COVID-19 UPDATE: June camps have been canceled. We plan to run July and August camps. We miss you!
ONLINE OFFERINGS NOW AVAILABLE, SEE BELOW!
Imagine you wake with a start at 3 am, your baby is crying...again...and you don't know what the problem is. If only you could figure it out.
You can… through sign language!
If your baby’s ear hurts, he can tell you.
If she’s hungry, or wet, or tired, she can tell you.
If he's fascinated by the birds and squirrels out your window, he can tell you!
How Can You Learn This Baby Magic?!
Through Sign Language in Play classes - playful classes that engage little ones while teaching grownups how to use ASL signs to give their babies and toddlers a way to communicate before they can speak. Sign Language in Play gives your baby a way to COMMUNICATE!
Each week you come to class and spend precious time with your little one - singing, dancing, playing, making friends - while learning the how-to's of Baby Sign Language.
During every class we engage in conversations about your infant or toddler's development to make sure you feel confident in signing with your baby at home.
We chat about topics like:
- "How do I get my baby to pay attention to my words and signs?"
- "My baby isn't talking yet, is that normal?"
- “How many and which signs should I start with?”
- "When will my baby start babbling?" And so much more.
All of this while playing and spending meaningful time with your baby and other families in what might just become your favorite 45 minutes of the week! Come let us show you how FUN and rewarding signing with your baby can be!
To sign up for a class:
#1 - Read through the class descriptions below
#2 - Choose from the options listed and click the registration button
#3 - Fill in the registration form and pay
#4 - We'll email you a confirmation with all of the information you need for the class
#5 - Arrive at the class with your little one ready to play and learn together!
NEW!! ONLINE Classes
We are excited to bring you wonderful online offerings to help you learn, connect, and have fun with your little one while at home!
We will be adding a How to Sign with your Baby Series in the coming weeks. Please let us know if you would like to join the wait-list for our first cohort.
We're currently offering live mini-classes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that meet 3x/week on Facebook. These are fun, interactive classes happening in real time (though replay is always available!). These classes will run as long as donations continue to support them. We know that just like us, many of you are out of work at this time. Therefore, donations are deeply appreciated but they are not required. Please contribute what you are able and comfortable contributing.
Email Christina@portlandearlylearning.com to request the link to our private facebook group
Donations can be made directly to:
Venmo: Christina-Schabow or
Baby - Sign Language in Play
SERIES A - Ages 6-24mo; Learn 80+ signs
Signs: Meal Time, Play Time, Bedtime, Diapering, Bath Time, Early Animals and more
Learn how to: start signing effectively, use signs to support language development, recognize your baby’s early signs, encourage your little one to sign back, help your baby to understand signs and more.
5 weekly, 45 min classes, $85
We are looking into ways to bring you this info online during the Coronavirus Crisis. Please let us know if you're interested in pre-recorded and/or zoom lessons. Launching soon!
SERIES B - Ages 10-24mo; Learn 80+ signs
(series A is not a pre-req though many families enjoying progressing in order)
Signs: Outside, Weather, Farm Animals, Opposites, Family, Friends and more
Learn how to: use signs to take communication to the next level, communicate about more interests and needs, understand how your baby is learning language.
5 weekly, 45 min classes, $85
SERIES C - Ages 12-24mo; Learn 80+ signs
(series A/B are not a pre-req though many families enjoying progressing in order)
Signs: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Colors, Feelings, Going to the Doctor, and more
Learn how to: use signs to help your toddler navigate their growing independence
5 weekly, 45 min classes, $85
Toddler/Preschooler - Shimmy, Shake, & Sign
Ages 2 - 4*
Come Shimmy, Shake, & Sign with us in this lively weekly class!
Families will sign, dance, sing, read stories and play games and Christina will encourage communication and turn-taking inline with your child’s development.
Each class also incorporates time for free play as making friendships and nurturing social skills are also goals of this class!
$14/class OR pre-select 5 dates, $55
*toddlers 20 mos+ who have previously taken our Baby Sign Language classes may join this class
Classes at Home
We bring the fun of our Baby Sign Language in Play classes to your home for a group of your friends!
