The Brightest Start

01 August 2017

Term 3 is always a highlight here at the Cora Barclay Centre. It might be cold and rainy, but it means that we begin a new class of Bright Start, our transition to school program.

Transition from pre-school to school can be a challenging time for all children and families, but for children with hearing loss it can present extra challenges – academic, personal, social and auditory. Bright start aims to help children and families overcome these challenges as much as possible.

Bright Start Objectives

To enhance transition from pre-school to school for children with hearing loss.
To provide a safe, nurturing small group environment for children with hearing loss two terms prior to starting school.

So how do we achieve these objectives? There are 5 goals that we aim to achieve through the Bright Start program that will help set children up for a successful transition to the school environment.

Goals for Success

Develop pragmatic language skills, independence and social confidence
Children with hearing loss are at risk for delayed pragmatic language skills that are essential for school success. Pragmatic language is that such as requesting help, using appropriate social greetings and farewells, and asking questions to get more information.

Develop self-advocacy skills
Often a child with hearing loss will be the only student at their school that has a hearing loss. Therefore, learning to self-manage hearing equipment and to advocate for themselves (eg. asking the classroom teacher to use the personal FM system) are skills that students will utilise throughout their school life. Understanding their own hearing equipment and how to navigate listening challenges are essential for students.

Develop Theory of Mind and emotional vocabulary
Children with hearing loss are at risk of delayed Theory of Mind development. Theory of Mind refers to a person’s ability to think about things from someone else’s perspective which requires the understanding that other people think differently, and this thinking affects their behaviour. Theory of Mind is important so that children can develop and maintain positive relationships with their peers. Theory of Mind can be enhanced by developing vocabulary related to emotions (eg. angry) and mental states (eg. I think…).

Develop listening attention in a classroom environment
The classroom environment requires children to respect their peers and teachers and to cooperate with others. Children are required to learn individually, in pairs, in small groups and within a whole classroom environment. Each learning situation requires different skills including attending to new concepts introduced by the teacher, listening to group instruction, participating in group discussions, and talking in front of the whole class.

Develop early literacy skills
During the Reception year at school there is a considerable focus on developing children’s phonics awareness. To successfully do this, students first need a strong foundation of the set of listening skills required for reading called phonological awareness. Activities that develop these skills include practise with rhyming, syllabification (identifying the number of syllables in words) and identifying the initial sounds in words. Bright Start also introduces several sounds from the Jolly Phonics program so that these are familiar to students when they begin school, allowing them to focus more on navigating all of the new challenges that come with school.

The Bright Start program is run by a qualified Teacher of the Deaf and the lesson plans which she develops are aimed at targeting each of the goals above. However, given that these children are still in the early stages of their formal education, the activities that help develop the goals are based on play and fun.  

With a variety of themes, activities and even the occasional classroom visit from special guests Bright Start quickly becomes one of the children’s favourite weekly activities, so much so that they often don’t want to leave.

This year we welcome Aaron, Ava, Bylasan, Charlotte, Dev, Jayden, Jax, Lexie, Liam, Lois and Patrick to Bright Start. We can’t wait to see what you achieve!

Leave a message for the new Bright Start kids below! 


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