Teaching Sign Language in Childcare is Beneficial
There are many benefits to teaching sign language in childcare from the beginning, far more than can fit into this blog, but I want to highlight a couple that I find most important.
Communicate before the verbal ability
People tend to be happier when they can successfully communicate their ideas, and children are no exception. Young children start to understand a language far before they are capable of speaking back. This makes sign language a perfect start to their communication journey.
Helps to lessen frustration
Let’s face it – no one likes tantrums—neither the child nor the caregiver. When children are taught sign language from an early age, they have a way to communicate their feelings, something that is very difficult to do without words. Being able to communicate properly cuts out a lot of unnecessary frustration. Simply put, there’s no need for tantrum de-escalation when you can potentially avoid it altogether.
Encourages confidence, self-esteem, and social skills
Gaining a new skill can be a confidence boost. Being able to communicate effectively can certainly boost confidence and self-esteem. Sign language can also help children to build connections, particularly with other children their age. Being able to build these relationships, through sign language will help later when it comes to problem-solving and playing together.
Inclusive to deaf/hearing-impaired children
All children, both hearing and deaf, are put at an educational disadvantage when sign language is not taught. There is something to gain from teaching sign language, and a lot to lose if it is not taught. Deaf children can benefit from learning sign language since it plays a major part in their ability to communicate. Hearing children, while they will eventually gain speech and don’t require sign language, still benefit. Learning sign language gives people an opportunity to process language in two ways. Knowing two forms of communicating can help to strengthen both.
This blog was written by Lily Ring. Lily has been working as an assistant teacher at The Very Little Red Schoolhouse in Hurley, NY for over a year now. She has decided to begin her Child Development Associate (CDA) as the next step in her child care career. Lily hopes to work as a preschool teacher in the future.
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