The Girlfriends for Life

In 1994 I entered Bible college at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. It was a small school and other than my few church friends I didn’t know many people. I think I was like most college students. I was so super excited, and breathtakingly terrified all at the same time. My friends Stacy, Susan, and I quickly connected with a few girls and soon we all became inseparable. By year’s end we were dubbed the Bobbies and as they say, the rest is history.

I could blog for hours about the insane things we did. I could fill volumes about the late night tear and laughter sessions. A library couldn’t hold the stories of the boys and the late night study sessions. However, although those memories matter, it’s not the core of our being.

That was 20 years ago that we celebrated our first Christmas. For the last several years we have been diligent to get together every year over the holidays at some point. In the last several years we have been married, divorced, had babies, changed careers and reinvented ourselves. We are rapidly approaching forty and yet when we are all together I for a moment get to be 18 all over again!

This past week we had our annual dinner and I have to say that my heart was the most filled with joy it has ever been. We had an amazing night and we laughed for hours, however the joy came from a different place. In this moment I realized that these are my people. These women are my call when the world falls apart, who I call when I want to celebrate, when I need to vent, and when I need the truth posse’. These women, the core of who God has called me to be have a 20 year history of speaking truth, joy, peace, and authenticity in my life. All of them are strong and bold. Each of them hold values that I pray my children grow and bloom into.

Reflection on this 20 year bond has led me to truly think about what makes a friendship last for years and stand the test of time. Truly for us, I see this as our ingredients for success, and the recipe for life giving joy.

First common we all share is that faith rules our hearts. We all believe in Christ as God’s son and our one true savior. We are prayer warriors for one another. Petitioning on the behalf of each other with truth, diligence, and faith.

Next,we have a heart of acceptance. Friends, I am here to tell you that our personalities stream of the high school cheer leader to the guitar playing in the park hippie. We have different views, different lifestyles, and different expectations for life. However, we care about each other and agree to disagree on the details and focus on the commonalities of the greater good.

We laugh! I mean gut busting, side splitting joy! As a group we find joy and laughter in the most mundane, in the terrifyingly serious, and in the heart break. We as a group can laugh at any situation, specifically our expertise is laughing at ourselves and carrying joy through our days together.

Finally, we have spirits of authenticity. There is no fluff in our relationship. I know these ladies speak truth in my life, and I do in theirs. I know that I can count on them to lovingly keep me from jumping off a ledge. They each have complete faith that the others know their hearts and will always be there. We don’t talk frequently yet we pick right back up when we join together again.

So, here’s to the Bobbies, these power players in the life that I call my own. May you forever know that you ladies are the silver lining in my new normal. May we never forget that God created this group and these friendships to lift us when the world gets us down!

Announcing Our Summer Sing & Sign Workshops!

Sing and Sign Workshops

Join us every Monday June 16 – July 7 at 10am for our 1-hour beginner American Sign Language (ASL) language training workshop for parents, childcare professionals, grandparents or nannies.

*Fun learning of ASL through songs, stories and games

*Children learn to sign age appropriate songs

Participants learn to sign and sing age appropriate songs. Learning ASL signs is made easier and more fun using music and games. Our workshop is $100 per 4-week session and includes $35 worth of DVD and learning guide materials, a weekly craft, and 150 different signs. Siblings get a 25% discount per child with one set of materials.

Benefits of Signing with Children:Signing with children enhances all children’s learning and communication abilities. When children learn a second language early in life, it makes learning additional languages easier. Signing has been proven to enhance fine motor coordination, reading skills and writing skills. It enables infants to communicate their pre-verbal wants and needs. It’s a fun activity that brings you and your child closer together. Programs are tailored for your child’s age group.

For more info and to sign up please contact Beth Wyatt by phone at 859-338-4905 or send her an email at bwyatt@timetosign.com. Visit our website at http://www.timetosign.com.

* Workshops will be held in Paris, KY. Specific locations TBA. 

Helping Children with Autism and Spreading Awareness

April is Autism Awareness MonthPiercing pain from the sounds of children banging blocks, overwhelming, and distracting anxiousness from the amount of new people in the room and the inability to filter the voice of a teacher from the drip of the classroom sink.  These are true, and strikingly real perceptions from a person dealing with Autism.  April is Autism Awareness Month and I am shocked at the staggering statistics about it’s profound affect on our children.  Last month it was released that as many as 1 in 61 children will be diagnosed with Autism this year.  This month make a conscious effort toward acceptance.  This is not a path any parent would choose for their child.  However, with acceptance, love, training, and help every adult can help the childhood of these children progress to a level previously unheard of.  New therapies are allowing children and adults with Autism to smooth some of the rough edges in social life and begin to live again.

