Learning sign language for children is very important for your child's development. What this means and what the benefits are, we are happy to explain!
What is sign language?
Sign language is a language consisting of hand gestures and body language. Although it is often associated with the deaf and hard of hearing, sign language can also be used by babies and children who cannot yet speak. It can be frustrating for children when they find that they cannot make themselves understood and that they cannot understand those around them. De Kleine Houtrakkers is one of the few daycare centers where sign language is actively used. We combine it as much as possible with our themes. For example, around Animal Day, animal gestures are taught. Every week a 'gesture of the week' is in the spotlight. This way, parents also get to know what we do and what their child means with a gesture.
Learning Sign Language
Learning sign language can improve communication between parents and babies. Babies begin to communicate before they can speak, and sign language offers them a way to express their needs and emotions. Children as young as six months can recognize and use gestures themselves. Sometimes even earlier in children with developmental delays. By using gestures such as "more," "mommy," and "daddy," babies can make their needs clear without crying or getting frustrated. It helps children better understand and respond to the world around them. This reduces stress on both baby and parents, and can contribute to a healthy parent-child relationship.
Benefits of sign language
Learning sign language also promotes children's language development. Sign language helps children better understand the grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of spoken language. When children see gestures while a word is being spoken, it reinforces the connection between the spoken word and its meaning. They learn new words and concepts more quickly and effectively. This can contribute to a better understanding of spoken language and a larger vocabulary, making children better able to communicate with others. Thus, it does not stand in the way of spoken language, but encourages it.
Third, learning sign language can promote children's cognitive development. Sign language requires children to learn to think about symbols and their meanings, which can contribute to the development of abstract thinking and problem-solving skills. Learning sign language can also contribute to the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Finally, learning sign language can have a positive impact on children's social and emotional development. The child sees the gestures, links it to a word and need, uses the gesture himself to get his need fulfilled. Sign language can thus help children become more aware of the feelings and emotions of others, which can contribute to empathy and social awareness. Sign language can also contribute to the development of self-confidence and self-expression, as children are able to express their thoughts and emotions clearly and effectively.
Experiences of De Kleine Houtrakkers Haarlem
Learning sign language offers many benefits for babies and children. At De Kleine Houtrakkers, we note that children can better understand what is being said and can be more involved in interactive activities, such as reading books or playing games. It is especially helpful with multilingual children. It is a unique way to support and promote communication. Parents and caregivers can learn and use sign language as an effective and fun way to communicate with their children, while encouraging their children's development at the same time!