ASL and Your Reading Program…

When learning a new developmental skill or a basic academic subject like reading, writing, or math, children have to first be able to focus or attend to what they are learning.  Helping children learn to pay attention and focus are important factors in school readiness.   Once they get to Kindergarten they will need these skills to learn.  Therefore, the question becomes how as early childhood educators and families can we help young children in developing their attention span?

It is important to understand the brain is a pattern seeking organ.  Therefore in order for young children to attend to their environment they have to be able to predict what will happen next, this is where daily routines are so important.  Creating morning routines or evening routines helps develop attention skills.

The brain also likes novelty; children will pay attention and gravitate towards new materials, toys, and centers/activities in their environment. Rotating toys and providing a variety of activities from time to time will help children develop skills to observe, attend, and will keep them in engaged.

At this point we like to use the vocabulary of American Sign Language (ASL) to keep children engaged. There are lots of signs you can use (while continuing to speak) to keep them involved with you, which also helps with the brain development. Signs like “apple”, “book”, “shoes”, “ball”, etc. A great resource we recommend is to find lots of ASL words and a visual on how the signs are made.

We also know from research by Abraham Maslow, that in order for children to focus they need to have their basic needs met.  Basic needs are things such as food, shelter, and feeling safe.  For instance, if a child comes to school without eating breakfast this child will have a harder time focusing and learning until lunch time.   Children also need to form bonds with the adults in their lives in order to have a sense of security and learn in their environment.  Activities such as giving a child a high-five, reading a story, singing, signing “I Love You!” and playing with the child leads to forming a strong bond.

The following videos will give you lots of ideas on how to incorporate signs into your daily routines.

Other things we can do to support attention are:

  • Using sign language, such as using the word ‘focus’ to help children remember to pay attention
  • Reading stories, while highlighting words in ASL
  • Music and Movement  especially linking to following directions like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Helping children define boundaries by using “Brain Mats”
  • Keeping activities short than building up the time
  • Planning activities that are fun and engaging
  • Helping children learn strategies to focus by modeling, role playing, or discussing the best ways to focus and learn

Are you looking for even more activities to integrate ASL?  We have TONS.  Check out our teacher resource sites filled with wonderful ASL resources to use in your program, visit us at Teachers Pay Teachers.  Also, come join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Are you looking to learn more ASL?  Check out the Sprouting New Beginnings YouTube site and feel free to join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  Or find us on one of our teacher resource stores.  Please visit Teachers Pay Teachers and have fun incorporating ASL into your reading program!

We love sharing the gift of ASL with others.

Happy Signing II



Creating a Language Rich Environment

Have you been waiting to see what our April giveaway will be?  Well, wait no more.  Our focus this month is on creating a language rich environment.  As ECE professionals we strive to provide the best environment for our young learners.  Creating spaces that support their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. But how do we use the environment to also help support language development?

Sprouting New Beginnings intentionally infuse ASL into daily routines, literacy activities, and even math.  But we also love to label our classrooms using ASL to support language and literacy development in young children.  

At first, when we began this journey there wasn’t a resource readily available for us to do this in the manner we were looking for.  So, we created our Classroom Labels.   We created labels that display the word of the object in English and in ASL along with an icon that matches the object for our youngest ‘readers.’  We quickly found this to be a highly beneficial addition to our classrooms as well as a wonderful tool to create various learning resources such as; matching games, puzzles, and cards for classifying and sorting games.

Labeling our classroom had other benefits as well.  It provided another opportunity for a child-directed approach to learning.  As we know, children learn best through child-guided activities, where the children are free to explore materials and acquire skills through their own experiences.  Labeling the classroom with our ASL Classroom Labels provided a support tool for children to explore the materials while building their vocabulary.  Basically, it was a win-win for everyone.  PLUS, our classroom was filled with rich vocabulary and visual literacy to support all learners.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to explore our ASL Classroom Labels, this is the month to do so since we are giving you a copy of our ASL Classroom Labels Volume 2 free, which is normally a paid resource.  So grab this resource today and don’t forget to add ASL Classroom Labels Volume 1 and 3 to round out the 300-word resource.  You can download them free from our TpT store.

Want more? Check out our many other resources at our online store at Teachers Pay Teachers and have fun incorporating ASL into your program!

1, 2, 3 Let’s have FUN with Numbers and ASL!

We all know what a great tool American Sign Language (ASL) is with supporting language and reading, but what about math skills?  1,2,3 so let’s have some fun using ASL with numbers!

