(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

SINGAPORE: Mayflower Primary School (MFPS) will be the first mainstream primary school in Singapore designated for children with hearing loss who sign, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Saturday (Sep 16).

With up to seven students enrolled to enter the Primary 1 cohort starting January next year, this initiative will allow students with hearing loss who sign to be fully integrated with their hearing peers, both academically and socially. 

Currently, students with moderate to profound hearing loss who sign attend special education schools. 

At MFPS, the students learn with their hearing peers for most subjects, including English, Math and Physical Education (PE). They will be taught separately when learning their mother tongue. Each class will be attended to by a specialised teacher, proficient in sign language, alongside the subject’s teacher.

An education interpreter will oversee classes in non-core subjects such as arts and PE. 

To ensure access and safety, school-wide visual infrastructural provisions will be made to announcement systems, fire alarms and door bells.

By following regular school hours and taking part in school programmes and activities such as co-curricular activities (CCAs) and camps, this new educational model hopes to “bring benefits to both students with and without hearing loss”, said Senior Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary at the launch of the International Week of the Deaf. 

Speaking at the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), Dr Puthucheary said he hoped that hearing students can “build empathy, acceptance and respect for differences and diversity as they interact with those with hearing loss”.

“Mayflower Primary School will provide a conducive learning environment where students with hearing loss can build confidence and social skills as they integrate and interact with their hearing peers,” added Dr Puthucheary. 

MFPS is located near to Beatty Secondary School, which is the current mainstream designated school for secondary-aged students with hearing loss who sign. 

“Together, the schools will form a nexus of support and opportunity for students to interact and share joint activities,” said Dr Puthucheary.

President Halimah Yacob was the guest-of-honour at the event, where she met with representatives from SADeaf and also recipients of awards such as NCSS Volunteer Long Service Award and Outstanding Deaf Achiever Award. 

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