Ebbett Park School has ended New Zealand Sign Language Week on a high, being recognised for its commitment to signing by promoting it to the curriculum.
The school has many Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and because of this, the school has worked really hard at promoting sign language within the school learning.
Sign language is normalised as an everyday practice, with students and teachers greeting each other through signs.
The 152 pupils learn sign language in class, when interacting with Deaf classmates, in school assemblies, and singing songs are signed with everyone encouraged to join in.
Principal Kate Medlicott said she is proud of her pupils, staff members and the community.
Medlicott is unsure when the school started including NZSL in its everyday curriculum, but said it was well before she started at the school four years ago.
Parents have told the principal just how excited their kids are to learn new signs, which they then bring home and teach their families.
"It is really heart-warming to see the kids picking up and sharing the language," she said.
Two teachers at the school have also been recognised at the NZSL in Schools awards.
Ebbett Park communicator Tina Brightwell was awarded NZSL Māori Champion 2022 for promoting NZSL learning among te reo Māori users.
And communicator Nora Kirikiri was awarded NZSL Local Champion for Hawkes Bay 2022 for her outstanding contribution to promoting, maintaining and celebrating NZSL in the Hastings region.
When Kirikiri was awarded NZSL Local Champion, she felt proud because sign language has always been a part of her life.
"My best friend is Deaf, so I started learning sign language and learning about Deaf cultures when I was 7," she said.
Kirikiri is one of three communicators who work with Deaf and hard-of-hearing pupils throughout Ebbett Park's seven classes.
Along with communicators, teachers also use Roger microphones, which reduce background noise and transmit what the teacher is saying directly to pupils' hearing aids.
While the school see NZSL Week as one to celebrate, they also make sure the school is inclusive, and there is no point of difference between hearing and Deaf students.