Baby and Child Sign Language with 

"Happy Baby Signs"

We are so pleased to partner with Happy Baby Signs to bring you these amazing classes. They are the leading Bay Area providers for American Sign Language (ASL) instruction for parents and authors of the book Signs of a Happy Baby.

As part of their program, Happy Baby Signs offers:

- An Introductory Workshop
- Three six-class series for expecting families and those with babies up to 18 months: Red, Yellow and Blue Series.

- A seven-class series for families with toddlers (active walker to 5-year-olds)

Introductory Workshop

This online workshop introduces more than 20 signs that are based on American Sign Language (ASL)  and is designed for expectant parents and those with babies ranging in age from birth to 18 months.

 

You will learn about the latest research and all the tools to teach your baby to sign.

 

Fun activities and songs will show you how easy it can be to integrate simple signs into your everyday routine to jump-start your child’s verbal skills.

Class Size:  8 to 20 families

Price:  $35 per family

Upcoming dates: 

Instructor:  Bill White, from Happy Baby Signs

Wednesday, March 31st 

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific Time

Friday, April 30th

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Pacific Time

Six-Class Series (expectant parents & families with babies up to 18 months old)

These online series are a fun way to build your signing vocabulary and skills with themes like mealtime, animals, colors, family, bedtime, and more.

 

The three different six-class series meet once a week via Zoom and are named after the primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. No need to take them in order. Just dive into one and go from there :)

Each series includes the essential basic starter signs and vary in the more advanced vocabulary. The Introductory Workshop is recommended but is not a prerequisite. Older siblings are very welcome to join the fun and ask questions too!

Class Size:  8 to 20 families

Upcoming dates: 

Early-bird Price (register by 4/7):  $135 per family  

Blue Series - meets on Wednesdays, from April 14th to May 19th 

10:30 AM  - 11:30 AM Pacific Time

Red Series

Day 1. Magic 7 Signs & Mealtime Red
Day 2. Colors and Clothing
Day 3. Animals on the Farm
Day 4. Bath Time Signs
Day 5. Weather Signs
Day 6. Family & Series Review

Yellow Series

Day 1. Magic 7 Signs & Mealtime Yellow
Day 2. Colors and Garden Critters
Day 3. Animals in the Zoo
Day 4. Safety and Senses
Day 5. Feelings and Emotions
Day 6. Opposites & Series Review

Blue Series

Day 1. Magic 7 Signs & Mealtime Blue
Day 2. Ocean Animals
Day 3. Things that go Zoom
Day 4. Bedtime Signs
Day 5. Playtime and Manners
Day 6. Woodland Animals & Series Review

*The Magic 7 Signs are the basic starter signs

Instructor:  Bill White, from Happy Baby Signs

Seven-class Series (families with Toddlers & Preschoolers)

Happy Baby Sign's Online Toddler and Preschooler Series takes the Baby Sign Language Playgroups to a new level!

 

Your child will have a blast learning American Sign Language (ASL) with singing, dancing, storytime, and action-packed games. Whereas the baby sign language series are named after the primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue, the three Toddler series are named after the secondary colors: Orange, Green, and Purple.

Orange Series

1. Let’s Eat

2. More than a Rainbow of Colors

3. On The Farm

4. We Are Family

5. Things That Go!

6. What are You Wearing?

7. Seasonal Surprise

Green Series

1. Move and Groove

2. What Are You Feeling?

3. Splish! Splash!

4. Sleepyhead

5. It's Potty Time!

6. What A Zoo

7. Seasonal Surprise

Purple Series

1. Opposites
2. Manners
3. Going Buggy
4. In The Forest
5. Let's Go Outside
6. Happy Birthday
7. Seasonal Surprise

Class Size:  8 to 20 families

Early-bird Price (register by 3/21):  $135 per family

Instructor:  Erika Vetter, from Happy Baby Signs

Upcoming dates: 

Purple Series - meets on Sundays, from March 28th to May 23rd (skips April 4th and May9th)

11:00 AM  - 11:45 AM Pacific Time

Bill White - Instructor - Introductory Workshops and Baby Sign Series

Bill White is the founder of the Happy Baby Signs and co-author with Kathleen Harper of the internationally best selling book, Signs of a Happy Baby.

 

He facilitates baby sign language programs at Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Sutter Health, Harmony Birth and Family, Blossom Birth and Family, Stanford Work-Life, Cisco Systems, Children’s Creative Learning Centers, Genentech, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, and many other locations.

 

Bill received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychobiology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is passionate about how signing greatly helps us connect with our babies and is the proud father of two hearing sons who both sign.

Erika Vetter  - Instructor - Toddler and Preschooler Sign Series

Erika Vetter fell in love with sign language in her childhood, when she befriended a Deaf girl in her Brownie Scout troop. This friendship continued for many years and led her to volunteer in the hard-of-hearing preschool during recess when she was still in elementary school. 

 

She received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology with Teacher Certification at Elmira College and earned her Master's Degree as a Teacher for the Deaf for grades K-12 from Canisius College in upstate New York. 

 

For the past 18 years, Erika has taught both Deaf and hearing children in schools such as the Pennsylvania  School for the Deaf and the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. She currently works as an ASL interpreter and instructor. 

 

Erika's thesis on teaching ASL to preverbal hearing children, along with her recent coursework in bilingual education, has reinforced her belief that signing with children can produce amazing results. 

