ASL in the Classroom

Jenning Prevatte, M. Ed.

As a college professor, I am privileged to work with outstanding individuals working in early childhood.  During class sessions, we have fantastic discussions about child development, developmentally appropriate practices, and how to help children with challenging behaviors.  My students are hungry for information and knowledge to enhance their abilities and skills as teachers.  One strategy I've found to work repeatedly is American Sign Language (ASL).  I love using ASL in the classroom for a variety of reasons.

 "The research has demonstrated many benefits to utilizing sign language with hearing children. Some benefits noted in the research are developing larger vocabularies, greater self-esteem, and increased phonemic awareness and spelling skills. The research has deemed that ASL is a useful intervention for early education curriculum and is not only for deaf children." (Prevatte & Matthews, 2013)

Some additional benefits are:

I value this teaching strategy in the classroom so much that I co-wrote a book on ways to use it in an early childhood classroom. Some of my favorite ways to use American Sign Language (ASL) with children are:


Incorporate ASL into classroom management by adding signs for the following words:

Incorporate ASL into themes you teach, such as:

Incorporate ASL into playground/outside exploration time

Take a nature walk and sign what you see, such as a tree, rock, flower, etc.  Then take your children inside and have them create a memory by incorporating an art project.


Incorporate ASL into music and nursery rhymes, and even stories:


Incorporate ASL into your daily classroom routines, such as:


The four most important things to remember when adding ASL into your classroom are:






Ready to integrate ASL into your classroom?

Visit eLearning Courses ( for our NEW eLearning course on why you should use ASL in the Classroom.