Goodstart Helensvale introduces children to sign language
For many of us, communicating with others is something we just take for granted. We chat to our work colleagues when we arrive at the office on the morning, make plans for the weekend on the phone, and run our lives with millions of conversations daily.
But for some, communication is not something that comes naturally, and that’s where sign language can open doors for children and adults.
At Goodstart Helensvale
, educator Jacque Parrish has started a Makaton sign language program using signs and symbols to help children attending the centre who struggle with communication.
Centre director Kelli Swanson said the team wanted all children at the centre to feel happy, confident and included at all times.
“We have children here who are on many different levels of reaching their development milestones so we decided to make it as inclusive and easy as possible for them,” Ms Swanson said.
“We’ve used it over the years when we’ve had children who have difficulties communicating and we find and have found this works really well. It helps children communicate and interact with others, and helps educators know what an individual child’s needs are.”
One of the centre’s kindergarten children recently skyped her Newcastle cousin, and signed I Can Sing a Rainbow
“Her cousin was so excited that he could understand what she was saying because he was also using sign language,” Ms Swanson said. “The child’s parents said her cousin had been playing the video over and over so it’s nice that this is helping families build better connections.”
The kindergarten crew are now gearing up to sing and sign for their families in their Christmas concert.
Ms Swanson said parents could use the following tips to help children acquire literacy and communication skills:
- Using pictures and words to represent daily schedules so they understood what was coming up next.
- Making writing materials, newspapers, flyers, books and magazines available for children to look through and use in play areas.
- Use books and searches on the internet to find out information to contribute to children’s play.
- Provide a varied selection of books throughout the home.
- Make props that include symbols, for example, stop signs, to be incorporated into children’s play.