We recently had Etel Leit from Sign Shine give a presentation about Baby Sign Language at our branch. What a phenomenal program! My only regret was that I didn't get any pictures... the battery on my camera died.
Etel had a very relaxed and easy charm. After a quick introduction, she talked a little about the benefits of signing with babies. The idea of being able to communicate with a pre-verbal infant, months or even years before they can talk is so appealing. Even very small babies possess the gross motor skills to use a number of the signs she taught such as; more, milk, cat, bird, song, thank you, ready, wait, and baby.
The kids loved her songs, and the program flowed very nicely… simple words learned in one song were repeated in the next. Baby Signing Time, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, You Are My Sunshine, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and plenty of other children’s favorites were shared.
Although a lot of the show was directed towards entertaining kids, it was very educational for parents too. She had great insight on the kinds of things parents are eager to hear. She showed parents how using the sign for “wait… 2 seconds” to a toddler eager to break in on an adult conversation or phone call can actually be more effective than interrupting yourself to say, “Please don’t interrupt me.” Being able to sign seems to ease the frustrations that a lot of toddlers feel when they are struggling to communicate with their caregivers.
I also liked that the signs were genuine American Sign Language signs. I usually have a good-sized crowd for storytimes at the branch, but this was really a full house. I'd love to have Etel back at our library, she was great!