Thursday, April 07, 2016

Driven, purposeful & grateful...we like that!

WeeHands allows us to meet both parents and professionals who are incredible. Today, we get to highlight one of those professionals, Jacquelyn Ward, who is an Administrator at PleasanTime Child Care Center in Cambridge, Wisconsin.

Jacquelyn, where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Sun Prairie, WI . I lived in town and the privilege to walk or bike everywhere was super cool. Especially when I was old enough to go alone ( grocery store, dentist, doctor) school was just up the street so that was no big deal. I am the middle child and six total in our family. Having a older sister, younger sister and younger brother there was lots of sharing and occasion fighting. I was a shy, happy gal and enjoyed caring for my baby dolls and then caring for real children when I was older. I was always right by the side of my aunts when they cared for their little ones.

Describe what & how your work serves parents & families 

I am the Administrator/Owner of a group child care center serving children 6 weeks to 12 years, we are licensed for 84 children & opened our doors August 31, 1992. I have been in the Early Childhood field for over 30 years in which I wore many hats of assistant teacher, teacher , head teacher, assistant director and now Administrator /Owner.

What three words best describe how your work? 

Driven , Purposeful & Grateful


What's the biggest lesson learned you've learned

Maintain an attitude of gratitude and continue to be my best. To be extraordinary within the services that are provided to our clients and customers. Maintain the integrity of a program that provides memories that will be in the hearts of the children and families we touch for a lifetime. Be a life long learner by keeping up with reading,  maintaining  & creating connections and education( attending conferences or other training events).

What keeps you interested in what you do?

I feel truly blessed to do something that I feel purpose. I will receive a warm hug ( sometimes from the back . . . which is spontaneous and unexpected), hear my name for the 1st time by a young child learning to speak, or shouted as I enter the room. Also receiving a complement from a customer that PleasanTime Child Care Center, Inc.. is a perfect fit and the excitement of a great decision. This ripple effect of gratitude fills my bucket to overflowing.

The baby resource/product invented: 

Swaddle blanket, nuk both find the special calm for a child when crying. I am not truly impressed by all the noisy toys etc. I do believe the best part of caring for a baby is time spent holding, rocking, playing on the floor

Monday, December 07, 2015

Welcome to Katherine!

Welcome to one of our newest WeeHands Instructors...Katherine Fisher!
Katherine has more than five years’ experience as an Instructor Therapist. She studied Autism Behaviour Science at St. Lawrence College in 2008 and earned a B.A. in Social Sciences at the University of Lethbridge in 2004. Katherine has been studying American Sign Language since 2004.
Katherine's work with Morneau Shepell's Children's Support Solutions focuses on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her role she helps children with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn communication and other skills that help them become more independent. Her approach is to recognize each child is different and find a way to unlock their potential. 
Katherine comes from a family of teachers and scientists so this profession came naturally to her. She loves to play the guitar, watch old movies and cook vegan food. She also has a valuable ability to calm down upset young children. Katherine shares, "Helping parents tap into their baby’s capabilities not only exercises these mental pathways but reduces frustration for both the child and the caregivers. As WeeHands says, “Why wait to communicate?” Working with children who have autism, I have seen how augmentative communication opens a new world for them. I am so excited to have this opportunity to help all parents learn to connect and communicate with their little ones!"
For more information about Katherine's baby sign language classes for new parents in the Greater Toronto Area or for child care staff training information, call 1.866.653.2397 or email: childrensupportsolutions@morneaushepell.com

Monday, November 02, 2015

Welcome to Kayla!

Welcome to our newest Instructor, Kayla Brissette!
Kayla Brissette holds a graduate certificate as a Communicative Disorders Assistant from Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario as well as a Bachelor of Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has been working with children of all abilities since 2012 and has been studying American Sign Language since 2015. Kayla is excited to share her signing skills, and much more, with families in the community!
Morneau Shepell’s Children's Support Solutions helps children reach their full potential by providing accessible and trusted professional support for children who experience difficultly in development. We work in collaboration with families, childcare centres, preschools, daycare providers, and private and public schools. We listen to help identify individual issues and focus on facilitating development, and social and academic growth.
Do you have a group of moms who want to take a signing class but can’t find a location to suit your needs? You may be interested in hosting your own class! Just let us know! Call 416-229-0749 or email: torontofamilyrelations@morneaushepell.com

Friday, September 04, 2015

WeeHands in Peterborough

WeeHands classes are coming back to Peterborough, Ontario!

Robin Omdahl is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and has worked with preschool children of all abiliites since 1997. She also holds an American Sign Language Certificate from Sir Sandford Flemirg College. As a graduate of Loyalist College's Early Childhood Education program, Robin knows that a child's experiences in their first five years are critically important to their future success.  Robin is a kind and patient teacher who is excited to share her love of American Sign Language and early education with families in Peterborough.

