Home » Lifestyle » Building global momentum to introduce sign language in early childhood education

Building global momentum to introduce sign language in early childhood education

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them.

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE can therefore-nurture caring, capable and responsible future individuals.

That's why ECCE is one of the best investments a country can make to promote human resource development, gender equality and social cohesion, and to reduce the costs for remedial programs later. For disadvantaged children, including deaf children, ECCE plays an important role in compensating for the disadvantages in the family and combating educational inequalities.

Even though inclusive early education is fundamental to the developmental stages of every single child on this planet, there is a large deficit in the provision of inclusive early education globally, which has gone unnoticed by governments, schools, educators, civil society organizations and even development partner groups around the world.

It is estimated that globally nearly half of all pre-primary-age children are not enrolled in preschool. Also according to the Early Years Study, “the concept of ECE today replaces outdated notions of daycare. Instead of 'a place kids go while mom works', today's early childhood education provides a first tier of education that is as important as those that follow''

Not only is the present early childhood educational systems around the world not offering adequate opportunities to include deaf children, it also doesn't foster a great environment to help all children practice and enhance their communication skills

Deafness is a hearing disorder, not a learning disability. When they are able to access equal educational opportunities as their hearing counterparts, deaf children can excel and reach their full potential in life; An example is the story of Alysha Allen, a deaf teacher from Brimsdown, United Kingdom, who was recently awarded for using sign language in her classroom to support communication between her and her students.

Sign languages in all ECCE classrooms by 2030Sign languages in all ECCE classrooms by 2030

Credit: Devio Early childhood institute/Lily KudzroCredit: Devio Early childhood institute/Lily Kudzro

Devio Early childhood institute/Lily Kudzro

Benefits of learning sign language for all children

Research shows that early exposure to signing helps children develop their language and reasoning skills. While some children cry to get what they want, signing children learn how to communicate with words and simple phrases. To communicate with another is far more than just a messaging strategy. Communication and the ability to express oneself is what makes us human. It is surely a right to be able to express oneself and share ideas, words and feelings.

Studies show long-term cognitive benefits, including:

  • +12 IQ point advantage
  • Accelerated speech and emotional development
  • Effective communication
  • Lower frustration levels
  • Improved child-parent/care-giver bonding
  • Reinforcement of learning of educational concepts such as ABC's, animals, etc.
  • Improved word recollection in children because there is muscle memory involved, and the more senses involved in learning, the greater memory retention the child will have
  • Improved attentiveness to social gestures of others as well as of themselves
  • Larger speaking vocabulary and ability to form longer sentences
  • Earlier reading and larger reading vocabulary
  • Better grades in school.

I'm an early childhood education activist, and Founder of Devio Arts Centre, now the Devio Early Childhood Institute (www.devioearlychildhoodinstitute.org), a non-profit organization that uses innovative and inclusive learning through play approaches to empower early childhood educators and support children's holistic development. The organization has operations in Ghana, and Kenya.

Last December, I created a petition, calling on the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF and UNESCO to implement policies and call on authorities in all their partner countries to introduce sign language in ECE.

Sign language can have many benefits on children's cognitive and intellectual abilities, while paving the way to include deaf children in ECE, and also helping to promote the sustainable development goal (SDG) 4 for inclusive and equitable early childhood education for all children worldwide.

Considering that deaf people globally are confronted with challenges in accessing important information; as seen in the current COVID-19 pandemic facing the world, most leaders and news broadcasts are not offering adequate interpretative services in sign language to send out vital information and updates to deaf people. When sign language becomes part of the language of instruction in ECCE, the world would become accustomed to supporting the communication needs of deaf individuals especially in such challenging times.

The petition has received over 4500 signatures so far from people around the world. I would like this to be the start of a global momentum, calling on more people, civil society organizations to create change and champion the inclusion agenda by bringing sign language into all ECE classrooms.


