New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is recognised as an official language of New Zealand through the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006. It is for this reason that NZSL has special mention in The New Zealand Curriculum (2007). When NZSL is taught as an additional language, it fits within the aims and objectives of learning languages in the New Zealand Curriculum. NZSL is used by members of New Zealand’s Deaf community and those who are linked with this community, for example, hearing people who have Deaf relatives and interpreters who work with Deaf people. In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any spoken language with many different dialects and grammar structures.

Heath, Koral, Di and Caro are currently learning NZSL so they can more easily communicate with our KDEC (Kelston Deaf Education Community) learners. The lessons are taught by Marjorie Rako a trained teacher of the deaf, at the Anton Centre,  located at 42 Kerrykeel Drive. As with all new learning, some things are easy to grasp and some not so easy. Many signs are representative, which makes them easy to pick up, the challenge then is to retain the knowledge and be able to use it in context.

Ormiston Primary has two trained teachers of the deaf on the team,  Luisa Maloni (Habitat 1) and Margaret Patrick (Habitat 2) will be supporting our KDEC learners within the Habitats. Every learner at Ormiston Primary will have the opportunity to learn NZSL, some times through explicit teaching but probably more often through immersion and the need to communicate and collaborate with our deaf learners.

Learning NZSL will give all our hearing people insight into the Deaf community. In turn, this will allow our Deaf people to communicate with hearing people more easily. Thus, our school will become more inclusive as we work together to create our distinct Ormiston identity.