This winter has been particularly cold and snowy! I am ready for it to be over. Not only am I ready for the warmth to come but I’m ready for the sicknesses, flues, runny noses, sore throats and coughs to be over. It seems like we have used the sign ‘sick’ in our house more this year than any other year. My son was extremely cute the other day when he finally got the stomach flu that had been traveling through my house. To give you the back story, when my daughter was out with this terrible flu she could hardly talk because she always felt that she would be sick if she did. She just kept signing sick over and over again (she liked the sympathy from mommy). Then my son got sick and was very lethargic, he was laying on the couch and I said to him, “Are you okay baby?” and he looked at me and signed ‘sick’ just like his sister had over and over again. I wish I had my video camera running because the cuteness level hit 10 that day.
Due to the yucky sicknesses we have been passing back and forth this winter I felt that SICK would be a great sign of the week this week.
I love living in Canada but admit that I’d love to ‘winter’ down south. I am NOT a fan of the cold. I need to repeat that… I am NOT a fan of the cold. I hate having to bundle myself up but much much much worse than that I hate bundling the kids up. It takes a good 10 minutes longer to leave the house on a winter day than it does during any other season. I don’t mean to complain, I really try to be a positive person but today is the first day that it feels bitter cold and it’s bugging me 🙂
Okay, enough about my complaining about the cold. The great part about winter is being able to sit in front of a fireplace to warm up. Drinking hot tea or chocolate and having it warm up your belly as it goes down. Beautiful white snow on the trees after a snowfall. There are great things about the winter, I am going to focus on those things!
In honour of today being the first bitter cold day I wanted to introduce the sign ‘COLD‘ to you. This is a fun sign to teach children because it is an easy sign for them to do and it’s funny at the same time. Both of my children loved doing this sign I think partly because I made a nice goofy face when doing it and it got a lot of giggles. Have fun with teaching this sign, make a nice goofy cold face, your baby will probably respond with giggles!
I am so honored to have such a well respected company and to have such amazing people represent my vision of My Smart Hands! Now I can share it with you! I’m one of the newest PTPA Blogaholicsand I’m thrilled to not only be able to teach you the benefits of signing with your baby, show you my YouTube videos and share my Signs of the Week….now My Smart Hands is also a PTPA Winner!
My story starts when I was pregnant with my first child I wanted to find a way to stay at home with her but still have an income. Necessity being the mother of invention, I used the skills I had as a teacher and my knowledge of ASL and began teaching sign language to parents of hearing babies. My classes became so successful that I founded My Smart Hands, which has now grown into an international company
It started when I was working as an eighth grade teacher, running the literacy program at my school. The old program we were using wasn’t working so my principal asked me to try to find different ways to help our students improve their literacy skills. While doing research I came across a study that used the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet to help students develop their spelling skills. I was fascinated with this concept, it made complete sense. ASL encompasses a number of learning styles but specifically kinesthetic and visual. I took this theory to my school, designed a great curriculum and began to have success with it. This led to me lecturing for teacher education programs at universities on the concept of using sign language to help promote literacy in our schools. These lectures, I’m please to say, were very well received.
Further into my research I came across several articles and research studies on using sign language with babies. This concept fascinated me and it made me want to sign with my baby when I had one. The benefits of signing with children are far greater than simple communication (read more about this in our FAQ page).
This all lead me to the creation of My Smart Hands. With my background, teaching baby signing classes seemed to be the perfect fit! In 2005, while pregnant with my daughter, I began designing the My Smart Hands curriculum . After signing with my new daughter and seeing her learn ASL, I was even more confident that this was the right career path for me. I fine tuned my program, designed a manual with a CD to accompany it and opened up my company to other instructors. I wanted to give as many families as possible the opportunity to sign with their babies with help from a qualified My Smart Hands presenter.
Here we are now, several years later and My Smart Hands is an international company with nearly 100 instructors and growing every day! All of my instructors have unique backgrounds but we all have one thing in common, a love for signing! All of My Smart Hands instructors are required to have formal ASL training. We pride ourselves in being an educationally based company that will deliver fulfilling and exciting classes to the parents that take them!
Please check back each week to see my new posts on PTPA about signing with your baby! I’ll include Signs of the Week as well as some great songs! I’d love to answer your questions or see your comments!
Laura is the founder of My Smart Hands™ and is certified with the Ontario College of Teachers. She is a guest lecturer at the University level on the topic of using sign language with hearing children. Laura has delivered workshops to librarians and teachers helping them develop techniques to incorporate the use of sign language into their programs. She also runs an ‘introduction to sign language’ program for grades kindergarten to eight.
Laura has an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Child Studies from the University of Guelph and a post-graduate degree in Education. During her University career, she was introduced to the benefits of sign language for use in classroom management. She explored this concept further by taking American Sign Language courses through George Brown College and the Canadian Hearing Society.
But it was when she had a daughter of her own that she truly realized the possibilities for communication and cognitive development that sign language offered. Baby sign language became a passion born of a mother’s desire to give her daughter the best possible start in life. She decided to share her passion with other mothers.
Laura’s teaching background and highly developed skills in curriculum planning make her a formidable force in the classroom. Her classes are spirited and engaging for both mom and baby and have been eliciting raves from her students. Most importantly they offer parents the tools they need to facilitate early communication with their children. As it was with her former students, Laura’s primary goal is to help children achieve their highest potential.
Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands™, is a national guest speaker. Her presentations are dynamic and entertaining. Laura is available to speak at your event or conference on the following topics:
-sign language to promote literacy.
-signing and the confident child.
-parent and child bonding through signing.
-how to incorporate signing into your programs.
-other topics geared towards your conference needs.
Please contact Laura for more information and speaking references.
Are you interested in having Laura come and give a presentation at your conference or class on using sign language to promote literacy? Laura offers an engaging power point presentation where she discusses the benefits of using sign language with babies, preschoolers and school aged children and shows videos of a baby and toddler showing off her signing skills!