Robin shares, "I have seen how early signing can help reduce a child's level of frustration when he/she is trying to communicate something but doesn't yet have the spoken vocabulary to articulate it. I want to be able to teach others how to enhance their communication with the children in their care."

Do you have a group of moms who want to take a signing class but can’t find a location to suit your needs? You may be interested in hosting your own class! Just let Robin know! Call 705-740-5443 or email: robin@weehands.com

Friday, August 07, 2015

WeeHands in Connecticut

Welcome to our newest, wonderful WeeHands baby sign language Instructor, Amy Anderson Moncy!

Amy Anderson Moncy is a speech language pathologist who holds a Doctorate in Speech Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University as well as a Master of Science (M.S.), Speech-Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia. 

Amy shares, "I currently work as a speech language pathologist in an early childhood magnet school. I began using sign language at church in children songs and have incorporated signing into my practice in speech pathology. I've seen how a little one signing "more" has made such a big difference in their interaction with parent. I'm excited about WeeHands and the opportunity to help children and parents share special moments together."

For more information about Amy's baby sign language classes in New London, CT visit her webpage: http://www.weehands.com/profile.php?id=300 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Top Signs to Use with Your Baby

Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting times of your life. Those first few years can be some of the most overwhelming times as well. Your baby is learning all about the world and all that it has to offer, while you are trying to figure out this thing called “parenting”. 

Baby sign language is something that you've heard about and you are thinking about trying it. By adding key signs to the spoken words that you are saying to your baby, you can give her a way of understanding and communicating about her world. Her first signs will most likely come before her first spoken words...much earlier!

You may see things in a whole new light as you teach your baby that she can use her hands to communicate as well as sounds, and eventually spoken words. Signing with your baby can be an incredible experience when you see your baby learn about everything as she sees, feels and experiences things for the very first time. To get started all you need are a few basic American Sign Language signs.

Which signs should you start with? How many signs should you use? Keep in mind that signing with your baby should be fun and that we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. You'll want to start with a handful of signs to use get you and your baby on the way to communicate clearly with each other. Start with about 3-5 signs and then add more as you get more comfortable and as your baby’s interests grow. 

Which Signs Should We Start With?

One of the first baby sign language books published recommended starting with only 3 signs to use with your baby: "milk", "more" and "eat".  Joseph Garcia in his book, Sign with your Baby, suggested that parents start with these three signs and add more when their baby is using these three. 

Depending on how sleep deprived you are, I believe you can start with more than that. My son's first sign was not on the list - his first sign was "fish". It was something that very motivating to him - he loved "goldfish" (the swimming sort, not the cracker. Now I suggest that parents add the sign for "finish" to the above list - it's a powerful one - and  a sign (or signs) for something that is really motivating to your baby, for example, "fish" or "dog".



This list of 5 American Sign Language (ASL) signs can be some of the most effective words you want to start with and emphasize for your baby. The signs for "milk", "eat" and for example, "dog" will represent items that your baby will typically want and be interested in, while "more" and "finished" are very powerful signs. Items of interest and the vocabulary to control their environment gives your baby some very powerful communication tools. 

When you can, say the word as you sign it to your baby. Make it natural through the day...when you say "milk", show your baby the sign. Don't worry about overwhelming your baby, you won't.  As you can more comfortable signing and saying the word, you can add more signs as your confidence grows and as your baby's interests grow.

Be Consistent As Possible

When you are interacting with your baby, sign and talk with your baby. Try to show your baby a sign for what is occurring before, during and after the activity. Before you give your baby milk, sign and say "milk". While your baby is drinking milk, sign and say "milk". After your baby is finished drinking milk, sign and say "milk finished". 


Be patient with your baby. You'll be doing this over and over again. Be patient with yourself. There will be times you'll forget to sign, that's okay. There may be times during your first year with baby, you'll be tired to speak. Try not to be hard on yourself. You are doing a great job!  You may find out "Signs to Start With" handout may be helpful to help you understand how a sign is made. You can get this handout by signing up for our e-newsletter here

Signs to Start With

Our "Signs to Start With" handout or poster shows you eight (8) American Sign Language signs to use with your paper and is available as a PDF for all our e-newsletter subscribers. I recommend that you print out a few copies. Post one on your fridge so that everyone at home can learn the signs. Post one on the wall above your baby's change table to remind to sign during changing time and post one on the wall behind your baby's high chair. This way you'll see the signs when during baby's mealtime and the poster will remind you to sign with your baby!


Have you printed your copy of our "Signs to Start With" poster? Where have you posted it in your house?

Since 2001, WeeHands has been an industry-leading children's sign language and language development program delivered through interactive, fun classes, as well as a line of tailored products. In 2014, WeeHands became part of Morneau Shepell’s Children's Support Solutions, an organization that provides health-centered and educational services to children with differences to help them reach their potential.