Baby Fingers, A Musical Journey through Language and Learning was founded in 2000.
Based on considerable research, Baby Fingers was designed to promote family communication while enhancing motivation to speak, increasing IQ, improving vocabulary and literacy skills, decreasing frustration, refining motor coordination and spatial reasoning skills, and bridging the gap between Deaf & hearing communities. Bond with your child through creative communication and self-expression. Strengthen your interaction through songs and musical play. Whether you intend to incorporate sign language in your life for the long term or simply during this pre-verbal and developing verbal time, watch in awe as your child discovers the world of language. See the research come to life, as music and sign language both aid in the development of language and literacy.
Baby Fingers MISSION:
Baby Fingers aims to bring together music and sign language to aid in early language development and to strengthen relationships among family members and peers, within and outside of the Deaf community. We profess to do so in the following ways:
- Providing high quality music mediated American Sign Language (ASL) instruction for babies, children, parents, and educators.
- Delivering high quality music therapy services and music instruction to children with or without special needs and their families.
- Offering sign language to bilingual families as a way to bridge the gap between two spoken languages.
- Educating the hearing community about Deaf culture and the benefits of American Sign Language in early language acquisition.
- Educating the Deaf community about the benefits of music in early childhood development.
- Bridging the gap between local hearing and Deaf communities.
- Implementing a variety of programs based in music and ASL to benefit families, schools, and the community.
Baby Fingers PHILOSOPHY:
As a music therapist, early childhood educator/teacher of the Deaf, and mother of two, I believe in the importance of early intervention and equal access. In my research, practice, and family, I have witnessed the benefits of exposure to music and sign language in facilitating language acquisition, fostering relationships, decreasing stigma and eliminating barriers. Baby Fingers was founded on the following principles:
- At Baby Fingers, we believe that all children are born with the capacity to learn, and that music is one of the most effective mediators in that process.
- Babies understand the world around them much sooner than they are able to respond in kind, and it is our belief that American Sign Language is one of the most effective means of supporting expressive communication for all children (hearing, Deaf, typically developing, special needs).
- Parent-Child relationships are the key to healthy development; we believe that engaging together in music and sign will help to strengthen these relationships.
- Myths surrounding the use of ASL are only one of many barriers between the Deaf and hearing communities and in successful education practices for children with hearing loss, speech disorders, and language delays.
In addition to our NYC baby sign language classes, we offer American Sign Language Classes for Kids of all ages, Adult ASL, music lessons for beginners of all ages, music therapy for children with special needs, infant massage classes, webinars, and more. www.mybabyfingers.com/classes-and-programs/
Our Founding Director
Lora Heller, MS, MT-BC, LCAT developed Baby Fingers after her son Zeke began to sign at 6 1/2 months old! She is a music therapist and teacher of the Deaf, the author of Sign Language ABC, Sign Language for Kids: A Fun and Easy Guide to American Sign Language, and Baby Fingers: Teaching your Baby to Sign (board book series) with Sterling Publishers, and she is the ASL Content Consultant for the 2nd series of Story Time with Signs & Rhymes picture books written by Dawn Babb Prochovnic. Lora has also written for music therapy professional publications and national parenting magazines. She is a frequent presenter at music therapy and early childhood conferences and is the on-line expert for various parenting programs including ParentsTV.com baby sign language video series. As Baby Fingers has expanded, Lora has found wonderful professionals to join the team. Our staff all have degrees in education, psychology, creative arts (or other related field) with sign language proficiency and vast experience working with children. Baby Fingers teachers have all been trained and certified in our methodology and curriculum.