Dec. 13, 2011

I have heard that using sign language in the pre­school classroom can help reduce conflicts, but I’m not convinced. How might this work? In signing classrooms, adults report fewer instances of biting, hitting, and screaming because children are better able to express themselves, which in turn reduces their level of frus­tration and makes them less likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, some preschoolers are more apt to tune out or not listen when they become emotionally upset. Signing not only helps children express their own feelings, but it can also help them pay closer attention to the feelings expressed by others, as well as to the proposed solutions. In other words, some children’s eyes are open more than their ears during conflict resolution, which means signing can be an especially effective strategy for expressing and sharing feelings, and communicating solutions.

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