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Celebrating New Zealand Sign Language week

This week in Kids Count Tawa we celebrated sign language week with our children/ Tamariki and mums.The experience was amazing filled with fun activities and songs for all involved to learn and enjoy.We learnt various sign along with songs, such as the ABC, Old Mac Donald had a farm, Kei te peke ahau, and commands like sit down, finished, please, thank you, more, no, yes, and even signs for kai times like eat, drink, water, milk, cereal, and the crowd favourite cracker, plus many more.

The highlight for the week would be our mums learning to sign with and alongside their children/ Tamariki in our baby music session on Thursday.The mums enjoyed this session and asked to be taught the signs again so that they too can do it with their children in their own time.

Sign language for us is not only about acknowledging our deaf community in New Zealand, but rather another tool of communication for our children/ Tamariki.Especially for some of our older children/ Tamariki who have not yet developed the language skills needed to communicate verbally, but can do so through sign language.

As early childhood Teachers, we understand that learning to communicate is a key aspect for our children/ Tamariki to interact with the people in their world and to have their needs met.Communication development for our children/ Tamariki includes gaining the skills to understand and to express thoughts, feelings, and information. The expression of communication or a child's language begins with head, eye, and body movements, as well as through simple vocalizations and hand motions.Language expression progresses to words, sentences, and conversations through many methods including gestures, spoken words, sign language, and pictorial language systems.

By Justin Toru