ASL is fantastic for supporting children’s math and numeracy development. Integrating ASL into your math program supports development with identifying numbers, counting, sequencing, and matching.  

Research suggest that labeling numbers and letters using ASL finger spelling is beneficial for all styles of learners and stimulates and increases brain growth by strengthening connections and enhancing memory storage. Research has identified that all languages are coded and stored in distinct memory stores of the brain. When integrating ASL with the spoken and written word you are helping the children you work with create multiple storage areas.  This built-in redundancy of knowledge establishes multiple places for children to retrieve the information, therefore, enhancing their knowledge and skills.  

We recommend integrating ASL into your math program by incorporating it into activities like:

  • Rote counting
  • Link the numbers cards in order making a train
  • Identify the correct amount of objects to match the written number.
  • Sign the number as you say the number
  • Sign and spell the number using finger spelling
  • Sing number songs using ASL

Sprouting New Beginnings has wonderful resources integrating ASL and math so we would like to share one with you this month.  Linking Number & Words with ASL

Last but not least, is to remember as you are integrating a new ASL skill with your children don’t forget the four most important things:

Be Consistent


Repeat, Repeat, Repeat


Model, Model, Model – even use ASL with other adults, show the children what you want from them and that this is a natural way of communicating


Above all, have FUN!


Want more? Check out one of our resource stores at Teachers Pay Teachers and have fun incorporating ASL into your math program!

Nursery Rhymes and Signing with ASL

Integrating Nursery Rhymes into your literacy program is a great way to support the brain with patterns and rhyming, which enhances children’s memory capacity.  As a college professor, I am privileged to work with wonderful individuals working in early childhood.  During class sessions, we have fantastic discussions about child development, developmentally appropriate practices, and how to help children with challenging behaviors. My students are hungry for information and knowledge that will enhance their abilities and skills as teachers.  

ASL Word Card

One strategy that we always talk about time and time again is using American Sign Language (ASL).  This incredibly versatile tool promotes language and communication skills, as well as social-emotional skills.  PLUS, when you integrate it into songs, nursery rhymes, and stories you are supporting early literacy skills. Supporting early literacy skills in early child care provides children with a strong foundation to be lifelong learners and we all know the power of nursery rhymes and their benefits for developing phonological awareness and exposing children to the rhythm of language.  Enhancing children’s memory capacity supports their working memory which in turn supports them in holding information long term as well as supports them in learning concepts like math and reading.

Nursery RhymesDid you know nursery rhymes are also great for other cognitive abilities like sequencing?  Since nursery rhymes have a beginning, middle, and end that can be recalled with ease they support the developmental skill of sequencing which in turn supports math skills. BUT wait, they are also excellent for physical development.  Reciting nursery rhymes gives the oral muscles a workout.
PLUS, having children act them out and integrating ASL gets their whole bodies involved.   It is no wonder we love integrating ASL and nursery rhymes into early child care programs.  Finding tools and resources that support the whole child, every child, like nursery rhymes and ASL create intentional and meaningful experiences for children.  Which supports the love of learning for young children.  

Starting this month we are going to provide you samples of our popular ASL resources… so this month we would like to give you a sample of Nursery Rhymes for Signing. This Three Nursery Rhymes for Signing Sample includes Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Hey Diddle, Diddle.  We hope you enjoy our newest resource and for a full version, visit our TPT store to get our Nursery Rhymes for Signing and don’t forget about our other popular resource, Songs for Signing too… this is another great tool for any classroom.

Remember as you are integrating ASL the four most important things to remember are:

1. Be Consistent
2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
3. Model, Model, Model – even use ASL with other adults, show the children what you want from them and that this is a natural way of communicating
4. Above all, have FUN!

Want more?  Check out the Sprouting New Beginnings YouTube site and feel free to join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. We love sharing the gift of ASL with others.

Happy Signing II

Ringing in the New Year!

Happy New Year 2017!

As we ring in the New Year and consider what 2017 holds for us we want to take a moment to thank each and everyone one of you for your involvement with us.  We are truly blessed to a part of your lives and have you a part of ours.  

In this blog, we want to discuss supporting young children with setting goals and practicing self-help skills. 

