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Supporting Students with Hearing Loss in MFPS
Mayflower Primary School (MFPS) is the first designated mainstream primary school in Singapore for students with Hearing Loss (HL) who sign. The school received our first cohort of students with HL in 2018 and these students use both Singapore Sign Language and English to access the national curriculum.
This inclusion aims to:
• enable students with HL who sign to be socially integrated;
• allow students with HL who sign to be immersed in a language-rich environment which provides them with opportunities to learn to communicate and interact better with their peers; and
• build empathy in our hearing students as they increase in their awareness and be more sensitive to the needs of their peers with HL.
MFPS recognises this as an empowering educational tool in which our students develop empathy for others. This is a core value and skill to be taught and caught for our students to grow into caring individuals and empathetic leaders of the future.
The Co-Teaching Model
As a step towards inclusivity, students with HL learn alongside their hearing classmates. In each of these classes, the co-teaching instructional approach is implemented. The mainstream Education Officer (EO) and the Specialised Teacher (SpT) of students with HL use a co-teaching model to differentiate and deliver instructions in the classroom.
This inclusive lesson-delivery model gives assurance that all the students with HL have full access to the grade-level expectations of the national curriculum in Singapore.
During lessons, the mainstream EO and the SpT of students with HL support their students in different ways. The EO is viewed as having the expertise in content, and the SpT is regarded as the one having expertise in research-based strategies and techniques to support the students with HL in their learning. The two educators work hand-in-hand in class to create an inclusive learning environment for all students in the classroom.
Social and Emotional Learning for All
Students who share the same classroom environment as students with HL pick up Sign Language on their own and through incidental learning of being together.
This is beneficial to all students as acquiring a third language enables them to develop mental dexterity. Learning sign language requires both sides of the brain and gives their memory a good workout in the brain gym.
School is an exciting place to be when siblings attend school together. Alya (Pr 4) and Ayra (Pr 1) as well as Qyairah (Pr 4) and Qusyairi (P1) are siblings who are enrolled in the programme for students with HL. They are together in each other’s company and provide social-emotional support to one another in the daily rigour of life in school.
Seven-year-old Qusyairi says, “My sister keeps a watch over me especially when I am at play during recess. She showed me around the school on the first week of lessons. I felt confident and assured knowing that my sister is always here for me!”
Ten-year-old Alya has a younger sister in Primary One too. She is proud to have her sister joining her in school.
Alya adds,” I make sure that my sister does not go astray or lose focus from studies. Just like me, she will work hard to make our parents proud that we are in a mainstream school. We have made many friends in school and will continue to share and care for everyone in the community in Mayflower Primary School.”
Support for Students with HL
As students with hearing loss acquire the necessary skills in language and literacy, social and behavioural management in a mainstream school, MFPS provides different structures and programmes to support them.
Individualised Education Plan
For each of the student with hearing loss, MFPS charts an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) for them to support their learning in school as well as at home. The teachers managing the student follow the recommendations in the IEP and conduct periodic reviews on the student’s learning progress and refine the intervention plans accordingly.
There are school-wide infrastructural provisions to ensure accessibility and safety of the students with HL. The school will be fitted with accommodations such as visual ‘announcement’ systems, visual door ‘bells’ and visual ‘alarms’ in the common school areas and classrooms. As the school is undergoing PERI upgrading and is operating from a holding site, these provisions will be made available when the school returns to the original site in 2022. Meanwhile, teachers, classmates and buddies stand united and keep a lookout for their classmates with HL. In addition, our canteen vendors have also implemented a visual-cue card system and use a ‘select-and-point’ ordering process to facilitate a more inclusive environment for all.
Facilitated play with Hearing Students
Children learn different social behaviour norms as they interact with one another and the best way to learn these norms is through play. In MFPS, facilitated play is done once a week during recess to educate both hearing students and students with HL how each other communicates – the challenges that the students with hearing loss would face when interacting within a hearing community and how their hearing peers can better communicate with them. At the same time, the students with hearing loss can also be more attuned to how their hearing peers communicate.
