By Gwen Cox
The Signing Time Academy is adding new people almost daily. Some of those new instructors are dads! We currently have three men teaching classes in their communities and loving what they are doing. Their classes are impacting families and changing lives in a positive way. Our three Academy dads each have a very different story to share. One dad even has over 740 children…and they are all 6 years old!
On Sunday we will celebrate fathers and how important they are to us. At the Signing Time Academy we recognize that dads play an important role not only in the home, but also in the world of teaching as they reach out to families and help them to discover the joy of signing with a child.
Read the three stories below and feel free to send them your feedback. If you are a dad and have considered doing something like this, contact them…they will be happy to share how you, too, can be a Signing Time Academy “DAD”. Enjoy!
Pennsylvania Master Signing Time Academy Instructor
Grade 1 Teacher
I have over 740 children, give or take a dozen!! Yes, 740! As a teacher of 6 year olds it has been my pleasure to work with this many students in over 37 years of teaching. I do truly feel that each one of them is a child of mine. I keep track of them year-to-year and have many who come back to visit me quite often.
Using Signing Time materials in my classroom for the past three years, I have added a special “feeling” to my classroom and a special connection with my “children”. We have a way to communicate with each other and a method of supporting each other.
Last week, our entire school of 475 children was at an assembly featuring the student orchestra. As I scanned the stage, looking for students of mine who were in the orchestra, I noticed Courtney. We smiled at each other and she signed a “How are you?” to me from up on the stage. I signed back that I was good and then she lifted her clarinet to play her part of the piece of music.
I smiled, knowing that she had been affected not only by me as a teacher, but by her ability to sign and communicate with others. I smiled knowing all of this hard work pays off in my “children’s” lives and so much in mine!
Utah Baby Signing Time Academy Instructor
After years of infertility treatments and failed adoptions, and after finally adopting our first “angel,” we were anxious to give our daughter all the best opportunities. When she was two months old we attended a free seminar at a local Babies R Us store about signing with infants to promote early communication. The presenter sold Signing Time products and mentioned that it was also on PBS. We watched a few shows now and then and started using a few signs with our daughter. But then I got hooked. Over the next several months I watched the show almost religiously, and I signed to our daughter as often as I could.
At about 8 months she started waving her arm, the sign for “music,” when I turned on some Mozart for naptime, and she did the same at church when she saw the conductor leading hymns. She picked up several more signs in just a few days, and not long after signed, “milk,” her first sign to ask for something! “Wow,” we thought, “this signing stuff really works!”
By 18 months she regularly either signed or signed and spoke with a vocabulary of over 100 ASL signs, knew her alphabet randomly (both written and in sign), and counted to ten! We were thrilled to be able to talk and sign to her and have her sign and talk back!
Then Signing Time Academy was created. “Hooray!” I said. “Now I can be more than just a fan. I can teach it, too.” In December 2009 I became certified as a Baby Signing Time Instructor. It’s possible that it’ll begin an entire career move for me. I’ve seen how Signing Time positively affects not only infants and toddlers, but entire families. That’s a great reason for anyone to get involved with Signing Time. That’s why I’d like to let others know about Signing Time and the Signing Time Academy!
Brett Smith – proud dad to Jade Smith
Texas Advanced Signing Time Academy Instructor
Jade A. Smith, my loving daughter and precious gift, was born in 2006 and that’s where the story begins. It all started when we did some research on how children develop speech, physical fundamentals, and how children learn to communicate at an earlier age. Luckily, I discovered beneficial information on the Signing Time website.
Jade started to sign after the first week of watching Baby Signing Time DVD’s Vol. 1 and Vol. 2! At the age of 6 months Jade was already using the signs for dog, milk, etc. But there was one sign that made a difference in Jade’s health and that sign was HURT. One day she signed HURT near her tummy. Then she signed FROG HURT (referring to Hopkins from the DVD’s). She continued to sign HURT near her tummy so we took her to the Dr. and explained to him that Jade was trying to tell us something.
After several tests the doctor discovered that Jade was signing HURT because she was suffering from food allergies, which included milk, and it was causing her a lot of discomfort in her stomach. Jade still knows how to sign HURT and we pay close attention to her when she does this because, as a father, I am always concerned about my daughter’s health and well being. Signing has been a blessing to my family!
I started learning all of the signs on the DVDs along with Jade so that we could communicate together. Soon Jade was putting sentences together and her teachers at pre-school were amazed at her communication skills.
I am now an Advanced Signing Time Academy Instructor and I love the fact that I can share this program with other dads (and moms) in my community. To be able to sign across the room that you love your child is such a blessing and I want to share this gift with everyone. Jade and I are a testament to the success of using Signing Time products with your children. I would love to share it with your family too!
As you can see, we have three amazing dads that are sharing their talents with other families. There are 222 Academy Instructors around the world and we are growing daily. If you are interested in becoming an Instructor, contact one of the dads above or contact the Academy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom, dad, educator, healthcare professional, caregiver, or just someone who enjoys working with families…we want to hear from you! This is your invitation to join us at the Signing Time Academy today! ~ Gwen