As a first-time mom, I decided to take some baby learning classes. Since I enjoyed the sign language learning in Tum e Time, I registered for a baby sign language course from Happy Baby Signs. I enrolled in a “Playgroup Zoom” class to get started.
The class is designed as a parent playgroup for those with babies from birth to 18 months old. That’s right, it’s a playgroup where parents learn sign language through memorization of songs, words, and phrases to take home and teach their baby. Each class covers a lot of material in one hour and the fast pace leaves limited time to engage with your baby during the instruction.
What to expect in a baby sign class
During class, the group sat in a circle and babies were invited to play in the center while the parents practiced with the teacher. The website even states that some parents might learn better by attending solo. While attending solo in the daytime was not an option for this stay-at-home mom, Henry and I started when he was three and half months so he was less busy than the other babies in class, most of whom were over eight months old and crawling around.
Happy Baby Signs offers an Introductory Workshop and two six-week playgroups that do not need to be taken in any particular order, called Playgroup Zoom and Playgroup Boom. In fact, some folks may feel like one group is enough sign language for their family.
The Playgroup Zoom course includes basic mealtime, zoo and ocean animals, bedtime signs and more. The group offers an additional Playgroup Boom class that focuses on farm and domestic animals, bath time signs, and more. According to Happy Baby Signs, babies can begin signing as early as six months so I am using this time to practice, practice, practice the new-to-me language before I started actively using it with my baby.
Erin was a clear instructor and I especially enjoyed her teaching us the etymology of the signs that helped me remember them. Bill White did substitute teach one class and his instructional style was much more casual. My one complaint is that the accompanying instructional materials only included words; no pictures or online videos are produced by Happy Baby Signs to support the learning. The course materials did direct you to outside websites but searching those for your specific information can be time-consuming. My solution was to check out some baby sign language books with pictures from the library to use for practice.
Bottom line: I would take this class if you are serious about signing with your baby. Since baby sign language has proven to be an effective means of communication with your little one, why wouldn’t you want to learn it? The class will teach you a lot of tips and tricks, especially regional vocabulary, that cannot be learned through independent study.
Where to take baby sign language classes in the East Bay
Happy Baby Signs teaches classes in three 510 locations:
Then Comes Baby, Oakland
3657 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
1600 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 122, Berkeley, CA 94709
Enter from Cedar Street.
Walk up the breezeway to the right of Barney’s
Oakland Birth + Wellness Postpartum Group
5735 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609