Notes for Parents and Teachers on BSL
BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE (BSL)
Growing numbers of people are keen to learn more about sign language and the Deaf community who use it, and wish theyd had the opportunity to do this as children.
Small children can learn sign language. For those whose parents are Deaf signers, it will be their first language, acquired in the home. Deaf people and children are ideal role models in sign language use.
CITIZENSHIP, LITERACY AND LANGUAGE
Basic signs can be introduced from Nursery and Reception onwards and be an enjoyable supplement to the curriculum to accompany Literacy Hour, Assemblies, and Citizenship for example.
Fingerspelling is a direct link to the written word and studies have shown that early exposure to sign language and fingerspelling can improve language and literacy for all children.
More importantly, the chance to foster open-minded attitudes to different cultures and modes of communication is never better than with young children forming attitudes that can stay with children for life.
There is a growing trend to integrate deaf children into mainstream education. For schools attended by deaf children whether their hearing loss is profound or partial, there is an even more urgent need for fellow class-mates to be Deaf Aware and able to communicate clearly, if the deaf child or children are to be included in any meaningful way. There have been examples in the media of entire school populations joining in and learning sign language, and this is so important to the deaf childs self esteem and identity.
- If language is not acquired early, it may never fully develop
- All children, deaf or hearing can benefit from learning sign language
- Signed and spoken language are different languages
- Each can improve the acquisition of the other, in spite of the myths that signing impedes speech development, or the acquisition of English
- Deaf children need both languages for healthy growth and development
- Bilingualism in BSL and English give children access to both the Deaf and Hearing world
BSL TEACHING MATERIALS
These are some simple examples of signs and the fingerspelling alphabet that can be introduced as a taster, and to have fun with.
Further work in BSL teaching materials are being developed by Co-Sign Communications - please contact Cath Smith for further details, comments and feedback.