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Kindersigns - Baby Sign Language University
February 2008
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Hello and welcome to the February Edition of the KinderSigns News!

The past couple months we have made some changes and updated the web site as some of you may have already noticed. The Support Center ‘knowledgebase’ has been cleaned up a bit and we’ll be adding more information there gradually. The ‘news’ section has news added, and as any news comes our way it’ll be added as well. You may have to click on the months to view it depending on when the news was added. If you have any ‘news’ to share and would like it added to the Support Center ‘news’ section please send it my way. The January edition is available in PDF format in the ‘download’ section of the Support Center.

The Kindersigns Newsletters are now being archived on Kindersigns.com under the Resources link for handy reference

In the Newsletter this month:
Featured Instructor
Instructors Corner
KinderSigns around the World
Baby and Child Signs
Success Story
Become a Kindersigns Instructor

Communicating with your Baby

You and your baby spend incredible moments together, from their first smile, their first coo, rolling over and the long awaited first word. Have you considered their first sign? It’ll be months before your baby will start talking and be able to communicate with you.

Think about it- your baby is crying uncontrollably and you are unable to calm him down. It only creates frustration for you both. After all the only way a baby can tell you that something is wrong or that they want something is by crying.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your baby was able to tell you that they were hungry, cold or needed a diaper change? With baby sign language this is possible!

At the age of 6 months when your baby starts waving bye-bye your baby is able to pick up the concept of sign language and its meanings. Unfortunately they won’t learn overnight, but with continuous teaching and patience you will soon be able to communicate with your baby!

A great baby sign language program that I personally recommend is Kindersigns. Kindersigns.com has several different programs available for teaching babies, toddlers, parents and daycares, etc.

Did you know that children who are able to communicate with sign language normally have an IQ of at least 10 points higher than one who doesn’t use sign language?

There are many benefits of teaching our hearing babies the use of sign language; self esteem, confidence, sharper motor skills and more!

Baby sign language has become extremely popular as well as becoming a Kindersigns Baby Sign Language Instructor. If you have considered starting your own home business, love babies and the concept of baby sign language- this may be the right choice for you!

What better satisfaction than helping a parent better understand their child’s wants and needs.

©Jamie Edson Opielski, Director of Operations

 Featured Instructor

This month’s Featured Instructor is Franci Agajanian!

When did you decide you wanted to teach baby sign language?
Since I have been a Parent Education teacher for 18 years, AND was already an interpreter/translator for the Deaf, it was a natural fit. When I saw stars on Television (Oprah, Good Morning America, etc) raving about the “new” discovery that babies could learn to sign before they could speak, I knew I had to teach this 200 year old method to the parents in my classes. It also bothered me that some of the programs being offered were “made up” systems of baby signs.  I feel if you are going to teach a child another language, it should be a real one that other people will understand! That’s why it is important to use an ASL (American Sign Language) or SEE (Signed Exact English) based system, like Kindersigns.

When and how did you get started teaching baby sign language?
I started with one or two lessons in my Parenting Classes at the South Bay Adult School in Manhattan/Redondo Beach. Then I made a proposal to my Supervisor for a separate, dedicated class, and they were immediately on board. They found a room for me to use, which is nice, because I can keep all my materials in one place from week to week. They also helped me advertise the class. Finding materials appropriate for babies AND Moms was difficult at first, until I found KinderSigns.

What is the most important thing/lesson you have learned working with children?
They are little sponges! They will pick up new information soooo quickly! They WANT to learn and communicate, and that’s what sign language does for parents and babies-it helps them communicate sooner!  Since I have been a teacher for 35 years, I know you need patience, a since of humor, and a bit of acting to keep things interesting for the children.

What are your inspirations?
The babies who come back a year later, talking up a storm, but still wanting to know “what’s the sign for….” I have parents reporting to me that their child is so verbal, and was able to communicate what they wanted so much earlier than they expected. I also have a friend who is deaf, and she brings her hearing children to visit my class as a demonstration of how they have always communicated in their family. Fina is a wonderful mother of four hearing children and one of my main inspirations.

Any news that you would like to share with us?
My photo was published in the So Bay Daily Breeze newspaper, working with a pre-K student at Edison Preschool.
My class runs from Sept. through June for 5month to 18 month old babies and their moms.

A bit about Franci
I live in Hermosa Beach, Ca, and have been a teacher most of my life. I graduated from USC, and taught Special Ed. for LA Unified School District for 7 years. Then when my own children came along, I became a Director of a Preschool, and Teacher of Parent Education Classes for the South Bay Adult School, in Manhattan Beach. Along the way, I took Sign Language classes in the Interpreter Training Program and received a certificate from El Camino College in Torrance. I interpret at church and occasionally in local schools.
I have a wonderful, supportive husband of 34 years, and 3 adult children, one daughter-in-law (no grandbabies, yet)

 Franci is also listed as the Featured Instructor on www.Kinderworkshops.com, check it out!
If you would like to be our next Featured Instructor send me an email to jamie@kindersigns.com with Featured Instructor in the subject line. Our Featured Instructors will be presented in the monthly Kindersigns newsletter and on www.kinderworkshops.com for one month!

 Instructors Corner

Just a reminder the new Kindersigns Forum is now live; you will need to register an account first. You will find the link in your KinderSigns Instructors kit page.

The forum will be a great place to get advice, share ideas and network with other instructors! Please join in, introduce yourselves, and create some topics and post!

If you are interested in being a moderator, please let me know at jamie@kindersigns.com. Please put ‘Kindersigns Forum Moderator’ in the subject line. Please be sure to include your name, email, web site URL.

 Kindersigns around the World

We want to hear from you! We want to know what part of the world you are from and how Kindersigns has helped you, your baby or students. Send me an email at jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns World’ in the subject line. Please include your name, email, web site URL if you have one, what Country you are from and how you have adapted Kindersigns as a parent or Instructor.

Please visit our Kindersigns Instructor map and place a pin on your location!

 Baby and Child Signs

Learn a word or two in Baby Sign Language! This month's words are taken from the negative and courtesy categories. The words are No and Thank You.

The Forefinger and middle finger snap close on the thumb. This is a variation of the finger
spelling of N-O.

The hand moves out and down. The sign is similar to the gesture of kissing ones hand and extending the hand towards someone else  in order to show ones gratitude.


Be sure to check out next month's issue for the new signs!

 Success Stories

Are you a Kindersigns Instructor and want to share with us your success story? Please send your submissions to Jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns Success Story’ in the subject line.

 Become a Kindersigns Instructor

Want to join the largest Baby Sign Language Instructors Network in the world? We would love to have you join! Visit www.kindersigns.com for more information!

I hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Kindersigns News!

Keep signing and making a difference in people’s lives.

Jamie Edson Opielski
Director of Operations

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