FAIRHOLME College Kindy has been recognised for its efforts in teaching students Australian Sign Language.

The school won the award for the most outstanding initiative to improve outcomes for families and children at this year's Lady Gowrie Early Childhood Awards.

The Auslan program was introduced as part of the kindy program to assist a child who was not able to communicate with other children properly.

Teachers have continued to use Auslan in the classroom and have specific lessons each week.

Fairholme kindy students Faith Mijatovic and Joseph Ramia have a lot of fun communicating using Auslan.
Fairholme kindy students Faith Mijatovic and Joseph Ramia have a lot of fun communicating using Auslan. Kevin Farmer

Kindy teacher Jo Darbyshire said teaching Auslan was about demonstrating the philosophy of inclusion and acceptance.

"We embedded the project into our kindy program so we can teach children as a second language," Ms Darbyshire said.

"Children often express themselves quite physically by using facial expressions and body language so the children find it easy to pick up.

"We were delighted to win. It is wonderful recognition of what we were doing because we love what we are doing and we see it as something great for the children and families.

"It has given us an opportunity to talk about diversity and what it means to be different.

"It is important children understand from a young age that it is okay to be different," she said.

Families have also been included in the program with family sessions on the weekends and information shared through newsletters.

Fairholme College kindy educators Sonya Nicol (left) and Jo Darbyshire teach students Faith Mijatovic and Joseph Ramia how to communicate using Auslan.
Fairholme College kindy educators Sonya Nicol (left) and Jo Darbyshire teach students Faith Mijatovic and Joseph Ramia how to communicate using Auslan. Kevin Farmer

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