Supporting Young Children with Setting Goals

It is important to expose young children to the idea of setting goals for themselves.  Then discussing and planning with young children how they may reach the goal they set.   The New Year and talking about New Year Resolutions is a great way to introduce this idea of goal setting in the classroom or as a family in the home.  It is important to model first for selecting a goal for yourself and discussing with the children how you are planning to achieve that goal.   Is it a goal that will take some time to achieve or is it a goal that will take no time at all to achieve?  What do you need to achieve this goal?   We have created a free chart to help you with brainstorming storm ideas for goals with the children.  My New Years Resolution Template

Then have the children individual draw and write what their News Resolution maybe on a paper titled: My New Year’s Resolution and completes the sentence My New Year’s Resolution is …

For families,  you can create a New Year’s Resolution tree and have each family member write or draw their own New Year’s Resolution to hang on the tree.   You may also want to discuss goals for the family to work towards together compared to goals just for each member of the family. 

HelpPracticing Self-Help Skills and Introducing New Signs

The weather is finally changing and it is time for our winter jackets, mittens, and hats.  This wonderful opportunity to teach the signs for clothes and having young children practice self-help skills that lead to developing fine motor skills such as:

  • Zipping
  • Buttoning
  • Dressing ourselves to keep warm

It is also fun to take pictures of your little ones in their winter clothes and create a book or use for a bulletin board display don’t forget to label with sign language and use the Help sign to ask if they do need help.

Top 10 Winter Activities for Families 

  • Cuddle and read under a warm blanket or near a cozy fire.
  • Make hot chocolate, don’t forget the marshmallows.
  • Go up north and play in the snow.
  • Create a snowman using construction paper and other materials.
  • Make a paper snowflake.
  • Make a valentine for someone special.
  • Have a family game night.
  • Bake some warm, delicious cookies
  • Pop some popcorn and gather the together for a fun family movie night.
  • Build a fort inside with blankets and pillows. 

Don’t forget to use some fun Winter signs too when doing the above activities:Love

  • Winter
  • Cold
  • Cookie
  • Snow
  • Coat
  • Shoes
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Mitten
  • Love
  • Fun

Happy Signing II





Still looking for more for your classroom or home?   We have created lots of helpful resources for you. Visit one of our stores at Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher’s Notebook.  Also, come join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Winter Wonder and the Holidays

One of our favorite blogs was from a few years back and since we haven’t had a lot of time to post this year, we wanted to bring back some of the fun. 

No matter what you celebrate this time of year is always magical! The wonder of it all delights children (young and old) everywhere! During this time of the year we hear about the different traditions of the holidays but few know the meaning of them all, so we compiled a list of the most popular for you and we hope you will share with your family, friends and classrooms!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice!


hanukkahHanukkah this year starts on December 24th, the eight-day festival of light, which celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, and of spirituality over materiality. We found this really fun story about the miracle of Eight Nights of Hanukkah we would love to share. If you’re Jewish or not it is a fun way to learn out about the tradition and share it with your children. The Story of Hanukkah

Also, if you are an “Elf on the Shelf” fan but you are Jewish, you will love “Mensch on the Bench”!  It was created by Neal Hoffman and the story goes a few years back that one day his son, Jacob saw the “Elf on the Shelf” and asked his dad if he could get one.  Hoffman jokingly replied, “Dude, we’re Jewish. You can’t have an elf on a shelf but you can have a menschen on a bench.”  On that day, Mosche, the mensch on the bench was born and is now available to delight all good Jewish children everywhere. Click here to find your own “Mensch on the Bench“.

The following week is Christmas on December 25th and most of us already know or have heard the story of Christmas, but of course we found this cute video as told by the children of St Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand to share with you. The Story of Christmas, Part I  It’s BRILLIANT! And to go along with it, The Story of Christmas, Part II  We hope you take the time and enjoy the fun!

Of course, Christmas also means Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply Santa! He is a figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins, who is said to bring gifts to good children on December 24th, the night before Christmas. However, in some European countries children receive their presents on St. Nicholas’ Day, December 6th. To read the official story of good ole’ St. Nick, enjoy the story from the St. Nicholas Center, it’s intriguing!

Unlike Hanukkah or Christmas, Kwanzaa is not religious by nature and the celebration, which is only a few decades-old, is widely unknown by most Americans. Whereas Christmas focuses upon Jesus, the central figure of the Christian religion, Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. but Kwanzaa, celebrates a people. 

Kwanzaa, which comes from a Swahili phrase, “matunda ya Kwanza,” which means “first fruits”. This is a holiday that is predicated upon ethnicity. Kwanzaa was never about replacing Christmas or Hanukkah, but has its roots in traditions from ancient African festivals that were celebrated at the end of December and beginning in January. It is estimated by some to be celebrated by over 2-million Americans and about 28-million world-wide. Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days to stress the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles and starts this year on December 26th through January 1st. This is to introduce and reaffirm communitarian values and practices that strengthen and celebrate family, community, and culture. For more about Kwanzaa, here is a link to the official website, Kwanzaa, A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture.

