Back when I started a new school, we got a shiny name badge, a quick introduction and then we were just expected to get on with it. But one school has gone above and beyond to welcome a new student, by learning an entirely new language.
Children at Dayton Consolidated School in Dayton, Maine, have been enjoying sign language lessons in a bid to welcome the school’s first ever deaf pupil.
So far, kids at the US school have learned an impressive 20 words and phrases to help Morey Belanger settle into her new class.
Teachers even put posters up all around the building giving handy sign language tips to help students get the hang of common phrases to communicate with the six-year-old. They even hired a Disney Cinderella to sign to the children while they sang, which has got to be the best way to learn the new language.
Principal Kimberly Sampietro said Morey coming to the US school had been a positive thing for all of its staff and students who had broadened their horizons.
She told Fox5:
Morey, without even knowing it, taught us so much. She has brought a culture to our building that we didn’t have before.
Principal Sampietro has also installed a hearing assistive system in the school to help students with hearing impairments. Not only this, she’s given extra teacher training to include sign language into lessons, with many staff members taking time out to improve their signing skills by doing online tutorials.
Understandably, their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, with Morey settling into the school very quickly.
The kids have just really embraced her. They look up to her, they want her around, and they want to partner with her.
Morey’s mum Shannon Belanger is, of course, over the moon with the school’s efforts, saying:
I absolutely feel like it makes her feel welcomed.
I think all the kids feel excited that they know another language and I think they think it’s fun.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a school going to such great lengths to welcome a new student. Absolutely bravo, Dayton Consolidated School. There’s a lesson to be learned for schools all over the world.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.