If needed, each student with HL will be paired with hearing buddies to assist him / her in the course of the day’s activities. These buddies are active contributors who step forward when the school calls for volunteers, living up to the school’s motto of “Service Before Self”. These buddies undergo training to learn simple sign language. When reaching out to a fellow Mayflower student in school, these buddies will be empowered learners who are able to communicate amongst friends with HL using sign language.
Bonding Session for Students with HL
As part of MFPS effort in touching the hearts of our students, we organise termly bonding sessions for the students with HL. These sessions aim to provide an avenue for our students to learn from the adults in the deaf community and be inspired to be the best that they can be, despite the challenges they face. These sessions also include activities that students with HL in different levels can take part and interact with one another.
Speech and Language Therapy and Audiological support for Students with HL
Our students with hearing loss have access to Speech and Language Therapy support in school to develop their communication and language skills as they could have residual hearing. As our students use hearing devices, an educational audiologist in MFPS is available to supplement the support the students have in their learning in the mainstream school.
Mayflower in the News
Teaching Music Lessons
Storytelling in conjunction with the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) 2020
The students of Mayflower Primary School tell us the story of a quick-witted mouse as he travels through the deep dark woods and meets predators - the most dangerous of all, the Gruffalo!
Mayflower Primary pays tribute to the Nation
In 2020 when Singapore celebrated her first virtual National Day, Mayflower Primary School also participated in a virtual choir montage by SADeaf, featuring our staff and students where they signed to the lyrics to our favourite song “Home”.
How can I enroll my child with moderate to profound hearing loss in Mayflower Primary School?
To ensure that the specialised supports at MFPS will meet the learning needs of the students with HL, parents would still be required to seek a consultation with KKH or NUH on their child’s suitability for the support. Parents should bring along all relevant medical/professional reports from your child’s previous assessments. Parents should, however, be prepared for further evaluation or re-evaluation of their child by KKH or NUH to ensure that the child’s learning needs can be met in MFPS.
What if my child is currently seeing a doctor/therapist who is not at KKH or NUH?
A referral from KKH’s Department of Child Development (DCD) or NUH’s Child Development Unit (CDU) is required. MOE has worked with KKH and NUH to provide educational placement advice to parents of children with hearing loss. If, however, the child is not currently or actively being seen at KKH or NUH, parents will still need to obtain a referral from KKH or NUH. As the referral process may require an evaluation to determine the child’s suitability for specialised supports at MFPS, parents are advised to take this step early, preferably when the child is in K1, to allow sufficient time for the evaluation. Parents can access the developmental services at KKH or NUH by obtaining a referral from any polyclinic/family doctor / GP, or by calling KKH or NUH directly.
Would it be possible for me to register my child with hearing loss who signs directly into MFPS and receive the specialised supports offered?
To ensure that the specialised supports at MFPS will meet the learning needs of the students with HL, parents are required to obtain a referral from KKH’s Department of Child Development (CDC) or NUH’s Child Development Unit (CDU) to ensure that the child’s learning needs can be met in MFPS. Parents are advised to take this step early, preferably when the child is in K1, to allow sufficient time for the evaluation.
What if my private doctor has assessed my child with hearing loss to be suitable to receive the specialised supports at MFPS?
To ensure that the specialised supports at MFPS will meet the learning needs of the students with HL, parents would still be required to seek a consultation with KKH or NUH on their child’s suitability for the support. Parents should bring along all relevant medical/professional reports from their child’s previous assessment. Parents should, however, be prepared for further evaluation or re-evaluation of their child by KKH or NUH to ensure that the child’s learning needs can be met in MFPS.
Do I need to participate in the P1 registration?
If the application is successful, your child will be directly enrolled into MFPS. Parents then need not participate in the MOE P1 registration exercise.
When will I know the outcome of the application?
Parents will be notified of the outcome of their application by 31 May each year, for admission to P1 in MFPS in the following year.