Friday, December 2, 2011

Hop to Signaroo

Want to communicate more with your child? Look no further than your fingers!

Hop to Signaroo Baby Sign Language is a program coming to the Bellevue Club that will help teach hearing parents and their hearing babies and toddlers American Sign Language. ASL is the third-most-common language in America and one that can be understood and used with children as young as five months old.

Nancy Hanauer, founder of the program, will be teaching a class where parents will learn approximately 100 signs they can use to communicate with their babies to greatly reduce their frustration and aid early communication, months before speech is possible. The class will run for four weeks, for an hour each week, beginning in the fall. While 100 signs may seem like a lot in only four weeks, Nancy assures that the pace is easy enough for everyone.

“Review, hands-on games, songs and stories are built into each week’s curriculum,” said Nancy.

Sign language has become a fantastic way for parents to communicate with their children, months before their kids are able to speak. While most kids aren’t able to fluently speak until around the age of 2, they are capable of communicating their needs much earlier.

“Every baby can model what they are exposed to. I teach ASL, not made-up gestures, so even after your child learns to speak, they are accustomed to the beginnings of a beautiful second language,” said Nancy.

Nancy is a credentialed teacher who has been teaching for 20 years and began Hop to Signaroo 11 years ago.

“Hearing parents go through the same frustration as deaf parents—that is why I started teaching. I just love when a baby signs for the first time in class,” said Nancy.

When asked whether all children are able to sign, Nancy said that usually a child can recognize signs within one month and are often signing by the second or third month, as long as families are consistent with the techniques taught in class and start when their little ones are at least five months of age.

Parents who are wary of learning the language should take note that Nancy makes sure the class is manageable, hands on and, of course, fun! Classes are suitable for families with infants and toddlers up to about 2 years of age, and expectant parents are also welcome.

Katie Barth, Recreation Director at the Club said, “Nancy will connect great with our members. She is energetic and fun—exactly how a teacher should be.”

Registration includes a comprehensive class packet that helps parents learn the signs they will use daily. Parents will also receive a set of Roo-minder Ring Reminder and Instruction Cards that they can post around the house to remind them to sign throughout their daily routine at home.

The class allows both parents, or one parent and one grandparent, to attend. There is no extra charge for twins or triplets. While the class is geared toward parents, babies are welcome.

“Most people bring their babies to class where they usually play with each other, and the babies enjoy the signed songs we practice in class, but parents who want to focus more are welcome to come alone,” said Nancy.

If for any reason participants miss a class, Nancy offers make-up classes at her other venues and reviews at the start of each lesson. She also offers an optional, in-home follow-up session six months and one year later. “I absolutely adore the babies who come to class, and the parents have fun as well,” said Nancy.

Lessons start Oct. 5 for Session 1 and Feb. 1 for Session 2, from 10:30–11:30 a.m. Registration is $147/member for the four-week program.

Learn more about Hop to Signaroo at For more information about the Bellevue Club class, see the Fall Youth Activities brochure around the Club or visit

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