie. We discussed her needs at length and I gave her a call. Over 6 years later and I am still working with this family anywhere from 1 to 4 hours a week. When I started, they had one hard-of-hearing child and one hearing child. Now they have 2 hard-of-hearing children and 2 hearing children. I was able to help this family get into the school for the Deaf and connect to their community. But, what they’ve given me has been so much more! I love watching this family grow! I love seeing the progress! The Academy has been such a blessing to me and has allowed me to work within the school district, private schools, special needs families, and community center classes. I’ve now been in this job longer than I have any other job! 7.5 years with the Academy! Thank you so much, Rachel Coleman, LeeAnn Mason, Amy Smith McKnight, and Momcat Kelly along with the rest of the team for keeping it rolling along. I’m proud to be an STA Instructor! ~Anna Larson Kernes
So thankful to have found the Signing Time Academy. I was teaching ASL in my son’s general education classroom as Robert, who has Down syndrome, was fully included. Once I joined the Academy my lessons became that much richer using the Signing Time curriculum, music, and support of the other teachers. I have enjoyed the connections I have made with the other Instructors in my area and now have worked part-time teaching classes around the Bay Area. The best part of all – I have had the honor of filling in for Hopkins at two of the ST Concerts. Holding hands with Rachel, the Rock Star, for a day and seeing first hand the effect she has had on so many is priceless! ~Teri Ryan Voorhes
Hello, I am a mother of two. When my first was 3 months old (now 2.5 years) I started looking for an ASL program to use with him. I found Baby Signing Time and Signing Time clips on YouTube. Immediately, I knew I had found exactly what I was searching for. The songs are addictive and seeing all the signs demonstrated so clearly was a Huge plus. I invested in the full digital package, getting access to ALL the Two Little Hands Production products. I knew it would be worth it, and I was not wrong. My son loved (and still loves) the videos. They’ve grown with him from Baby Signing Time to Rachel and the Treeschoolers; and now that he’s older, Signing Time Sentences. I found myself singing the songs all the time, and sharing our ASL knowledge with everyone.
When I learned about the Academy Instructors, I had to join! The support and resources offered through the Academy are more than anyone could ever ask for. I started @Owl Sign with You – Signing Academy in 2017 (while pregnant with baby #2) with the goal of getting classes started in 2018. Having the support of the other Instructors is amazing. Anything you need, someone can help! I love my fellow Signing Time Academy Instructors.
One of my most memorable experiences…. there are soooo many, of course. ….Is when the Texas Instructors formed a group and sponsored a Rachel Coleman concert in Austin. A LOT of hard work…. but so rewarding! And gained some awesome FRIENDS along the way…. ~Amy McKnight, The Signing Connection
Confession: I am in LOVE with Signing Time. I remember the moment I fell in love with Rachel, Leah, Alex, and Hopkins. I was on bed rest with my daughter and Signing Time came on TV. It was that moment that I knew that I needed Signing Time in my life. At the time, there was no Academy. But nevertheless, an opportunity for learning presented itself. I played Signing Time videos at home and in my special education classroom. Rachel was my first sign language teacher.
But before I bring you with me on this journey, let me tell you about myself. I am generally reserved, an introvert, if you will. I do not readily put myself out there if I don’t need to due to having anxiety. So when Signing Time sent out a call to find Instructors, I, naturally, hesitated. I took me a couple of years to really think about this opportunity.
I joined the Academy about 8 years ago as an opportunity to service my current students better. As time went on, I found I needed to do more in order to grow professionally and personally. I decided to utilize all the Academy had to offer. I held classes, co-wrote a guide, and dove right in to all the Instructor chats. I’m a keep myself busy kinda gal, and I really enjoy being part of this amazing group of Instructors.
My favorite memories of being part of the Signing Time Academy are due to the wonderful people I have met and worked with. I was able to step out of my comfort zone because of all the encouragement and support from everyone on the Signing Time team. I was able to be Hopkins at a concert, meet Rachel and her family, become an integral part of our local Down Syndrome Association, have Deaf friends, and give presentations on sign language at homeschool conventions, early childhood conferences, and Boy Scout troops.
Happy Anniversary, Signing Time!! You have a special place in my heart. Here’s to another 10 successful years!
~Annie Young, Beginning To Sign
This past year I moved to Ellensburg, WA. I brought Baby Signing Time classes here and they filled up fast! The local library has a lot of Signing Time DVD’s so it was so nice to come to a town that was ready for BST classes. Highlights would be working with the Librarian in the kids’ section, who set me up with free Intro classes right away. And major highlights were hearing people say “Yay, finally Signing Time classes here, we have all the DVD’s already!”~Danielle Mills
The experience I had signing with my daughter inspired me to join the Academy and share this program with as many families as I possibly could! Signing Time was my first introduction to sign language and the benefits it can have for ALL children. I’ve met so many wonderful families over the years and am grateful for all the moments we share – from first steps, to first signs, and more! I am also thankful for the friendships and partnerships in our Academy Instructor Family! We work together to make a difference in our communities every day and I’m so very proud of that. ~ Kelly Konieczki, Signing Time Academy Associate Director and Owner of Momcat’s Signing Academy
Signing Time Live Concerts and our Instructors
Through the years, as part of the Signing Time Foundation, Rachel Coleman travels and does Signing Time Live Concerts. The Signing Signing Time Academy has played a key part in the success of those events. Our Instructors are passionate about doing whatever they can to support Rachel with these events. Some of the concerts have been sponsored by Signing Time Academy Instructors in their own communities. When the events are sponsored by other organizations our Instructors also support behind the scenes with advertising, ticket sales, on stage, and by selling products.
If a concert comes near you, go. Sit in the audience and enjoy. Or offer a hand. Bring the kids. Go alone. Drive. Fly. Walk. Go be a part of a spectacular experience. I promise. It will change you. 💕 Alison Barney, Signing Schoolhouse
Signing Time Academy Celebration
Each one of our Instructors is such an amazing part of our community and history. Rachel has stated that she can’t be everywhere, but our Signing Time Academy Instructors can. This year we want to celebrate our Instructors and the difference they are making in their communities. We would love to hear YOUR Success Stories from attending a class or event from one of our amazing Instructors. Submit your story here.
As part of our 10-Year Academy Anniversary, we would like to get as many current and former Instructors together in June to celebrate. If you are a former Instructor and want more information please email LeeAnn@SigningTime.com.
Start your own Business as a Signing Time Academy Instructor
Do you want to make a difference in your community helping families learn to communicate with American Sign Language? We would love to have you on our team. Join Now!