We are very proud and excited to announce the wonderful concept of signing at Circus, designed to enhance learning and development for all children of all ages.

 So, what exactly is Signing and why are we choosing to implement it at our Setting?

Signing is a fundamental form of communication that we all use quite naturally and often take for granted. Without being consciously aware of it all the time, we are almost constantly using non-verbal communication – in particular with our hands.

In addition to verbal communication, body language and gesture is employed to increase understanding, stimulate the brain, and also supporting the use of new vocabulary. What better age to start than with the young who are growing and developing in so many areas of the brain?

For younger children who may not have developed a full range of speech sounds yet and therefore often feel frustrated when trying to communicate their needs, signing is shown to positively help reduce their stress and anxiety.  Supporting hem to communicate their needs to adults more appropriately and with a positive outcome, also enhances self-esteem and confidence.

Gloucestershire Total Communication for our Babies and Toddlers…

With all of the above in mind, we have officially starting using Gloucestershire Total Communication at Circus, where it has become a fun interactive activity, whilst also teaching children how to communicate effectively in support of their speech and language acquisition.  We look at how different signs and gestures can be motivating to the child, how effectively to use them between adult and child, and how they can enhance learning and development within the curriculum.

Baby signing is particularly effective as this age group are very good at copying and picking up gestures, where more often than not understanding is progressed quicker than speech and language development. For example, if a baby wants to be picked up by an adult they often raise their arms, or if they are saying goodbye to someone, they will wave their hands.  By simply teaching a baby further new signals, they can more immediately and accurately express their needs to adults.

Signing with toddlers is equally and highly effective and reduces the tension in meeting needs, empowering children to successfully express themselves when verbal words may not be developed enough to fully communicate needs or emotions.   Nursery rhymes are an effective way to introduce sign language as children often learn the signs before the associated words and language, and can be seen energetically interacting with actions.  It can also be very effective with children from different cultures, whose first language may not be English. Signing here again supports more sharing and expression, as well as a greater feeling of inclusion, as they develop and enjoy this universal understanding between peer groups.

Research has shown that signing may actually help children to explore and speak new words. At Circus, our focus is on mindfully enhancing and not replacing language, employing this useful tool to reduce any inherent tensions whilst effectively meeting the very individual needs of our children.

Signing with your Children…  Should you wish to review or explore this further, we are following Gloucestershire Total Communication with finger spelling from the British Sign Language.

We also have notice boards in the setting which show both the sign language, as well as what we are working on at any given time.   We hope you will get involved and enjoy learning this fun activity together with us and with your children – no matter what age! A great new skill for us all and a delightful activity to enjoy with our little ones!