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Watch NZH Local Focus: Kids in Hastings embrace sign language

Kaysha Brownlie

At Ebbett Park School in Hastings there are 10 students with hearing difficulties, but the entire roll of 155 learn sign language.

Principal Steve Bloor says staff and students use sign language in everyday conversations.

"We use it on Fridays at assembly for sign-singing and it's just a part of what we do here at Ebbett Park school."

Teaching a new language is not always easy. But the teachers at Ebbett Park school have a secret weapon - they use popular music to motivate the children.

Mr Bloor said singing helped the children learn the skill because they could add visual elements.

After being encouraged to learn songs of their own to improve their skills, resource teacher of the deaf Shelley Riddell says the children decided they wanted to create a video of their own.

Ebbett Park School was one of the first to become involved with the New Zealand Sign Language programme three years ago.

Ms Riddell said using sign language in a full school setting benefited all children, whether they were hearing impaired or not.

"It's a win, win."

Communicator Kath Sheppard says all children should be given the opportunity to learn the language.

"It would be wonderful."

The children hope their story will inspire other educators around the country to embrace what is New Zealand's third official language.

Made with finding from NZ on Air

- NZ Herald

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