Instead of a meltdown, how great would it be if your baby politely asked, “More milk, please?” Yes, it can be done and getting kids to communicate their needs before they can speak can cut down on their (and your) frustration factor ten fold. The following baby sign classes are appropriate for munchkins as young as five months and many incorporate music and dance into the program to keep it extra engaging. Read on to discover four classes around town worth babbling about.
Portland Early Learning Project: photo by Stephanie S. via Yelp
Portland Early Learning Project
We love that the mission of this organization is to empower children and families to use language so that they can inspire positive change in the world. PELP offers a variety of class options for younger children and their parents to dive into the world of sign language, including series classes that increase in skill level. Have a play group that wants to learn sign language together? PELP will also help you create a class and come to you. Besides the amazing instruction and classes that can come to you, all of their programs are play-based and incorporate songs into the mix.
Ages: 5-24 months
Cost: Varies based on your class choice, but as an example, a five-week session is $80, which includes take-home handouts that include signs, song lyrics and strategies.
Location: See the current schedule for details on where the appropriate class for you is being held. Most are at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont St.)
Tiny Talkers Baby Signing 101
If you’re a parent who is dedicated to using sign language in your home to communicate with your children, or you want to simply start integrating it into the life of your baby, these workshops are designed to teach the parents how to use sign language and how to teach it to their kids on their own at home. You can also make arrangements to have a workshop in your home with your parent friends. Although, you’d better wait to serve wine until after everyone finishes learning the signs… or at least make them sign to ask for a glass!
Ages: They recommend only non-mobile babies attend, so that you can focus on learning the material.
Cost: A one-time workshop (typically two-hours long) is $45 for the first person and $10 for an additional adult.
Location: Various locations around Portland, including Alma Midwifery and The SweetLight Center.
photo: courtesy of Tiny Talkers’ Facebook page
Tiny Talkers Sign, Sing & Play
Sign language and music come together in a very happy marriage in this five-week session that integrates sign language with singing and dancing. Beyond just having fun in class, parents will also learn the strategies to bring the same skills home with them to continue making progress between sessions.
Ages: 6 months-2.5 years
Cost: A five-week session costs $75
Location: Euphoria Studios, 1235 SE Division St.
photo: courtesy of Westside Baby Sign Language Facebook page
Westside Baby Sign Language
The owners of the Westside Academy of Kung Fu school enjoyed teaching sign language to their daughter so much, they decided to share the love and teach it to the community as well. Their daughter, now four years-old, even helps teach the class, too! In July, baby sign classes will move to the Upper Westside Play Gym for a fully padded play experience and expanded kid classes.
Ages: All ages
Cost: $5 drop in
Location: Check website, as classes will be moving soon.
Have you taken sign language classes with your baby? Tell us all about it in the comments.
— Kelley Gardiner