Joe and Juliet. Feb 06
Hi! I'm Juliet Frankel, founder of Little Monkey Signers.
I'm a new mum (to Joe) and, after maternity leave, have recently returned to work part-time as a qualified Teacher of the Deaf. I have 14 years experience of teaching both hearing and deaf children; and have an Advanced (Stage 3) Certificate in British Sign Language.
As teenagers my sister & I founded a highly successful
Children's Party Entertaining business which ran for eight years and several hundred parties. Over the years I have run children's play schemes, drama workshops and written, produced and directed a signed play for deaf and hearing children to perform to a public audience
I'll never forget the moment I fell in love with signing. I was a teenager and had just seen the film 'Children of a Lesser God'. I was mesmerised and could feel my hands tingling with excitement. The words 'I've got to have that language' were galloping through my head.
After university, I trained to became a primary teacher in a large, mainstream school in London. Most of my pupils spoke English as a second language. I soon realised that the signs I'd learnt during voluntary work gave me a secret weapon with these rowdy and challenging pupils. The children did not respond well to a raised voice but were captivated (as I had been) with sign. They would fall silent, then respond to the instructions being signed to them. At least, most of the time!
I went on to become a Teacher of the Deaf; teaching profoundly deaf children who use British Sign Language (BSL) as a first language. At last I was immersed in the signing world and had the opportunity to work alongside deaf colleagues. I not only developed my sign skills to a high level but also my understanding of deaf culture.
Some years later, I was fascinated to learn of a new craze sweeping America. Baby signing - being used with hearing babies. I was aware that deaf babies born to deaf signing parents developed signed communication ahead of their hearing peers in families that used speech. But hearing babies? I was so excited about it that I knew I would try sign with my own baby one day !
With the birth of my son Joe, sign language is now part of our family life. Although he is only using a couple of signs at this stage, his recognition of signs is growing fast and the sheer delight when his dad and I sign to him is clear. It's wonderful to think that before too long Joe will be able to express himself and tell me what he wants, eg. when he's thirsty, or tired, or that he wants a story, or to play, or what he is looking at, etc.Baby signing will help him make sense of his new, expanding and exciting world.
Starting up Little Monkey Signers is part of a natural progression for me. Now I can share two of my greatest passions with you - sign and babies. Combining my experience of signing, teaching, party entertaining, theatre, and of course being a Mum, I will provide you with a unique, high quality, high-energy and fun learning experience!
All the ingredients packed into Little Monkey Signers have been tried and tested by Joe (our very own little monkey and the inspiration for all this!) - sign, song, dance, puppets, stories, rhymes - he loves them all, and I'm confident so will your little one!
Signing "CAT" to Joe