A Resource Guide for Parents of Infants and Toddlers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Welcome to the unique journey being parents and guardians of young Deaf children. Children come to Early Childhood Education with a range of hearing levels within the Deaf spectrum from mild to profound, and with various language and speaking abilities. Come and learn with us!
Early Childhood Education (ECE) is an important first step for successful learning for our little ones from our Parent Infant Program (PIP) to Pre-Kindergarten. In ECE, early hands-on experiences stimulate the acquisition of language and intelligence, as well as socio-emotional and physical skills. Research shows that brain development is most rapid during the early years of life, from birth to age five. With this in mind, unlimited exposure to language and a high quality education is critical during this stage as it lays the foundation for future success.
We provide a safe and warm environment that supports and promotes an enthusiasm for active learning. All children can learn, and because learning is best done by doing, our teachers engage children in experimenting and play-based activities. Children receive guidance in learning more about their world and how things work.
With the intention of meeting our children’s language needs, a vital part of our program is the use of an ASL and English visual approach. Children use American Sign Language (ASL) and written English, as well as spoken English during one-on-one or small group lessons. We encourage our children to be proficient in both languages. To enrich their language acquisition and to enjoy learning in a positive and language-rich environment, our teachers provide language modeling of ASL and English through storytelling and poems, ASL games, and role-play.
ECE teachers have a strong partnership with families to foster respect, support, and empowerment for Deaf children. Come visit our department and you will find that our youngsters melt your hearts!
The Parent Infant Program (PIP) helps cultivate language skills in Deaf infants and toddlers. Through enriching play-based activities and consistent access to ASL and English, infants and toddlers can develop a positive self-esteem, responsibility, mindfulness, preliteracy skills, and enhanced relationships with people in their lives. PIP is provided in partnership through the Riverside and local school districts.
Parent Mentoring: It is common for families with Deaf children to feel isolated and new to the journey. New parents of Deaf children are connected with more experienced parents. The shared experiences, learning from each other, relating to what others are going through, and giving support are the highlights of this parent-to-parent relationship.
Parent Workshops: The workshops address a number of topics, such as child development, the Deaf community, assessments, importance of social play, parent/guardian rights, transitioning, and more!
Home Visits: A certified teacher of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing visits the family twice a month for one hour in the family’s home or in another setting that is natural for the child. The teacher works with the parents with information and support in order to help your child grow and develop well.
PIP Classes: We offer a site-based program on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. This program focuses on experience-based learning within a group setting.
Community Outings: Attending our monthly events that we host outside school help children use language in social interactions with experiences outside the classroom, and for families to observe the dynamics of the interactions. This time is also for parents and guardians to connect, support, and share resources with each other in this unique journey as parents of Deaf children. Outings include playgroups and meet-ups for children in the ECE program and their families.
Infants/toddlers ages 18 months to 36 months
Concept and language exposure
Free play for social-emotional development
Circle time for attending, listening, and language skills
Art activities for fine and gross motor skills
The preschool class is a stimulating place for curious learners to discover about the world around them! Through active thinking and doing, Deaf children learn at their own pace with their teachers acting as their guides. During play, the students are encouraged to explore their interests, drawing inspiration from the materials they are engaged with. Through children’s imagination, the topics become a dramatic and artistic experience!
An important goal for youngsters is developing confidence and working well with each other. Children will learn about friendships, feelings, fascinating animals, workers, transportation, and more! We provide hands-on exposure to the world through field trips to different places, such as the apple farm, pumpkin patch, nature walks, and other parts within the city of Riverside and vicinity.
Children 3-4 years old
Pre-academic skills and concept development
Building of strong ASL/English skills
California Preschool Learning Foundations guide for optimal learning experiences
The Pre-Kindergarten program serves Deaf children who will enter kindergarten the following Fall. The program provides a variety of experiences and opportunities to prepare students in the school environment. We help children understand their surroundings and develop readiness for kindergarten. Our philosophy is fostering a positive learning environment that is stimulating, secure, and nurturing for children to reach their full potential. We believe that each child is unique and no child plays, works or thinks alike. They have their own amazing interests, skills, and styles. They all are good at different things!
We work closely with parents to provide a strong foundation for each child to be successful. We encourage parent involvement and create opportunities to invite you to come witness your child’s growth. Together with families, we can help our students achieve their highest possible potential in their early childhood education.
Children who will enter kindergarten next Fall
California Common Core State Standards
California Preschool Learning Foundation
Pre-academic skills for kindergarten readiness
Literacy, Laughter, and Learning (LLL) is a workshop provided to ECE parents three times a year. Workshops emphasize the importance of early literacy learning for young Deaf children. Discussions include the stages of literacy development and how the parents can encourage literacy development at home.
The Art Festival gives parents, teachers, and the school community an opportunity to enjoy viewing artwork done by our little cubbies. During the Art Festival, children get an exciting opportunity to participate in hands-on art activities. As a fundraiser for ECE, children are given a personalized tile to decorate, and each personalized tile will be posted on the wall mural in the ECE department. All funds raised from this project go to the ECE fund for ordering educational supplies.
The ECE department provides ASL classes that focus on first language acquisition. Our ASL teacher works with students in the afternoons. ASL lessons and activities involve playing with the language. Its hand shapes, facial expressions, classifiers, and body shifting are all important elements for students' story retellings. Using their language skills, the students provide four theatre productions a year, and participate in video-taped sessions of their language development over the year’s course, which culminates in a DVD final product for the students to take home.
Other special ECE programs include ECE/Elementary ASL Showcase and class performances.
Photo Credits : High School Yearbook Students - Cherilyn Barrett - Auna Fergusen - Jens Rechenberg '81 - Jaclyn Vincent