A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this educational series doesn't shy away from showing images of children who are physically disabled; they're shown participating cheerily along with their peers.
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What's the story?
With a bouncy tone akin to Sesame Street's "learning can be fun" style, SIGNING TIME dives into the world of American Sign Language. Hosted by Rachel Coleman, the mother of a hearing-impaired daughter, Signing Time combines music, animation, and live-action footage to demonstrate and illustrate everyday signs like "help," "butterfly," and "cold."
Is it any good?
For very young ones, Signing Time's images are dazzling: birds flying through the air and toddlers helping Daddy sweep the driveway are just the sort of thing to pique older toddlers and preschoolers' interest. Meanwhile, parents won't be repulsed by the sweet, natural children who act out the signs. No precious, Barney-style li'l performers here -- just regular little kids showing the difference between small and tall or happy and sad. Sprinkled liberally amongst the cast members are children with disabilities, who are shown interacting naturally and happily with their peers. Coleman's deaf daughter, Leah, is also featured on the show, along with her cousin Alex (who is not deaf).
Were this program not airing in an era in which baby signing has become trendy, interest in Signing Time might be limited to hearing-impaired kids and their parents. But thanks to the recent focus on signing as a way to communicate with pre-verbal children, Signing Time will be of great interest to many. Parents who tune in will find a fun and easy introduction to sign language that's great to watch with their kids. This sweet, gentle little show is the kind of program you won't mind your child watching. It's educational TV that doesn't feel forced.
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