NEW BERLIN, Wis. — Teaching kids sign language from an early age is getting more popular. It often starts before kids can talk as a way of learning how to communicate their needs and wants.
And while the trend has been popular for several years among parents that teach their young ones at home, it’s now expanding into the child care world.
At The Learning Experience in New Berlin, staff have been teaching students basic American Sign Language, or ASL, for the past year and a half.
Lead toddler teacher Taylor Biewer said she has been amazed by how well it has worked for her young students.
Biewer has found ASL to be particularly helpful when it comes to having kids express their basic needs.
“It is an incredible way to communicate with them because they don’t know how to talk yet. I think it is something for them to do independently, what they are meaning or trying to point to or tell us,” said Biewer.
The Learning Experience starts using sign language for kids as young as six months old.
Center Director Carmen Gely said she has seen it make a substantial difference for kids and caregivers.
“They already tell us their needs and wants through crying, so when we give them a different way of communicating it to us, it really reduces their frustrations when they are able to tell us,” said Gely.
Given the success at The Learning Experience, Biewer said she expects other child care centers and early childhood education programs to take notice and expand the teaching practice in the future.