Early Childhood Education
(951) 248-8001 VP
(951) 782-3229 FAX
Information and Resources
- A Resource Guide for Parents of Infants and Toddlers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Summary | English | Spanish
Welcome! Come and Join Us!
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!
Parent Infant Program
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 the child grow and develop to their fullest potential.
PIP Classes: A site-based program that focuses on experience-based learning within a group setting. Classes are on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Community Outings: The PIP hosts monthly events outside of school hours. These events are intended to help children use language through social interactions, and give the opportunity for families to observe the dynamics of these interactions. This is also an opportunity 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, story time for signing babies and toddlers at a local library, and meet-ups for children in the ECE program and their families.
The preschool class is a stimulating place for curious learners to discover about the world around them! Developing confidence and working well with others are important skills for these youngsters to grow. In this environment, language is acquired through playing, creating arts, and experimenting. As they play, the students gain inspiration from the materials they are engaged with and are encouraged to explore further. They will learn about friendships, feelings, fascinating animals, workers, transportation, and more! They go on field trips to different places, such as an apple farm, pumpkin patch, nature walks, and other places within the city of Riverside and nearby areas.
The Pre-Kindergarten program serves Deaf children who will enter kindergarten the following Fall. A variety of experiences and opportunities are provided. Through these experiences the students develop readiness for kindergarten and the school environment. Teachers foster a positive learning environment that is stimulating, secure, and nurturing for students to reach their full potential. Because no child plays, works, or thinks alike, teachers see and value the uniqueness in each child. Teachers work closely with parents to provide a strong foundation for each child to be successful.
Literacy, Learning, and Laughter
Literacy, Learning, and Laughter (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.
ECE American Sign Language Class
The ECE department provides ASL classes that focus on first language acquisition. Our ASL teacher provides ASL lessons and activities that 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.
Playgroup for Signing Babies
The Playgroup for Signing Babies takes place on campus, on the 1st and 3rd Friday every month from 10-11 AM. The playgroup is open to Deaf and hard-of-hearing babies from birth to 18 months old. Please contact the ECE office for more information.