VANCOUVER, B.C.—For the past 12 years, Signing Babies has offered classes for mothers and toddlers that incorporate beginning-level American Sign Language (ASL) with singing, rhyming and playing.

Founder and instructor Lee Ann Steyns describes herself as “a Vancouver mom who put my background as a preschool teacher, recreation centre class programmer, and parent of two together with my personal love of sign language.”

“I teach baby sign language classes for families because I feel passionately about how well sign language works, and how much successful communication affects the happiness of both little ones and their caregivers,” said founder Lee Ann Steyns.

On the Signing Babies website, Steyns explains that the inspiration behind the company began with her first daughter, who was a very loud, fussy baby before she could speak in English. Steyns decided it would be beneficial to find other ways of communication, and in 2003, Signing Babies was born.

When asked why teaching toddlers ASL is important and useful, regardless of whether or not they are Deaf of Hard of Hearing, Steyns says that “by always teaching signs while saying the words out loud, babies get to learn them both orally and visually, which augments the natural process of acquiring speech. Research also indicates that babies who have learned sign language have larger oral vocabularies once in kindergarten.”

Signing Babies currently offers: Intro classes, Level 2 classes and ABC’s classes at four different community centers throughout Vancouver.  Intro classes are aimed at babies ages 0-18 months, and teach new songs and rhymes along with beginning ASL each week. Level 2 classes are aimed at babies ages 0-30 months, and are designed for families with previous ASL experience.  ABC’s classes are aimed at babies aged 0-24 months, and will instruct them on how to finger spell and sign names and places.

The prices per class range from $39 to $105, depending on the level and whether or not it is a four-week or eight-week class. For more information regarding pricing and registering, you can visit the website here.  Those looking for one-one-one instruction, Steyns is also available to be booked for private lessons.