Tots learn how to 'Rhyme and Sign'
A PIONEERING course at Wexford Arts Centre is teaching babies how to communicate with each other and with their parents and carers through sign language.
Siobhan Pullen, whose classes take in children from five months of age to two-and- a-half, says 'Rhyme and Sign' is a way for parents and carers to learn baby signing.
She says the signs are derived from Irish and British sign language that a baby can learn long before they can talk. 'The classes are very interactive, using music, singing, rhythm, small instruments and plenty of signs,' she says.
Sessions last about 45 minutes, and at the end of each session, parents or carers take away handouts as a reminder of what was covered and suggestions for continuing at home.
'I got in to it first when my eldest son was at school in the UK, in a class where there were two hearing impaired classmates.
'The teacher was using sign language in a very matter of fact way alongside her "talk and chalk", and it was really noticeable how all of the kids started signing without themselves realising!'
Siobhan said she was fascinated by this and learned BSL (British Sign Language), and have more recently complimented this with an intensive ISL (Irish Sign Language) course in Wexford.
'With the arrival of my twins I explored baby signing further and developed Rhyme and Sign from there. I know how astonishing it is to see a baby start to communicate through signing, and how this can really help little ones if they're feeling frustrated as they struggle to be understood.
She said the first course is nearing completion 'and we're really delighted by how well it's gone'.
Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Siobhan through the Arts Centre.