For Educators

FAQs for Educators

Is there research to support using sign language in the classroom?

Research has shown many benefits of using sign in the classroom.  Early childhood educators were more responsive to preverbal children who use sign.  They felt they knew the children better.  The children who signed in these settings were better able to express their own needs and feelings.  They were also better able to cope with stressful routines.  Preschoolers whose teachers used both sign and speech in the classroom had bigger spoken vocabularies at the end of the year.  When Kindergarten teachers used sign language, students scored higher on literacy measures in first grade.  Signing has also been shown to help ELL students and children struggling with reading and spelling in elementary school.

Why ASL and not made up signs?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a living language used by millions of deaf Americans.  Exposing children to this language provides a wonderful practical skill and cultural enrichment.  Learning ASL has the same benefit as learning a second spoken language & can be used to aid in the development of a second spoken language. 
Some people feel that learning ASL can be too complex for some children.  We disagree.  Just like with speech, children will naturally modify some signs until they can form them properly.  This transition is an important part of learning & development.
Additionally "made-up" signs and gestures are useless outside of the setting they were taught in.  Professionals who work with children (doctors, librarians, and other teachers) are far more likely to use ASL than learn individual "made up" signs for each child they work with.  Additionally, it is possible that a "made-up" gesture could have a different and perhaps offensive meaning in ASL.

Why do you think using sign language in a classroom is effective?

When sign language is used in a classroom, students hear/say the word, see the sign and feel the sign as they sign it themselves.  In this way, Sign Language addresses visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles.

Do I need to become fluent in ASL?

It is important to note, you do not have to become fluent in ASL for signing to be beneficial in your environment.   Hand in Hand and Signing Time are vocabulary based and do not teach grammar and other aspects of ASL.

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Watch this video about a school who infuses sign language into their daily curriculum.

Classes for

Daycares, Preschools and Elementary Schools

Hand in Hand classes come to you.
  • 20-30 minute sessions

  • Weekly or twice a month

  • Topics include classrooms skills, social skills and themed units (weather, colors, animals)

Contact us for more information.

Educator Workshops and Professional Development

Learn how to effectively incorporate sign language into your practice, and increase your ASL vocabulary.  There is also an option to learn a curriculum that fits your environment. Workshops are tailored to fit your setting or needs.  

Contact us for more information.

Signing Time Classroom Edition

The Signing Time Classroom Edition is geared for ages 3 – 9 (PreK – 3rd grade).  It contains 16 units, each organized around a dozen or more signs and contains fun activities for sign language practice.  Each unit includes teacher tips, sign reference guide, games, poems, songs, book lists and flash card sheets.

Preschool and Child Care Program

The Signing Time Preschool and Child Care Program gives you music, videos and easy-to-do activities that teach language and social skills through signing. This complete package contains all the resources you need to add music, movement, signing, and fun to your early childhood classroom, playgroup, or day care program. Includes 4 teacher guides, each with 7 themed units, DVDs and CDs, reference posters, and hundreds of printables.