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Baby signing - would you want nursery to collaborate?

(20 Posts)
mamiguay Wed 27-Aug-08 11:58:15

I started off with wonderful intentions re. teaching my (now 16mo) ds to sign that went the way of many pre-baby plans.. in the end we very half heartedly, and only when we remembered, did a few.

He now signs water/drink, more, all done, butterfly (his own made up sign) and aeroplane (less frequently). Not a genius by any stretch but we find the first 3 at least are an amazing help and he always looks so pleased that we have understood him.

Dh told the nursery his 3 main signs (the first 3 above) and he said they were pretty unbelieving and dismissive. I know I can't make them do anything but I would hope they would take advantage of this, him telling them when he wants a drink etc.

What do you think? Should I mention it again and ask them to please try and be aware? Or is that expecting too much and I should just accept that it is something we do at home?

Anna8888 Wed 27-Aug-08 11:59:59

I don't think you can expect a nursery or any other form of childcare to engage in signing with a baby.

mamiguay Wed 27-Aug-08 12:05:02

but I wouldn't even ask them to use the signs, just be aware that when he uses them he is trying to communicate something to them. I have a feeling everyone is going to think that's asking an awful lot but I can't help thinking it really isn't??

I mean if he was verbal and said 'Drink' I would also have to explain to them that it means 'bebida' (spanish nursery) and I think I would be within my rights to expect them to understand his attempt to communicate. No?

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 27-Aug-08 12:06:18

I started baby signing with ds1. Then I realised that it would only work if he was just with me, or other baby signing adults all the time.
Staff at our nursery have enough to do without learning signs - the staff change, there are several there each day. Would everyone of them be expected to learn a sign for a word which at 16m your child will be learning to say out loud now anyway?

In my experience signing is something you do at home with a pfb. And I should know - we never had time to even think about it with ds2 - and his needs didn't go unmet just because he couldn't sign - we just took the time to understand his own ways of communicating.

And you say yourself that you only did it half heartedly - so why should other people make the effort to do something that you couldn't really be bothered to do yourself? Theres only really one sign you've mentioned that he would ever need to use at nursery. (just being honest!) Ime the nursery staff are pretty good at working out what a child wants.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Wed 27-Aug-08 12:08:43

Flibberty not all 16 moth olds, in fact ew will be able to say those things out loud, at least not in a way that's recognisable.

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 27-Aug-08 12:10:58

You think you would be within your rights to expect nursery staff to be bi-lingual just for your child?

Oh my goodness I am lost for words. or suitable emoticons.

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 27-Aug-08 12:12:47

I didn't say he could, I said he will be learning to. But then the op said he will be saying it in the wrong language and I realise I have stepped on to a thread that may explode so I'm logging on to my work stuff now.

Anna8888 Wed 27-Aug-08 12:14:09

All you can expect of a nursery is to converse with your child in the language of that nursery.

MmeLindt Wed 27-Aug-08 12:17:39

I don't think that you can expect them to use and learn signing for your DS, they do have a lot of other children in their care and signing is not really a priority.

I would not expect the nursery to become bilingual for my bilingual DCs but I would expect them to at least understand basic needs of a 16mo old child. My DD spoke more English than German when she started kindergarten here but the teachers were very good at understanding her needs.

sitdownpleasegeorge Wed 27-Aug-08 12:19:58

Surely at 16 months old it's not worth persisting with getting nursery on board as your child will be able to say a few words soon and if his needs are met in response to his verbal efforts it will encourage him to expand and improve in this area.

both ds1 and ds2 could ask for a drink/more or biscuit or indicate nappy discomfort at about that age.

Romy7 Wed 27-Aug-08 12:24:56

i did expect dd2's keyworker to learn makaton, but she has spastic quad cp and was thought unlikely to ever become verbal. if parents each teach their child a different version of sign, would the staff have to know each individual child's version? grin i have no idea whether it is a different system in babysign for diff countries, clearly we have BSL and a few different approaches in UK alone...

i do understand that you are concerned that the nursery may not instinctively pick up on your ds's first language, but what a wonderful opportunity for him to learn right from the start in another language. they will work out if he is thirsty, i'm sure! i'm assuming you are fluent in spanish, so will be able to understand all of his new words at home, so i think babysign might be a step too far tbh, but only my personal opinion.

Hulababy Wed 27-Aug-08 12:33:32

I expected to come and this thread and think you were being unreasonable. Yes, it would be lovely if nurseries used sign as well, but reality is that most don't.

