Alumna Returns to Teach Sign Language to Kindergarteners

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Two kindergartners had an extraordinary surprise on Friday, November 10, 2017, when their Aunt Lizzy showed up to class. Elizabeth Koch, an alumna of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Bethlehem, PA, returned to teach a sign language lesson with the Kindergarten class.

“Kindergarten has been learning to sign the alphabet to help our fine motor skills and help learn letters and sounds. When Liz heard about it she contacted me and asked if she could visit and sign with the kindergarten. She read Brown Bear Brown Bear and taught them the signs of the animals and the colors from the book,” said Mrs. Kohler, the Kindergarten teacher.

Elizabeth Koch received her Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Bloomsburg University. She has worked with deaf and hard of hearing kids for nearly eight years, and currently teaches American Sign Language at a middle school in Delaware.

“We set it up about a month ago, but we didn’t say anything. I wanted to surprise my nieces. I would call and they would be saying ‘We’re learning sign language! We’re learning sign language!’ I would say ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to see it!’” said Koch.

“The session was wonderful for the kids,” said Mrs. Frederick, the kindergarten aide, “They love having visitors, especially special family members. Learning sign language is supposed to have many wonderful benefits for children. It is a fun activity Mrs. Kohler incorporates into everyday lessons… they had so much fun, they didn’t even realize they were learning!”

“Signing songs and fingerspelling accelerates early literacy skills and engages the whole child in joyful learning,” adds Kohler. “It also helps to develop fine motor skills. Our Lady of Perpetual Help School is a family, and having extended family and alumni is always great!”

“I wanted to give back,” said Koch. “We had such a wonderful experience here when I went to school so to have my nieces go through it is just awesome … To come back and see them doing their little A’s and B’s, and to just to be a part of this place, is wonderful.”

See it in the Lehigh Valley Press!