With World Gratitude Day today and the International Day of Sign Language taking place this Friday, it’s a great time to take a moment and reflect on the world we live in and our role within it. World Gratitude Day makes us think about how grateful we are to have the opportunity to learn something as inclusive as sign language. Further, how wonderful is it that we also — particularly as educators — have the ability to then share this knowledge with children.
The power of sign language for all children
When it comes to sign language, the obvious benefit that likely comes to mind is that it enables us to more effectively communicate with those who are living with a hearing impairment.
This is absolutely an enormous advantage of sign language, but what that also helps us to do is to create an inclusive world. The more people that come to learn sign language, the more inclusive the world becomes. And a world where everyone feels included — that’s a beautiful thing!
Additionally, learning sign language has benefits for the development of children who are not hearing impaired too. Studies have shown that learning sign language from a young age can reduce frustration experienced by children by giving them an alternate communication tool to use to express their wants, needs and feelings.
Learning sign language also appears to have a direct impact on enhancing the development of speech and emotional intelligence, as well as improved self-esteem.
Benefits of Gratitude
As well as sharing the inclusive and powerful tool that is sign language with children, simply fostering an attitude of gratitude can offer so many benefits for young people.
In fact, as little as five minutes a day of mindful gratitude practice can offer proven benefits such as:
- Improvements in self-esteem and sense of self-worth
- Reduced stress paired with increases in resilience and ability to handle stressors in life
- Enhanced mental health and physical wellbeing
- Higher levels of happiness
Bringing gratitude and sign language into early childhood education
Here are some goals for you to bring into your centre:
Creating space for gratitude is incredibly simple and begins with helping children to understand the importance of saying thank you. Help children to see what they are saying thank you for, rather than just saying the words to be polite — who is doing something for them, or what is being provided for them. You can also share what you are grateful for and role model gratitude.
Incorporating and learning sign language in your service may also be easier than you realise. Children are remarkable when it comes to picking up signs and tend to be excited to use them. To help you get started on basic AUSLAN sign language, you might like to check out our resource packs here.
A grateful and inclusive world
Doing our part to make the world a place where we can all stop and take a moment of appreciation for the good things in our lives is important to us.
And doing that in a world that is as inclusive and loving as possible is what we strive towards.
We hope that you can work towards these goals with us and together we can genuinely make a meaningful difference starting with the children of today. Don’t forget to visit and download our basic AUSLAN sign language resources packs here.