Creche / Preschool
In Ireland, the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) free pre-school year is opening early-years education to all children nationwide from 2010.
Deaf children are entitled to the ECCE year, just like other children. For deaf children, preschool teaches early language for future learning. Childcare staff have a vital role in teaching language-skills if parents are at work, and need training to work with deaf children who use spoken or signed language.
Teamwork by parents and staff at creches and/or preschools is the key to meeting a child’s specific needs and maximising their learning potential.
Here’s a practical creche/preschool checklist for parents to consider when visiting potential creche or preschool venues for a child with hearing issues.
Based on the child’s hearing, this preschool-based learning may focus on
(1) early intervention (2) language development (spoken and/or signed)
1. Early Intervention
At its simplest, early intervention has two main goals:
- To teach the child to communicate, and interact (spoken and/or signed)
- For the child to learn how to participate fully in family life
Preschool staff working with deaf children can support this communication development by giving the child one-on-time to consolidate recent learning.
2. Language Development
Severely deaf children don’t automatically absorb language in their daily setting, so their early words need to be taught by visual means & gestures. Some children learn verbally (maybe lip-reading), with others using signs. Their parent/s will advise staff how best to communicate with their child.
Reading is an essential skill for the children to develop as a visual way of accessing information. Here is some advice on reading with deaf children. Children are known to learn about reading and writing from birth, after all.
IDK’s pieces on including deaf children in preschool, with weblinks:
- Is my child deaf? Possible signs to look for.
- Hearing-Aids + Learning = Education
- Early Implants Best For Baby’s Language Progress
- Childcare Managers’ Vital Role In Language Skills
- Part One – Tips From A Mum And Creche Manager
- Part Two – Potential Challenges At Preschool
- Part Three – What Information Sources Were Used
- (PDF file) – Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years
- Early Years Technology Builds Childrens’ Literacy Skills
Just post your questions to our Facebook page, or email us if you need advice on early-education for deaf children. We’ll do our best to help!