Thursday, June 27, 2013

Communication Junction

All three of my kids participated in a workshop put on by Communication Junction.

Normally I don't think much of taking all three kids to an event, but this was different - in a good way. Finishing this made me feel accomplished.


Exercise

Thursday mornings, Abbey Cook, the owner of Communication Junction, takes moms, dads, babies, and kids on a mile walk. (This is why I am proud for bringing three kids with me. Walking with three kids is not easy). This exercise makes me happy for other reasons:

1. Research tells teachers that physically fit students are prepared to learn. When students work their bodies, they awaken their minds. Any teacher knows that students are sleepy in the morning but after recess, they are ready to learn.

2. Parents (both mom and dads attend) get exercise. Exercise can help adults' mental health, which hopefully leads to better parent-child interactions.

3. Parents and children are making a habit of exercising together - a great bonding time, a wonderful example.

I have attended twice. We meet at Running Central, chat, walk, get water, and sit in a circle. Abbey sings a song (which Za has learned after only attending twice), reads a story, and does another song which includes movement.

Sign Language

The entire time, Abbey signs with the kids - throughout the stories and singing. As a speech pathologist, Abbey believes that teaching sign language to babies and children increases their abilities to communicate.

Aside from broadening communication, kids also learn a second language. In talking to Abbey, she further made the distinction for me that "language is required in life and speech is a skill that we learn." I have never heard that point made, but it makes sense. Babies communicate before they talk.

(I also wonder if knowing sign language has benefits for when children grow. When I taught public speaking, I spent hours discussing the importance of hand movements - a form of communication. I wonder if there is a correlation between knowing sign language and being a competent public speaker who effectively uses hand movements).

After our first trip, Za and I discussed reasons why people learn sign language. She cooperated better the next time.


What to bring

If you are going to attend Thursday exercising and signing with Communication Junction, you will need:

* comfy shoes and clothes for you and your kids
* stroller (if your kids cannot walk the entire time)
* sunscreen
* five dollars for your family

Moms and dads have attended both times I have gone, and kids snack on crackers and bananas. It was a relaxed environment that provided exercise and an educational activity. You can learn more about Communication Junction on Facebook.

I was not compensated for this post. This review is my honest, unpaid opinion.