Category Archives: Lora’s Blog

Bilingual Babies

So many people I know speak English-only, yet there are tremendous benefits of a second language – or two equal native languages.

I can hardly call myself bilingual, but I do have conversational skills in two languages other than English: Spanish and American Sign Language. If I’d spent more time immersed in an environment where one of those languages was consistently spoken, or if someone in my family were fluent in one of those languages, I’d be more proficient for sure. My children were exposed to sign language and Spanish early on, and thrived – ASL really helped my kids understand synonyms, new Spanish vocabulary, aided in their reading skill development and so much more. But neither language was part of our family culture or need, and they (sadly!) chose not to continue learning other than required classes in school.

So I encourage you to give your children that opportunity if you can, to expose them to every language you speak. If your other language is part of your family culture, it can be essential that your child learns to speak and understand it, so he or she can grow up able to communicate with family members near and far. If you live in an English speaking community, your child will learn English from friends, neighbors, teachers and peers – so you could decide stick primarily to your “other” language at home.

When one parent consistently speaks English and the other parent consistently speaks Spanish (or Japanese or Hebrew or whatever language he/she speaks), that can be very helpful for bilingual development. AND WHEN BOTH PARENTS INCLUDE SIGN LANGUAGE AS THEY SPEAK, THAT CAN BE A TREMENDOUS ASSET – it helps to BRIDGE THE GAP between the two spoken languages. Baby sees the sign for milk when she hears “milk” and when she hears “leche.” She begins to understand that the two different sounds mean the same thing. She also learns that she can use that sign for milk to communicate with both parents, and soon enough she’ll use the different spoken words correctly with each parent. It’s a wonderful process.

Sign language can become your second or third language at home – jump start communication, stimulate brain development, set the foundation for literacy and later second language learning, and bridge the gap between two languages spoken in your family – all while fostering family bonds and creating connections with people from other cultures. Rather than becoming confusing, it’s a true asset.

www.mybabyfingers.com

 Learning 2nd Language

Five Fun Facts for Families

  Benefits of Signing with Your Baby By Lora Heller, Founding Director, Baby Fingers LLC www.mybabyfingers.com   Sing and sign together. Music helps with memory and attention, and signs provide a means through which self-expression can develop.  Read books together while signing key words. Sign language helps with literacy attainment and growth in vocabulary. Play… Continue Reading

WINTER CLASSES

MANHATTAN UPPER WEST SIDE Prenatal Yoga Center: 251 W. 72nd St., 2F, btwn West End & Broadway www.prenatalyogacenter.com WEDNESDAYS 2:00pm WINTER: January 18 – March 8 (8 weeks) CHELSEA Kids at Work: Join us at the new KAW studio, 123 W. 20th (2nd floor/elevator), btwn 6th & 7th Aves. www.kidsatworknyc.com Thursdays 11:45am On-going AND Fridays 9:30am beginning… Continue Reading

ME-Time

When my kids were little, I was so focused on making the most of every minute with them, making up for the times I had to be at work, not wanting to miss out on a new word or a lost tooth, and truly enjoying their company…like many parents, I became so engrossed in my children’s… Continue Reading

Gratitude

Thank you for visiting us!  We are grateful for our Baby Fingers families and friends! We wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season! Celebrate with us!   In January, Baby Fingers will turn 17!! Follow us on Social Media  @mybabyfingers. We have a new Instagram page with Word of the Week Sign Videos and… Continue Reading

Should I sign with my child?

We partnered with Saywer (https://blog.hisawyer.com/blog/why-sign-with-hearing-babies-and-children) this fall to co-author this post.   At Baby Fingers we offer classes for hearing as well as Deaf families and the benefits are endless. Communication without words…. My baby might be too young for words, but this doesn’t mean she can’t communicate….Did you know that your baby can learn sign… Continue Reading

Meet our Teachers

  who are we?? We are parents and professionals in the world of arts and education – teachers of the Deaf, musicians and actors, ASL teachers, early childhood educators, ASL interpreters, music therapists, college professors and special educators.  We are Baby Fingers Teachers. Mary is a professional actor, stage combat coach, and teacher. Her parents… Continue Reading

4 Seasons 5 Senses

I love autumn – especially once the leaves begin to change colors. It’s nice to live where the seasons change and our senses are truly stimulated by all the beautiful sites, sounds, smells… My friend and colleague, Dawn, who lives in Oregon, is both a children’s author and a sign language teacher. I had the… Continue Reading

Letters from Mom

Driving home from a weekend visit with my mom, I had time to think – and my thoughts brought me back to her letters.  I always loved getting letters from my mom during summer camp, and when I was away at college.  At that time, we had to spring for a stamp – or a… Continue Reading