Geographe Primary School's language choice a sign of the times

The excitement students have for language lessons is a positive sign for Geographe Primary School Auslan teacher Sonya Martin.

In 2018, it became compulsory for WA primary schools to teach a language to students from Year 3 on.

The school introduced Auslan, also known as sign language, to be its second language after consultation with the school community.

Mrs Martin said students were loving learning sign language.

“Learning Auslan helps the development of neural pathways and cognitive processes that are unique to using a visual language – it helps things like the memory and brain function of children,” she said.

“Auslan is highly engaging for students and is actually quite easy to learn.

“It is also a really strong life skill that they could use in the future as a communication tool or in a career.”

Mrs Martin started learning Auslan more than 20 years ago when she taught Drisana Levitzke-Gray.

Ms Levitzke-Gray, the 2015 Young Australian of the Year, is a passionate advocate for deaf children in Australia to have access to Auslan.

One of Mrs Martin’s current Year 3 students, Logan Hewitt, said he looked forward to Auslan lessons.

“I like learning to sign Advance Australia Fair,” he said.