The Signing Time series teaches young children and babies the American Sign Language (ASL). While sign language was traditionally used by people with speech and hearing disability, there is a growing community who use it for children who have difficulty communicating verbally. This includes children with autism, babies and toddlers who could not speak and even children with more serious disability. Some even claim that teaching signing to babies will lead to earlier reading and boost IQ.
Even without these intrinsic benefits, the Signing Time series is easily one of the best production of children’s educational DVDs for young children.
A great mix of real life footage and animation with catchy music and meaningful songs make it educational, lively and entertaining for both the adult and child. Presentation is clear and engaging. The show’s host will say the word and demonstrate the sign, together with a description of how to make the sign. The written word and picture of the item will appear together or in a latter footage followed by children making the signs and video footage of the item. After a set of words are covered, a song that covers the set of words will be sang with the MTV like footage of the song. Below is an example of their catchy songs from Youtube.
A wide range of topics and themes were covered. Topics range from ABCs, colours, counting, animals in the farm, zoo, creatures found in the aquarium and in the wild to food and transportation. Themes and values like sharing, going to school, to the library, behaving in the grocery store, table manners and helping out at home are integrated into the songs and storyline.
Footage of children in different races, children with disability appear regularly. There are even behind the scenes sections showing the children in the animated footage going through their part in front of green screens. My son gets lots of inspiration on how to play pretend from the shows and get lots of finger play time from it. Both of us learn alot and spend many enjoyable hours from the series.
The story behind the making of the show itself is a touching and inspiring one. The producer and host Rachel and her family started to learn ASL after finding out their daughter Leah is deaf. A few years later Rachel’s second daughter was born eight weeks premature with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. In the midst of all these, Rachel and her sister Emilie decided to team up to create a captivating, entertaining video to teach sign language to hearing children. Their plan was to make a short DVD that gave their friends and family a fun and easy way to learn a second language, but most importantly to sign with Leah. In May of 2002 the first volume of Signing Time! was completed, starring Rachel, 3-year-old Alex and 5-year-old Leah. Word spread and demand grew and soon the company if form.
The Signing time DVD series were meant to teach young children or babies who American Sign Language (ASL). While sign language was traditionally used only for people with speech and hearing disability, there is a growing community who use it with others with difficulty communicating verbally. This includes children with autism, babies and toddlers who could not speak and even children with more serious disability.
Supporters of signing list a whole range of benefits to teaching signing to children who have normal hearing abilities. including better communication between babies and parents and scoring better in IQ and vocabulary related test by the time they are seven years old.