Winter Solstice
Officially, winter begins this year on Wednesday, December 21st at 10:44 UTC, which is the Winter Solstice here north of the equator. It is also the shortest day of the year for us, 9-hours and 32-minutes of daylight but the good news is that the days start to get longer starting on the next day!

For thousands of years it has been a significant day of celebration. Approximately around 3,200 BC in Ireland’s Boyne Valley, people constructed an ancient temple now known as Newgrange in Ireland. It was built 500-years before the Great Pyramids and more than 1,000-years before Stonehenge.  One of the first places to mark the Winter Solstice, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the chamber. It will last for 17-minutes and like in ancient times, people still today wait in the pitch-dark room for the illumination to occur on Winter Solstice.


We were lucky to visit one year and although not near the Winter Solstice, they did have a lighting to simulate the event. It was mind-blowing to think of the math and engineering feat that was done 5,000-years ago, to accomplish this event.

Pagans celebrated the solstice and it is still celebrated around the world in many places today. It was once celebrated at the Intihuatana Stone at Machu Picchu and in ancient Pakistan, the Kalash Kafir celebrated Chamos.  In Rome, the midwinter feast of Saturnalia fell at the time of the Winter Solstice and the Chinese celebrated Dongzhi to mark the time.  Christians saw some significance in the celebration of light and in rebirth, which was marked by the start of a new year and in Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul celebrated on Winter Solstice by lighting of fires, which symbolized the heat, light and life-giving properties of the sun. The word “Juul” is the source of the word “Yule”, which means Christmas as explained at

Last but not least, we have to recommend you a few ASL signs for the Winter seasons for you to use.  As always, the best way to learn the sign is to go to our favorite ASL website, done in video at aslpro.

Winter Signs:

  • Winter
  • Cold
  • Idea
  • Work
  • Family
  • Year
  • New
  • Snow
  • Coat
  • Shoes
  • Pants
  • Mitten
  • Love (one our favorites)


So to all of our friends, far and wide!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Winter Solstice!
Still looking for more?  Try integrating ASL into your learning centers or story time. We have created lots of helpful resources for you. Visit one of our stores at Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher’s Notebook.  We are having sales on all of our teacher sites starting on Thursday and running through this weekend too! Also, come join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  


Summer Planning Ahead

The other day I was speaking with one of my friends, another early childhood professional and we were talking about planning for next year and some the challenges she had been having last year with her class.  I asked her what strategies she has been using and she named about three really great ones.  However, she didn’t mention American Sign Language (ASL).

ASL is often overlooked as an early intervention strategy and teaching resource.  It is thought of as a wonderful way to support pre-verbal children learn to speak, but not as a way to support problem solving skills, self-help skills, social-emotional development and let’s not forget reading and math.  ASL is not just a great strategy for language development but it is also a wonderful strategy for encouraging positive behavior choices, helping children express their feelings in positive and healthy ways, and increase problem solving skills.

Not Just for Prevebal II

These ‘soft skills’ as many educators call them are essential for school and life success.  Take into consideration Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Children’s basic needs both physical and emotional need to be met in order for children to be able to learn.  The ability to learn and grow is in the upper tier of the hierarchy.  It is our jobs as parents and professionals to support these basic emotional needs.

Through my work with Sprouting New Beginnings, working with families and early childhood professionals we have found that ASL is a simple, effective, and fun strategy to support all areas of child development.

It supports the following domains:

  • Fine motor
  • Vision
  • Language development
  • Social/emotional development
  • Self-help/adaptive skills
  • Cognitive development

ASL supports the whole child, every child!  It is truly amazing that one gift from the deaf community can support so much in hearing children.  By simply adding 5 – 10 words in ASL into your classroom environment you will change your children forever.


If you haven’t embraced this gift and passed it on to the children in your life, then make it one of your professional development goals to learn how to use ASL in your program in 2016-2017 school year.

Sprouting New Beginnings has developed over 70 resources and we even wrote a book to support you in integrating ASL into your program and your work with young children.  We promise, this gift will change your life for the better. 

Over 12-years ago it was the greatest gift we ever gave to our own children.  The gift of communication!  Our bond is still strong.

So during the summer, check-out one of our resource stores, Teachers Pay Teachers or Syllabuy and have fun incorporating ASL into your reading program!  Remember we have over 70 different resources to help you with your summer planning and many of them are even FREE!

Are you looking to learn more ASL?  Check out the Sprouting New Beginnings YouTube site and feel free to join the fun and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. We love sharing the gift of ASL with others.

