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December 11, 2002

School breaks down barriers

From: Wodonga Border Mail, Australia - 11 Dec 2002

Mr Morris, William Taffe, who is deaf, and other students celebrate the award.

ST Monicas Primary School of Wodonga has won two awards as |a result of its sign language |courses.

In addition to winning the Inclusion in Education and Learning Award, the school has won the Victorian Premiers Award for Excellence for the inclusion of people with a disability in its curriculum.

The school has introduced Auslan, an Australian sign language for the deaf community, into the curriculum and employed an Auslan user to teach the students.

The teacher, Mr Des Morris, said the program had been a great success.

“We teach Auslan as a second language which helps the children communicate with deaf people as well as showing deaf people in the region there are others they can communicate with,” he said.

St Monicas Primary School course co-ordinator Ms Julie King said all pupils at the school were taught Auslan because it was considered of great worth.

“We see Auslan as a valued language throughout the wider community,” Ms King said.

Ms King said winning the award was an affirmation that the school was doing the right thing.

She said the benefits were far reaching as Auslan helped deaf children settle into school better and the curriculum made pupils more aware of people with hearing impairments.