I first learned about Baby Sign Language when my son was born (almost 6 years ago). One of my close friends had a daughter the same age as my son and she impressed me with her ability to sign ‘milk’ when she was about 6 months old. I was amazed and intrigued that she was able to communicate at such a young age! I told myself I would teach my son some signs, but it ended up being one of those things I kept pushing to the bottom of my To-Do List. Then my first daughter came and I made a goal to do it with her – time passed and nope, still didn’t make it a priority. Then here comes 2013, almost 5 years later with my 3rd baby. I vowed that this time, I wasn’t going to procrastinate. I was going to finally teach ONE baby some Sign Language! Coincidentally, I met Joann Woolley of Sign4Baby during an Invite Committee meeting for SD Moms Night Out. She has been teaching Baby Sign Language to babies and parents all over San Diego since 2007. I’m very fortunate to have connected with her that day because she is not only a great Baby Sign Language teacher, she is also a trusted resource among moms and truly values reaching out to the community. Joann has 3 children of her own and has been teaching them all Baby Sign Language since birth. Often times, babies will cry and become frustrated when you can’t figure out what they need, sometimes it being a simple request like milk! Joann has amazing stories of her kids’ communication at an early age. She emphasizes how important sign language can be to help express baby’s wants and needs before they learn to talk.
I had the opportunity to bring my youngest daughter to Joann’s first Sign, Play and Learn class in January. My goal was to start bringing her around 6 months but busyness got the best of our family so I didn’t have a chance to take her until now. By this time she had already turned 1 but I knew we would still benefit greatly from the classes. The first session was great, we were introduced to some basic signs like Milk, Rattle, Music and Dance. One of the songs played was Please, May I Have More Milk and became one of my daughter’s favorite songs to sing and dance to. It also became a fun game for her to learn the signs Please, More and Milk. Best part of the Sign, Play and Learn classes is that moms and babies can make new friends in this playgroup style class.
I remember the day my daughter first signed Milk, and the look on her face was priceless when she realized I understood exactly what she needed when she signed it. I had tried practicing it since she was first born but unfortunately wasn’t that consistent. It wasn’t until I focused on repetition on a daily basis that she finally caught on. As weeks went by and we learned more signs, my daughter became more and more excited when she would tell us things she wanted and needed through Sign Language.
Joann offers a variety of different ways for parents and babies to learn Baby Sign Language. You can schedule a Private Lesson, 90-Minute Workshop, or attend a Sign, Play and Learn Class that is broken up into 6 sessions. She also leads Signing and Story Times at libraries all over San Diego. I encourage you to head on over to Joann’s website at Sign4Baby to learn more about this invaluable tool for you and your baby! Let her know Raquel at StrongholdMom sent you!