Murdoch University Kindergarten and Child Care Centre is a community passionate about communication. We encourage families to commit to passing on their first languages to their children. It is very easy for children to acquire English in Australia. It is much more difficult for them to develop in their parents first languages. And their parents language ‘holds all the keys’ to extended family, culture and alternative concepts. We know from research, that bilingual children perform extremely well academically and tend to think more flexibly then monolingual children.
We also encourage you to speak your family’s language around the centre and we will try to learn some of your language, too. Where we can, we will include it in our programs. The educators want your child to feel really proud of their language and culture!
Monolingual children improve their hearing acuity and phonemic awareness, through exposure to languages other than English. Both of which contribute to the acquisition of literacy. There are also great social benefits for children who are comfortable with a range of communication.
As well as vocalised languages, we are committed to developing our Auslan (Australian Sign Language) culture. All staff have been trained in Auslan and use it throughout the day. We also have native Auslan users, who continually enhance our learning.
Accessing Auslan is really important for families who have deaf members. We are delighted to contribute to children’s pride in their deaf culture and deeper connection with family.
Interacting in Auslan also enhances the development of hearing children. Again, like all other languages, it provides people (big and small) with other ways of expressing themselves and of viewing the world. It increases possible friendships and community participation. Hearing children benefit from increased brain development – through using their fine motor co-ordination to communicate. We also find that their social confidence is increased because the have a greater range of possible communication strategies available to them.