This blog entry is from newbie NYC Dads Group member, Phil Young, who had the privilege of bonding with his 7-month-old, Lucia, last week in a Baby Fingers American Sign Language class. Check out Phil’s review.
When I mentioned to people that I was taking Lucia, only 7 months old, to a sign language class, the response I received was of interest as well as puzzlement – why take a child who cannot even talk to a sign language course?
That is precisely the point of the class! A child who has not yet developed the ability to form words can recognize gestures, such as waving, and, in time, duplicate them. They can begin to do this from the age of about 6 months and as such, this can be an invaluable aid to communication between our babies and us! Not to mention, and amazing bonding experience!
We participated in a parent and me American Sign Language Class with Baby Fingers, known as “a musical journey through language and learning.” The class was held in a pleasant room equipped with a few toys to help the little ones relax. Thea, our instructor, was very welcoming and immediately bonded with each child as they arrived. Beginning the class, we sang a welcome song, incorporating the signs for “hello” and “happy”. We then chose signs for each of our children’s names, using the first letter of their name plus a simple characteristic, and the welcome song was repeated, this time going around each child in turn and using their symbol.
We next learned to sign the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” which was a real winner with my daughter, Lucia, as it is her favorite song. I have now shared the song (using signs) with her Mom and it will be passed on to her grandparents as well!
There was another song involving signs for animals, included in a read-aloud book reading which captured Lucia’s attention and was then encompassed into a dance ideal for those already walking. The session closed with Thea showing us baby sign language for some of the more commonly used words we needed to best communicate with our children … such as “food,” “drink,” “hungry,” “full,” “more,” and “diaper.”
Overall, Thea at Baby Fingers was a very engaging host. Our trial class involved kids of varying ages and I think the main challenge for her was how to involve kids of varying ages in our class at the same time. We all know there is a world of difference between a 6-month-old and an 18-month-old, so ideally, the class may have been better having children of similar ages.
In conclusion, I know signing is without a doubt very useful, and many children do use it before they can speak. Therefore, I look forward to using this powerful form of communication with my daughter. Thank you Baby Fingers for inspiring me!