Pricing per baby remains the same as our public class for groups with a minimum of 6+ babies participating. Smaller groups can be accommodated for an additional fee depending on group size.
Contact us for scheduling availability and to get a class started!
Classes at your school/library
We love bringing our classes to schools and libraries. For the last several years, Christina has taught lively, large group baby and toddler Sign Language Play times at libraries and schools all over Portland. Programming receives rave reviews from families and educators and is a highlight to any school or library lineup!
Contact us directly for pricing, class details and scheduling availability.
Take a Sneak Peek into Sign Language in Play
"Often kids with multiple languages have delayed speech. That is the case with our child. She just gets fussy and cries when she can't communicate what she wants/needs. We work on the signs for whatever she's crying over, and then she can confidently tell us what she needs with no tears. I couldn't be happier that this wonderful class was introduced into our lives."
"Christina is amazing. We took the entire series with our older daughter about 3 years ago and are now back with our younger daughter and love it just as much. Our older daughter knew OVER 300 signs by the end of the series!! We have also met some wonderful families through these classes. I cannot recommend baby sign language enough and the classes with PELP and Christina are top notch."
"Gemma has been attending sign class with Christina since she was 10 months old and she now can successfully sign 25 signs and recognizes and understands many more! Signing has allowed her to communicate effectively, and is a game changer for our family. I truly believe her grasp and understanding of communication through signing has helped with her speech as well. Her most recent accomplishment which is all thanks to signing, she now communicates when she needs a diaper change, which will certainly help with potty training!!!"
Sign Language in Play classes are dynamic and fun, with songs, playtime, music and movement throughout. Any given week we may dance, shake our shakers and scarves, engage in parachute play... and bubbles! There are so many bubbles!
Caregivers sit with their babies in a circle time while Christina leads the group through learning new signs and songs each week.
After a short strategy session, we spend some time socializing and playing with toys and books relative to each week’s theme. Then we re-group to finish up class together with a song or two!
Parents take home handouts after class.
Because it's fun, it’s rewarding and it works!
Babies can understand and use signs before they can speak allowing them to communicate their needs and wants earlier than babies who don’t sign. This eases frustration (for both parents and babies) making for less fussing and a more peaceful home life. Easing that frustration does a lot for your baby’s emotional development...being understood is emotionally satisfying and empowering!
Parents of signing babies report feeling “in tune” with their babies - understanding and communicating with your baby about her needs, wants, and interests promotes closeness and bonding between you.
This early and extensive experience with communication, turn-taking, and conversational skills leads to advanced language and vocabulary skills. Yes, signing babies are almost always early (and quite skilled) little talkers.
No. In fact, sign language usually accelerates spoken language. By always saying the words out loud while signing, babies get to learn orally, visually, and kinesthetically which actually helps the natural process of acquiring speech.
Research shows that most babies who have learned sign language speak earlier and more prolifically.
See a more in-depth explanation on our blog here.
We have families who start class with babies as young as 6 months all the way to toddlers as old as 2.
6-8 months is a great time to start classes because most babies are physically ready to sign back somewhere between 8-10 months.
It’s around that time they begin waving and clapping, and they begin to have more purposeful control over their bodies. Starting class a few months before that gives families time start incorporating signs into daily life and gives babies time to start learning what signs mean so that when they are physically ready, all the pieces have aligned.
Starting a little later is wonderful too! Babies and toddlers who are introduced to signs when they are a little older are likely to learn them more quickly because they are developmentally more ready. It’s rewarding to see these little ones pick up on signs so quickly.
Signs continue to be useful for many families well into toddler-hood as older babies struggle to articulate big feelings.
Regardless of when you begin, it will take some time to make signing a habitual part of your day and it will take some time for your baby to learn to watch for your signs and understand what they mean. We are here to help you navigate that!
Generally, babies tend to first sign back around 8-10 months old. This is variable as are many things related to baby development. Factors like when signing was taught and what milestones your baby is working on play a part.
Before your baby signs back, your baby can recognize your signs and respond to you. Imagine that! Older babies can often learn signs within days or weeks.