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Woodcraft Folk youngsters learn to sign

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Woodcraft Folk youngsters learn to sign

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Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Housing and also in Communities, Environment

Katie Duke fingerspelling ‘C’ at her Woodcraft Folk session Katie Duke fingerspelling ‘C’ at her Woodcraft Folk session

A group of young children from Manchester have learnt how to sign thanks to a fun signing session at their local community group.

The 12 youngsters, aged between five and eight, learnt the alphabet and signs for different colours during their Woodcraft Folk session in East Didsbury last week. 

The aim of the session, which was delivered by HearFirst, was to introduce the children to British Sign Language (BSL) and raise awareness about deafness in relation to children the same age.

Woodcraft Folk is a group which provides opportunities for children and young people to learn about big ideas and participate in activities such as craft, singing and games.  The weekly sessions are organised by parents and volunteers and activities are arranged around developing their self-confidence by building awareness of society around them.

Sarah McClelland, who works as an Environmental Officer for Manchester-based Great Places Housing Group and is also a Woodcraft Folk volunteer and co-leader, said: “I have worked with HearFirst following some training through work.  We thought it would be a good idea to ask them to introduce the children to BSL and raise awareness about some myths and early preconceptions about deafness.

“The session has helped them to communicate and engage with some of their friends at school who are Deaf or deafened.  They learnt the alphabet and some signs for different colours so that they could sing, sign and perform, ‘I can sign a rainbow’.  There was also an interactive quiz to encourage them to discuss, explore and understand more about deafness.”

Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst said: “The young children really enjoyed learning their signs and developing their knowledge about deafness.  Although we try to make the sessions as fun and as interactive as possible, there are some important messages that we try and communicate, particularly to children their age.

“With over 45,000 deaf children living in the UK*, our aim is to raise awareness of deafness and the basic knowledge of how to communicate with a deaf person to children of a similar age.  By introducing the children to basic BSL signs, it will help us to achieve this.”

Katie Duke, aged 8 from Tithe Barn School in Stockport regularly attends Woodcraft Folk in East Didsbury, said: “I loved signing the Rainbow song and it was funny to clap without making a noise. I want to show my friends how to sign.”

* Statistic from The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS)

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