Happy Signing II

The Power of Play

Enjoy a fun format and learn about the Power of Play!

April Showers Brings…

April Showers Brings May Flowers!

This saying reminds us that the rain nurtures the flowers to help them grow and bloom, like we care and nurture our children to help them grow and develop.  April is wonderful month to celebrate children and the most important people in their lives. 

So we want to take this month to thank and celebrate the people who make a difference in the lives of children; both the families and teachers.  We but together some suggestions on how to celebrate through April.  At Sprouting New Beginnings, we love to bridge the family and classroom together, so we hope you can plan on taking a moment and doing something special for your families or for your teachers during this time. 

As a special note, we want to thank you for all you do for young children, you are truly a blessing and a treasure!

Classroom fun:

  • Host a young author’s night or afternoon tea.
  • Host a Family Night and have families create books with their children.
  • Have a parade!  Have children create banners, signs, and costumes and celebrate!  Everyone loves a parade!
  • Write a grant in honor of the children in your program.  Make your program even better by adding in new toys, outdoor toys, a sensory table, or entirely new playground.  Honor the children and the families that make your program special. 

Family fun:

  • Give a special gift to show appreciation for your child’s teacher or the teacher’s in your center.  Something handmade gift by your child will touch their heart and let them know they are truly treasured. 
  • Ask to sponsor a Spring Party and bring in cookies or cupcakes to the classroom. Everyone loves cupcakes!!

“Every child begins the world again.”  -Henry David Thoreau

April, is also Autism Awareness month and Child Abuse Prevention month   So please don’t forget to support these worthy causes!






Last but not least April is the time we celebrate the Week of the Young Child™, which is the annual celebration sponsored by NAEYC… so here are this year’s activities:

Music Monday!   April 11, 2016
Sing, dance, celebrate, and learn

Taco Tuesday   April 12, 2016
Healthy eating and fitness at home and school

Work Together Wednesday   April 13, 2016WeekYoungChild
Work together, build together, learn together

Artsy Thursday   April 14, 2016
Think, problem solve, create

Family Friday   April 15, 2016
Sharing family stories

Have some fun and let’s celebrate April!

Happy Signing II


ASL Brings the Language Alive


1. A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

We’re glad you’re part of our BLOG family. As you know Sprouting New Beginnings specializes on posting ideas on how to incorporate American Sign Language (ASL, which is a gift from the deaf) into your lives and programs.

ASL promotes school readiness and success by developing early communication, brain development and literacy… so thank you for being one of our peeps! We hope you help us pass on the message too!

So for today we would like to talk about the high correlation between vocabulary size at age three and reading test scores at age nine.

It is not surprising to know that ASL enhances early literacy skills by supporting oral language development and increasing vocabulary, spelling, and reading skills.  Through increase student engagement during story time and intentionally teaching vocabulary words using ASL, students have an increased opportunity to work with language and use it in a variety ways. 

Not Just for Prevebal II

Research shows that ASL enhances pre-literacy skills and helps build the bridge of communication with pre-verbal children.  An effective intervention model for developing pre-literacy skills ASL is easily incorporated into all aspects of language development. 

We suggest using it during story time at home or in the classroom to highlight vocabulary words in the story, as well as to label, describe, and categorize words.Classroom LabelsSongs & Chants for Signing

Our philosophy is that using ASL as a strategy to support language development is beneficial not only for communication and literacy skills but also for all other learning domains; cognitive, motor, adaptive, social and emotional. 

ASL, being the third largest language in the United States, is easily incorporated into the daily routines of children.  It offers children the ability to build the bridge of communication with their caregivers while promoting a strong literacy foundation for their future.  Incorporating ASL into your daily home activities or literacy curriculum enhances children’s connections to language, reading, writing, and speaking.

Ultimately, it brings language a live!

Now for our commercial break…

A fun way to support oral language development is to using songs and chants.  This supports children developing their phonemic
awareness and introduces new vocabulary.  Children have fun playing with the language while building fine motor skills as they
sign, sing, and chant.  We’ve put together a collection of our favorite songs and chants for you. This can be found at one of our
teacher resource stores, please visit Teachers Pay Teachers and have fun incorporating ASL into your reading program!

TipFollow us on TpT to find all of our resources, plus we have regular sales for you to stock up on all those wonderful
resources we mention in our BLOG!  And bring your language alive!

Are you looking to learn more ASL?  Check out the Sprouting New Beginnings YouTube site and feel free to join the fun and
follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  We love sharing the gift of ASL with others.

Happy Signing II