BAYONNE, NJ - The Bayonne Public Library will begin offering sign language courses for children up to eight years old, Mayor Jimmy Davis and Library Director J.P. Porcaro announced.

The classes will be held as Sign Language Circle Time, begin on Saturday, October 19, and last for six weeks. There is a $25 registration fee per child.

Melissa Mathews, also running for a seat on the Board of Education, moved her family to Bayonne five years ago and has been involved in the community, including by starting a gardening project, Grow Bayonne.

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“Education is important to us,” the mother of four said, adding that she and her husband started a non-profit, the Mathews Foundation that focuses on improving academic outcomes. When their oldest son was speech delayed, she said,  “the therapists taught him to sign and I saw an immense improvement with his social interactions and a huge decrease in frustration and tantrums.” 

Though countless apps exists to learn sign language, Mathews explained that group practice is very helpful, that’s when the idea of starting classes, the registration fees for which go towards the cost of instructors, with the Mathews Foundation covering the remaining costs, came in.

“All children can benefit from sign language as it jump starts language skills and develops the ability to communicate in a second language, this opens up a different way to communicate and learn” Mathews concluded. 

Saturday classes will be held as follows:

Ages 2 ½ and younger will take place from 10:00-10:30.

Ages 2 ½ to 5 will take place from 10:45-11:15

Ages 5 to 8 will take place from 11:30-12:00.

Mathews further announced that a second course for ages eight and up, including adults, will also begin in October and run for 12 weeks on Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

For more information or to register please call Melissa Mathews at (917)-355-0344 or email


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