#The Time for Inclusive ECE is now
#Sign language can make a difference for all Children

Spread the love

Check Also

COVID-19: NDC Team Make Strong Recommendations To Gov’t As Cases Balloons

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic 1. Testing & Contact Tracing We take note of efforts made by government to scale up testing and contact tracing efforts as part of measures to identify and isolate persons who have contracted COVID-19. Concerns about the comprehensiveness of the strategy remain, and we list below related recommendations and those for the broader aims of COVID-19 testing. 1.1. There remains a lack of clarity on the definition of the tertiary contacts category employed in the enhanced contact tracing program. The current understanding is that these individuals are identified not because of their known interactions with secondary contacts, but rather by virtue of their coresidence in localities where index cases reside. It also remains unclear if this extends to primary and secondary contacts. This clarification would allow epidemiologists and statisticians around the nation to evaluate the practical utility of the ..

Coronavirus And Our Eyes

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic Coronavirus and our eyes The Sun sets in the West Rises in the East See how the communist and socialist win How poor men's sons are saving Economies Prioritising lives. Rich men rulers Their business men Partners. So called well educated So called well accomplished So called human rights and freedom lovers Top dogs, sir 's etc in their field. Over ambitious with many material Possessions Sink. Taking economy and life with them. Leaving medical staff and key workers to die. There's no money they cry. Yet the communists and socialists Have it. Our eyes have opened Now we see many democracies and capitalism Are run by big business Politics Greed Selfishness, selfish ambition Money lust. Not by hard work or sense. The best man does not get the job. Turns out Not only the Chinese censor. In some Western countries the government has lied after lie. To protect the economy The rich man&#0..

Effective Parenting In The Lockdown Period

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic A primary school girl, when asked by her teacher to define family, answered bashfully, "A family is a group of people, made up of father, mother, and children, who are related by blood." Expectant of applause from the class, she continued, "Uncle, aunty, cousin, grandma, and grandpa are also part of the family; they belong to the extended family." The teacher was impressed, the class was awestruck, and they gave the bashful school girl a well-deserved accolade. Aside from being a group of people related by blood, a family is also a chronology of individual stories and experiences. People in a family have a history that spans beyond the declaration of marital vows. The father and mother have individual adventures and ordeal that may have coincidentally merged at a point, even before they decided to become man and wife. The parents of the man and woman equally do. It's a small world, after al..

COVID-19: 10 Tips To Boost Your Immune System

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic Listen to articleIt is apparent that the most critical part of protecting yourself against the COVID-19 is adhering to appropriate preventative measures, particularly hand hygiene and appropriate social distancing. Many people are gripped with fear and anxiety. However, instead of wallowing in fear and worry, this is a good time to enhance your physical and emotional pliability, for the most part, immune resilience. Like any virus, SARS-CoV / COVID-19 attacks people with low immune systems and people who get ill easily due to weak immunity responses. The Immune system is built on helpful live bacteria that live in the gut which protect the human body from disease. When the immune system response is low, weak, or damaged it becomes an open invitation for infectious microbes including coronavirus. Protecting ourselves from diseases goes beyond washing hands and wearing a mask. It requires prov..

COVID-19 Boosts HUBTEL’s Food Delivery Service

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Get the latest live updates about the Coronavirus Pandemic Listen to articleCOVID-19 has hit hard against several sectors of the global economy, but for technology companies like Hubtel Ghana, the pandemic presents an opportunity for a boom in their business. Hubtel is primarily a bulk SMS solutions company for the past 15 years, under the name SMSGH, but they have for several years now been transforming into an e-payments and e-commerce business under the name Hubtel. CEO of Hubtel Ghana, Alex Bram said since the advent of COVID-19, they have seen a boom on their e e-commerce platform in terms of merchants signing on, people making purchases, first-time users and the number of deliveries they have had to make since the outbreak. Alex Bram was not shy to say that COVID-19 has helped their online retail business a great deal and so they are actually re-strategizing to focus more on the e-commerce business to meet the high demand on that side of their ..

Leave a Reply