Learning center teaches infants, toddlers sign language before being able to say their first words

Children as young as 6 months old are learning sign language before they can even speak at The Learning Experience.
Sign language is part of the curriculum children learn at The Learning Experience.  Julia Armstrong has been teaching sign language at the center for four years.
"When they want more food, they put their hands like this," Amstrong said, joining the tips of her fingers on both hands and lightly tapping them. "I like when I'm doing something and they're repeating the same thing that I'm doing," Armstrong said. "It's a great feeling to know they're actually watching and learning."
They also learn to sign other words such as "please," by placing their hand on their chest and making a circular rubbing motion.
Ean Gensler, The Learning Experience regional manager, said the center has taught children sign language for about 10 years now. He said the sign language is practice before they speak with words, serving as a bridge before learning to speak.
"We're also pairing their sign with the verbal word that we want to be saying as well to show what that sign links to verbally," Gensler said.
TLE showed two lesson booklets, one for September and one for October. The featured word children will learn to sign in September is 'hello.' For October, the feature word will be 'friend.'" It also offers instructions for the teacher on how to sign the word.
Gensler said sign language has also helped parents when their children are home. Sign language is also a part of the curriculum at TLE's 12 other Brooklyn locations.