Neumann University students in Professor Annemarie O’Malley’s American Sign Language (ASL) class taught toddlers in the university’s Child Development Center how to sign Santa Claus is Coming to Town last week.
O’Malley and John Sperduto, director of the CDC, arranged the activity to provide ASL students an opportunity to practice their teaching skills and to expose CDC youngsters to another language at an early age.
ASL is used predominantly in the United States and Canada. In America, it is the third most commonly used language, after English and Spanish. At Neumann, ASL qualifies as a modern language for majors that require language instruction for students.
University studies have shown that children who learn ASL develop higher reading levels and show gains in vocabulary, IQ, and spatial reasoning scores.
A state-licensed child-care facility, the Child Development Center provides educational activities for 27 three- and four-year-old children in the signature octagonal building on Morgan Circle.
CDC services began in Bachmann Main Building in 1971, the year when the university (then Our Lady of Angels College) initiated a bachelor’s degree program for adult women. The current building opened in 1973.