 

All three of her children started signing between six and seven months old and still sign on a daily basis.  Erika delights in seeing ​children empowered with a tremendous ability to communicate effectively at a very early age and is eager to share her experience and enthusiasm with you.

Frequently Asked Questions - Answered by Happy Baby Signs

When can I start signing with my child?


Start now! You’ll hear six to eight months old is an optimal time to start signing with your baby. After babies are six months old, they are starting to associate words with the world around them. That's language whether spoken or gestured. Their long-term memory is developmentally ready to retain the signs they see. At six months of age babies’ motor skills and hand-eye coordination are at a stage to be able to make more precise gestures. Having said this, it’s perfectly fine to start earlier than six months old. That way you will be ready with a solid signing vocabulary when your baby is six months old! Start building your baby sign language skills today.

Having said this, there is no harm in starting to sign as early as you like. Here are two big reasons why we suggest parents start early on:
1. We’ve found the younger the baby is the easier it is for parents to pay attention in class.
2. Many parents are very interested in joining our program. However, many of those parents forget that they are planning on returning to work when their baby is four to six months old at which point they don’t have the time to attend the classes. So don't miss out. Join now and practice with your partner during the early months.

It’s worthwhile to note that many Deaf parents sign with their babies from birth. Their babies generally sign back significantly earlier than babies in hearing families do. The only caveat is that when you start signing with a very young baby and you don't see any results, don't give up. Be patient and remember that receptive language comes before expressive language whether it's signed or verbal.




What are some benefits of Sign Language for Babies and Toddlers?


• Accelerates language acquisition. Research studies have found that signing babies normally begin to speak earlier and have larger vocabularies than non-signing babies. • Provides a parent with the wonderful opportunity to develop a window into their child's mind. By including signs in daily activities, parents spend less time guessing what children want and more time fulfilling their specific needs.
• Teaches a simple language that allows children to easily express their immediate desires and needs, significantly lowering frustration levels for everyone.
• Allows children to lead the conversation about topics that interest them. When a parent then verbalizes the sign, it fortifies a child’s expanding vocabulary.
• Utilizes more diverse areas of the brain for communication. Rather than language being processed solely through auditory pathways, signing adds visual and kinesthetic emphasis to a child’s auditory input.
• Gives babies a sense of control when they know that those around them not only hear them but understand them. This greatly enhances a child’s self-esteem.
• Helps parents and health care providers localize pain and identify medical conditions.
• Enables children to express their fears or concerns.
• Builds an iconic bridge between two languages in a bilingual family. For example, the same signs can be used for words spoken in English or Spanish. Knowing a sign for a word helps a child recognize the same word spoken in other languages.




Does signing hinder verbal language development?


Some parents are concerned that teaching their baby sign language will delay their baby's speech acquisition. More than thirty years of evidence research shows that the opposite is actually true. Studies show that babies who sign develop verbal language skills earlier than their peers, and have a comparatively larger verbal vocabulary.




When will my baby sign back?


It varies like every other developmental milestones. Once babies reach six months of age memory retention increases rapidly. When you start signing to them when they're between six to seven months of age, for example, you can reasonably expect them to sign back when they’re between eight and ten months old. Older babies and toddlers will generally catch on much more quickly because they’re reaching the stage developmentally where they begin to imitate, and when they attempt to use gestures to communicate. They may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to sign back.




Do I need to bring my baby to the Baby Sign Language classes?


Babies are welcome in class, or parents may come on their own, since babies will do the bulk of their learning through being exposed to signs by their caregivers in their daily routines rather than in a class once a week, just like with spoken language. We call the series of classes "playgroups" because it's the grown-ups that are playing, having fun growing their vocabulary and confidence, using the signs with interactive games and songs. Many of the younger babies sleep through class or are nursing. So for the baby sign language classes, the babies are just along for the ride. If you have really mobile toddler you might prefer the Toddler/Preschooler series.




May I skip the Introductory Workshop?


The best way to become confident and achieve mastery of the American Sign Language vocabulary that we teach we recommend completion of the Introductory Workshop prior to enrolling in a playgroup series. That said, completion of the Introductory Workshop isn't required to matriculate into one of the Playgroup Series. You may want to skip the Introductory Workshop if you have had experience signing with babies and feel confident using sign language or have already taken an American Sign Language (ASL) course in school.




Which Series comes first?


There is no special order. Take whichever one fits your schedule. Each series includes the essential basic 7 signs:
MILK, MORE, ALL DONE, WATER, MOTHER, FATHER. We address parent signs for LGBTQ families as well.




Do I need to take all three series?


After you finish your first series and your baby is starting to sign you can greatly improve your sign language skills by enrolling in one of our other series ... a "refresher" course. You will grow your child's vocabulary and most importantly increase YOUR level of confidence. Plus it's just plain fun, meeting other like minded parents and signing together!




Once I finish all three series may I retake them?


Yes, many families do. This program is very much like a dance or yoga class. ...or like any foreign language class.
When you commit to practicing an hour a week with your personal trainer in the gym or yoga studio, the better and more confident you become. The same is true with a language program. Plus, your baby will follow lockstep with your improvement. Check with Bill because he often offers half off if you have finished all three baby or toddler series and would like to repeat one or more!





Additional Resources

Sign Language Classes

Parenting Workshops

Subscribe to our emails to receive updates and special offers
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

(415) 815 6035

contact@CucusPlayHouse.com     

       1414 4th Street

San Rafael, CA 94901