Year 1 students start at their mainstream school

Gina with her classmates and teacherGina (left) works with some of her Year 1 classmates at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School.

Year 1 students from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) Garfield Barwick School are excited to begin integrating into a mainstream school as part of RIDBC’s Integration Program for deaf students.
RIDBC Garfield Barwick School caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 6 who have hearing loss, and who are learning to listen and speak with the assistance of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.

In Kindergarten students attend RIDBC Garfield Barwick School full time to work on building their confidence and to learn the language they will need to succeed in a mainstream environment. . Among the skills they need to develop are following the teacher’s instructions and speaking up when they don’t understand.

From Year 1 the Integration Program transitions students into a mainstream school, aiming to fully integrate them progressively by Year Six. This allows students to forge friendships and develop the networks they will need to be successful at school. At the same time the students continue to access the intensive language support they need at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School.

Gina Yacoub is participating in the Integration Program and is attending Christ the King.

“Gina is a confident child and is settling in really well, taking part in many school activities at Christ the King – which most recently saw her take part in an Easter role play,” said RIDBC Teacher, Socorro Amos.

“At RIDBC Garfield Barwick School we focus on developing students’ audition, speech and language, and this is done in small class sizes where there is a high ratio of teachers to students.

“When students like Gina go into a mainstream school they face much larger and noisier classrooms. By slowly integrating into the school, Gina is learning strategies to deal with that.”

The Year 1 students attend their mainstream school four afternoons a week after spending a morning at RIDBC Garfield Barwick School engaging in intensive language work. If required, an RIDBC teacher’s aide provides in-class support during their afternoon in a mainstream school.

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children assists over 3000 children with significant hearing or vision impairment and their families across Australia.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.