One such therapy for the early childhood setting is the use of American Sign Language (ASL).  Using ASL in the classroom lowers the noise level in the classroom, and allows for a visual and verbal means of communication.  Both of these make is easier for these children to filter out the distractions and communicate freely.  When ASL is used it simply levels the communication playing field.  As typical peers see their friends with Autism find a way to understand them without conflict then the level of acceptance is increased and children begin to grow, talk, share, and communicate.

ASL is also one of the best comprehension aids available in the toolbox of a teacher.  As a classroom teacher when I used ASL to reinforce literacy activities I saw a huge increase in my students ability to retell and apply the facts in a story.  ASL was also my greatest tool in teaching spelling words to each of my children regardless of ability.  Learning to fingerspell their names and common words they needed to spell became our greatest accomplishment in emergent reading.

April is Autism Awareness Month and Time to Sign has a new book released in November titled “EVERYONE CAN SIGN: Autism” I encourage you to contact me at bwyatt@timetosign.com and learn more about this resource including a training DVD great for parents and teachers.

Calling All Teachers! Join Us for 2 Workshops and Earn In-Service Credits

Calling All Teachers! Join Us for 2 Workshops and Earn In-Service CreditsRecently I walked into a classroom for young children and sat on the floor while I watched them play at different centers in their classroom.  Immediately the teacher began justifying their play to me. Kudos to her for defending her practices, and shame on us as consultants for making her feel like she needed to justify.

Play is one of the most important aspects of child development.  Through play with their peers children develop all the essential skills they need for reasoning and human interaction.  As our children play with peers they learn to share, to create, to cooperate, and to dream.  Through play they develop amazing motor skill in both the large and fine motor arenas.

The importance to play is a huge part of each of our trainings.  Especially with the S.E.A.L. program focusing on the Social Emotional Academic Learning of our children.  Our training helps educators plan for play in a way that is developmentally appropriate.

Our next large training is coming up! Here’s all the details and information you need below! We hope to see you there!

Calling All Teachers! Join us for 2 workshops and earn in-service credits on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Florence Branch Library (7424 US 42, Florence, KY 41042)

If you are interested in learning sign language to teach the children in your  programs or you just want to brush up your signing skills with age appropriate signs to teach children, then come join us on Saturday mornings as we cover an hour of sign language; learning everything from animals, colors, shapes, foods, emotions, manners, and much more along with songs and activities to use in the classroom with the children.

Just $25 per class! You can also register by phone at 859-338-4905 or fax form to 321-726-9467 or you can email us at bwyatt@timetosign.com
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Bringing American Sign Language into Elementary Classrooms

the importance of american sign language in elementary classroomsPicture it, a newly trained teacher has her classroom prepared for incoming children.  She has created picturesque bulletin boards, learning centers are brilliantly organized, and the scent of newly sharpened pencils wafts through the air.  This teacher has high expectations, not only for herself, but for the children she will soon encounter.  The first year of teaching holds immense joy, anxiety, excitement, and honestly great moments of defeat.  Unfortunately nothing in our training as we progress truly has the ability to prepare for some things.  There’s the child who is overwhelmed by his first experience with peers, the child who has never left mom’s side, the little girl whose best friend has been an “I” something since she was big enough to hold it, and the little guy’s whose family is crumbing around him taking his security with it.

I always loved the first day of school, I also learned to have mixed emotions! Some things in life, no matter how trained me are, simply require experience.  Thus this is the importance for updated training and development.  I specifically remember after teaching for a couple of years in early childhood, having a few students that I simply felt unequipped to properly help.  I didn’t seem to be able to reach their need and we were all frustrated.  Honestly I was also not a fan of professional development.  So many people teaching, training, and talking about matters that I felt did not relate to my situation.  Until I attended a Time to Sign, Inc. training.  That my friends was the turning point in my classroom.

I watched this five foot nothing dynamo take over the front of the room and the two hours seemed like two minutes.  I feverishly took notes, tried to remember, tried to absorb it all.  The following week I implemented her strategies for using American Sign Language in the classroom and my world changed! These little people who struggled with so very many basic skills and concepts such as colors began to blossom.  Children who had struggled to appropriately express emotion began to cooperatively play with their peers.  Most impacting me personally was my new ability to see past behavior and make eye contact with each child in my world!  Talk about revolutionary improvements!

Ten years later I am no longer in the classroom, however, I am still very involved in early childhood.  Now as a national trainer and facilitator for Time to Sign, Inc. I am blessed to share these skills and methods with teachers around our country.  My hope is that each of you as educators and parents will travel this journey with me through this blog.  That you will walk through the open door to communicate with your children and peers in a way you never dreamed possible.  I look forward to sharing tips from Lillian Hubler and her growing team, as well as from tips from some clients who have seen real changes in the development of their classrooms.  Sit back, relax, and smell the new pencil aroma as we step into the joy of signing together!