Entire school learns sign language for deaf kindergartener

When a school learned they would be joined by their first deaf student, they made it their goal to teach sign language so she would feel welcome.

Kindergartner Morey Belanger, 6, is the first deaf student to attend Dayton Consolidated School in Maine and the teachers wanted to make sure she would be able to communicate with everyone.

The school embraced the opportunity to share the correct communication techniques by lining the hallways with sign language posters that demonstrated colours, letters and words relating to school.

One of the sign language posters in the school (left) and Morey Belanger (right) is happy at Dayton Consolidated School.
Morey Belanger (left) feels welcome at her new school now tgat the other students know basic sign language. Pictured right is one of the signs that were put up at the school. Source: WMTW

Teachers were also trained in sign language, incorporating it into all subjects and a hearing assistive system was installed in classrooms so deaf students were able to hear announcements.

Teacher Debby Gallant beamed with pride when she boasted how well the students had picked up signing.

“They have been phenomenal,” she told local WMTW News, adding “they probably know at least 15 signs, if not 20”.

Last week the school rewarded the students with a princess who knew sign language.

Morey wore a tiara and gown, and joined in as Cinderella performed a song for the students during lunch.

Morey Belanger, from Maine, with a teacher and a woman dressed up as Cinderella who also knew sign language.
Morey was excited to meet her a princess who knew sign language. Source: Facebook Dayton Consolidated School.

Morey’s mother Shannon Belanger said her family was overwhelmed by the show of support and said the effort had made her daughter feel welcomed at the school.

"I think all the kids feel excited that they know another language and I think they think it's fun," Ms Belanger said.

Principal Kimberly Sampietro said having a princess day was not only a reward for the students, but but also to thank the 6-year-old for inspiring them.

"Morey, without even knowing it, has taught us so much, she has brought a culture to our building that we didn't have before." she said.

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