Sign Language and Early Education
Sign language in the classroom provides an opportunity for early education providers to expand their preschool approach in teaching language arts, mathematics, science, social science, health, and the arts. Signing is a rich and exciting learning experience that appeals to all the senses — visual, spatial, verbal, physical, tactile, artistic, and musical. In addition, sign language assists in breaking down language barriers and opening pathways for communicating with special-needs children.
Today, early education specialists and child care providers are attending sign language classes and in-service training. Early education providers who have taken sign language are eager to incorporate signs into daily lesson plans. These educators know that sign language can keep children focused, increase memory, enhance language, and build their cognitive skills. They also have learned that they can manage children's behavior with nonverbal commands. If you are an educator or child care provider who has considered incorporating sign language into your classroom, you already have a head start with this book in hand. In fact, you can easily begin right now by applying signs in your daily classroom curriculum activities. Here's a quick review of some of the skills you have learned in the previous chapters:
Asking and answering questions
Clothing and articles
Days of the week
These sign groups can be implemented into daily games in the classroom. You can begin with a letter of the manual alphabet and make it the letter of the week (see Chapter 4). Colors are easy to teach and can be applied in an array of games, including rainbow songs (see Chapter 7). Days of the week can be signed in games and songs (see Chapter 13). Weather signs can be applied to “What is the weather today?” The addition of animal signs to games, stories, or songs adds visual excitement for children. The next time you read Brown Bear, sign the colors and animals and watch the children's eyes shine with delight (see Chapters 7 and 13). The application of the signed images in this book is an endless resource for your classroom curriculum.
SIGNS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH BABIES
PLAY: Pivot both “Y” hands several times.
GAME: Use both “A” hands and tap knuckles together.
BAD: Place the “flat” hand palm down on your chin, and toss your hand downward.
GOOD: Place the “flat” hand to your chin, then bring the hand down palm-up and place it into your left open hand.
DIRTY: Wiggle four fingers, palm down, under your chin. Don't forget to make a scrunched-up face. Facial expression is extremely important!