However, as it is only 3 signs, and they would be to the advantage of the nursery workers, I do think they should give it ago and see how it works for them. To me it is no different to suggesting to them that your child has a certain routine or a certain comforter - which many nurseries ask for when starting. I would have thought the staff would be happy to know a way in which to ommunicate with your child, especially as those signs are likely to be pretty useful to them.

I'd mention it again and say that whilst you don't expect them to use signng with him, that they should be aware of those 3 main signs as it will stop your Ds becoming frustrated at nursery if he can't be understood. Make it sound as if it is all to their advantage.

But as others have said. Chances are that your DS will be able to say those main words/phrases very soon anyway, assuming no other problems, so ay not be worth making any fuss over in the end, especially if they seem reluctant.

SazzlesA Wed 27-Aug-08 12:44:59

Message withdrawn

mamiguay Thu 28-Aug-08 08:29:50

Thanks for the feedback. tbh I'm not really one to make a big deal out of anything anyway and at any rate dh is the main point of contact for the nursery so no matter what I think it's really up to him to decide if he wishes to pursue it. Which he probably won't.

I think a couple of posters are being deliberately obtuse. I am not expecting nursery staff to learn baby signing, nor be bilingual. He will be trilingual anyway and a lot of what I have heard has lead me to believe that he may (MAY, I said, MAY) have slightly delayed speech because of this. At 16mo he makes lots of sounds but nothing intelligible or consistent with relation to a specific action or object. He may suddenly take off but tbh I know he'll get there in his own time and am fully expecting it to be a while. In which case all the better to make the most of whatever mode of communication comes first to him, imho.

I just thought that they might be interested to be given a hint as to what he might be trying to say, as Hulababy and Sazzles have said, how is it different to remembering anything else that helps them look after each child? IF they happened to catch him doing the sign, they would at least know what it meant, it really would be to their advantage. And it is only really 3 signs, it's not like I've handed them a baby signing book.

And I imagine he will naturally speak spanish or catalan to them anyway so it's not much an issue, more a point of principle, but if he did say 'drink' and I had explained to them he was trying to tell them he was thirsty, that they would take that on board. Obviously they would then respond 'quieres agua?' o 'vols aigua?' which reinforces the nursery's languages.

Always interesting to see the many different angles that the same subject can be seen from though smile

BarbaraWoodlouse Thu 28-Aug-08 08:40:55

In fact we had the opposite issue where DD's nursery taught her to sign independently.

We did know this (although sometimes wondered if "signing" and "singing" were getting mixed up in her daily report wink) but as we didn't get any info as to what they were teaching her poor DD was signing "milk" at home for weeks before we twigged what was going on.

FWIW I don't think that what you are asking is unreasonable. As I see it you're just saying "if DS does this, then this is what he needs" in the same way as you might describe other non-signing cues. You say that the nursery staff seemed unbelieving - is baby signing possibly just less common concept where you are?

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Aug-08 09:19:23

Don't see how it's any different to telling the nursery staff that if he suddenly starts cuddling his toy dog then it means he's ready for a nap. Behavioural cues that indicate a need.
Some people like to OP-jump.

TotalChaos Thu 28-Aug-08 09:22:35

I wouldn't expect nursery to actively sign to your baby, but I would expect them to show some interest in the sort of gestures a non-verbal child would use to make basic requests.

allthatglitters Thu 28-Aug-08 19:30:48

I tell my child's nursery the little things he does that mean he's ready for a sleep (ok, so in our case that is biting your shoulder when he cuddles you hmm) and they take note of them and react accordingly. Tbh I think that this is going to be another one of those little niggles, like when you first looked round at nurseries and it wasn't what you expected, I think it might just be a difference in the culture of nurseries in UK/Spain.

And ds2 isn't saying anything other than my brother's name, and hot, (which are the very similar sounds anyway!), so I don't think your ds is particularly slow smile

teabreakgirl Fri 29-Aug-08 13:02:10

God some people feel really strongly about this. I do baby signing with my ds2 who is 1. Hes also going to be bilingual french and english. There has been no problem so far. He signs what he wants and it really helped us. I told the nursery a couple of the important signs like 'milk' 'more' 'finished'. I wouldnt say its anything to stress about. They will understand him anyway. But I personally would want my childs carer to be INTERESTED in his/her development. You are NOT asking them to be bilingual just to pay attention to your childs communication skills. If it works it can actually be much quicker to communicate.

cockles Fri 29-Aug-08 13:18:01

I dont' think it's a bad idea at all. I would give them a poster/handout with signs on in case they're interested - our nursery has one up.

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