Little lamb helps children with vision loss learn

Four year old Liam, who has vision loss, patting a lamb for the first time at RIDBC

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) VisionEd Preschool recently enjoyed a visit from a lamb from Barclay Farm at Muirfield High School as part of an in-class experience.

RIDBC VisionEd Preschool caters for children who have vision loss and the visit from the lamb provided the students with an opportunity build their language in a fun, interactive environment.

“We try to provide lots of hands-on, concrete experiences as this is a wonderful way for children, especially those with vision loss, to learn about a concept,” said RIDBC VisionEd Preschool Director, Kathryn Bowie.

“A child with vision may see a lamb in a paddock and be able to work out its size and shape and distinguish how it is different from other animals. This visit allowed our students, including those with vision loss, to feel the lamb’s fleece, hear it ‘baa’ and gauge its size by feeling it. This context builds a greater level of understanding, supporting their language development.”

RIDBC VisionEd Preschool has established an on-going relationship with the staff and students at Barclay Farm at Muirfield High School, taking RIDBC students on regular visits to the farm to learn about the different animals.

“We’ve also previously arranged to have baby ducklings hatch at the preschool. The children were able to hold the ducklings, feed them, hear them and take them on their first swimming lesson in a small paddling pool. All these experiences encourage further learning,” said Kathryn.

RIDBC VisionEd Preschool is a reverse integration preschool which is purpose built to cater for the needs of a child with vision loss. Children from the community also attend, effectively creating a regular mainstream preschool environment with a highly specialised program for children with vision loss.

RIDBC assists over 3000 children with significant hearing or vision loss and their families across Australia.