Children at Upton Juniors in Broadstairs are set on mastering a new language – British Sign Language.
They have been inspired to learn more about the communication skills following the exposure of signing by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis who was seen nationwide as she won television’s Strictly Come Dancing last autumn.
Each term pupils learn the basics of a different language and in the last term it was BSL, which Rose could be seen using extensively during interview clips with judges and her dancing partner Giovanni Pernice.
Assistant Head of School Gemma Scarr said the girls and boys really engaged with the task of learning their new linguistic skills.
She said: “The children have been learning different signs throughout the term but we started out by learning how to sign different greetings like hello, goodbye, how are you, good morning, and good afternoon.
“We were all inspired by Rose from Strictly and in particular her performance where the music was suddenly muted to silence and they carried on dancing – this was so important as it dramatically explained to the children what it is like to hear music and sounds and then to not hear anything at all.
“The main message was so strong – it showed them that if you are determined, nothing can hold you back.
“Children are encouraged to sign as they come into school in the mornings and when they leave. As one of the adults who is on the gate in the mornings and afternoons, I can confirm that response to this has been fantastic.
“Some children have been so inspired that they have gone away and learnt even more signs and shared these with their friends and adults in school.
“We are enjoying sign language so much that we are going to continue learning it for the rest of the year and hope to work with an interpreter next term, either through a visit to school or via videos packed with information.
“It has been such a fabulous learning opportunity and the engagement of the pupils has been fantastic. We are all so proud of them and cannot wait to see what else they learn.”
Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign Language is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. Find out more online at www.british-sign.co.uk.