Auslan Day: Celebrating Australian Sign Language

Did you know that the first Auslan, (Australian Sign Language) dictionary was published on 13 April, 1989? Deaf Australia is passionate about celebrating this day — Auslan Day — each year, and we agree!

On Auslan Day, it’s important to recognise the value of Australian Sign Language, (AUSLAN) in early childhood settings. 

If you’re not familiar with it, Auslan is a visual language that uses hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions to communicate. It is the primary language of the Deaf community in Australia and is recognised as an official language.

At Bonkers Beat we have long supported incorporating Auslan through songs and rhymes to provide numerous benefits for all children. Let’s explore why Auslan is valuable for everyone in the community, starting with early childhood education.

Promotes effective communication

First and foremost, Auslan provides an additional means of communication for children who may live with various levels of hearing loss or speech delays. It enables them to express their thoughts, needs, and emotions effectively, reducing frustration and promoting positive interactions with their peers and educators. 

Auslan also enhances language development for all, as it requires children to use visual cues and gestures to convey meaning, which can strengthen their cognitive and motor skills.

Create inclusive learning environments

Incorporating Auslan into early childhood settings promotes inclusivity by creating an environment where all children can communicate and participate fully. It encourages a sense of belonging and acceptance among children with hearing loss or other communication challenges, fostering an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity. 

Auslan also provides an opportunity for children without hearing loss to develop empathy, compassion, and understanding towards their peers who may communicate differently.

Contribute to improved accessibility for all

Auslan can make early childhood settings more accessible for children with hearing loss or other communication difficulties. It allows them to participate fully in all aspects of the curriculum, including group activities, storytelling, and songs.

When Auslan is nurtured, it also promotes accessibility for families with deaf or hard-of-hearing members, as it enables effective communication between educators and parents or caregivers during interactions.

Incorporating Auslan into early childhood settings may seem like a daunting task for educators who may not be familiar with the language. However, there are many resources available, including online courses and workshops, that can help educators learn basic Auslan signs and incorporate them into their daily interactions with children. 

Additionally, collaborating with local deaf communities or inviting deaf individuals to visit early childhood settings can provide valuable cultural and linguistic insights. Deaf Australia may be able to help you connect with resources suitable for your service.

As we celebrate Auslan Day, let us embrace Auslan as an important aspect of promoting inclusive and effective communication in early childhood education and across Australia.

At Bonkers Beat we are committed to ensuring Auslan is introduced in early childhood settings and have even created our own Auslan learning resources for educators to incorporate signing into every day. We provide various resources, including songs, stories, and activities with Auslan signs to enhance communication and engagement among children of all abilities. These resources support the development of communication skills while also fostering a sense of inclusivity and accessibility in early childhood settings. 

To access all Bonkers Beat products including printables and free resources, visit Bonkers Beat shop.

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