Baby Sign Language Class Teaches Kids Through Music in Boerum Hill
BOERUM HILL — Andrea Fixell remembers the first time her 8-month-old son raised his hands and signed the word for “milk.”
Fixell, whose been teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing children for about 20 years, started "Sign-a-Song," a sign language program, soon after her now 12-year-old son was born.
It started as a class of 17 parents and turned into a full-fledged program, which teaches babies and their caretakers sign language through music, said Fixell.
Sign-a-Song leads the class through an introductory course in American Sign Language using stories, songs and original music.
“Children start to use their hands at very early stages,” said Fixell, through gestures like waving, pointing and clapping.
All children, whether hearing, hard-of-hearing or special needs, are welcome to attend the class, said Fixell, adding that sign language is particularly useful for communicating with preverbal babies.
“It alleviates a lot of frustration for children,” said Fixell.
The program, which will conduct a special four-week summer session in Boerum Hill, encourages 3-month-old babies to 3-year-old toddlers to learn the soundless language, focusing on specific vocabulary each week, from food to animals.
Using music, Sign-A-Song allows children and adults to learn the language through a naturally repetitive and entertaining form, she said.
“It’s not just a language class,” said Fixell. “It becomes a music class as well.”
Sign-a-Song's four-week mini-session will be located at Gumbo (493 Atlantic Ave.) on July 1, 15, 22, and 29 with Tessa Hersh and Greg Barresi. For more information or to register for the classes, visit this website.