Friday, April 3, 2015

Getting to Know Your International Contacts – Part 2

My contact decided to take me up as her professional pen pal because she was a kindergarten teacher and principal for about 15 years; she answered my questions with robust answers. I feel grateful for her cooperation.

She works for the sign bilingual and co-enrollment (SLCO) since 2007. From reading their website, it appeared and was confirmed that the funding for early childhood might run out. I asked if they did get more funding for early childhood program. “Our programme was sponsored by Jockey Club from 2006-2014 and we won't get any funding from Jockey Club now. Fortunately, we got some donors to support our programme to develop the SLCO model.”

It appears that the Sign Bilingual and Co-Enrollment (SLCO) is a part of the Kindergarten program. Parents of deaf children pay directly to the Kindergarten. Pre-school is not free in Hong Kong and receives no subsidies from government. Their SLCO programme staff's salary are supported by donors and their Deaf Education Fund.

The sign-bilingual programmes that are provided by their center:
·      Baby Signing Programme (0-3 years old) every Saturday
·      Parent Signing Programme
·      Baby Signing Programme @ 5 day Creches
·      SLCO progamme at mainstream kindergarten (3-6 years) towards the academic year from September to mid of July.
·      Reading Programme in sign bilingual programme (3-6 years old) every Saturday

I asked how the families are involved; I think something was lost in translation. She gave me the numbers of deaf and hearing students in each level of the SLCO:

Three deaf and 285 hearing children are in Baby Signing Programme.
22 deaf and 8 hearing children are in the Reading programme.
39 deaf and 42 are in Kindergarten co-enrollment.

They maintain daily communication with families through phone, what apps, and email. They also have a parent-sharing session every month. The sign bilingual and co-enrollment (SLCO) staff would share their teaching experiences with parents and home teachers. Staff is expected to have good communication with both parents and home teachers. They also have an Individual Educational Plans (IEP) for each Deaf student.

My last question was whether the Deaf children were performing grade-level academically. She answered, “U know, every Deaf child has their straight (sic) and weakness in difference area of development. It's hard to say that they are all doing well or not good enough. But I can say all Deaf children enjoying their schooling in Deaf and hearing community.” That seems to be an universal response.


  1. Marla,
    This looks like a great program for families. Parents are involved in their child's education. I like the fact that they have classes on weekends for children and the parents. I asked my contact person in Venezuela about gaps and she stated "some children are smart". And, I noticed when you asked your pen pal about children performing on grade-level she stated Deaf children have their strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Hi marla,
    My interest in your blog is very personal since there are deaf children at my school. It is amazing to read on the way the program is set up and babies are included that young. I wish I knew how to get our parents as involved in learning sign language to better communicate with their children. Happy you are in contact with your international resource.

  3. Hi marla,
    Your post was of personal interest to me as I work with children with hearing impairments. I enjoyed reading the work that is done at the school and the age the children begin. It is encouraging for our parents do not seem to understand the need to learn sign language to effectively communicate with their children. Great post, glad you are able to be in contact with your international resource.

  4. Marla,
    Interesting conversation with your pen pal. If the deaf children's parents have to pay and all the other children are enrolled do they pay also ? It surprised me that so many were in the program but it shows that is it works. I know here there are still many that feel babies should learn sign language before they learn to speak. They feel it is more universal.

  5. How great that they have a program that incorporates signing at such a young age. Ensuring that children are learning to communicate from the start is critical to their development as they grow. It is unfortunate that their funding is diminishing. I hope that this changes as children need these programs to get a good start in life, especially when they are starting out on such a difficult road. I also found it great that they had classes for the parents as well. I'm glad that they are able to incorporate that as well because the more they can work together the better. Thanks for the great information!

  6. Hi Marla,
    That is quite an impressive program and pen pal. It is amazing to see the numbers of families and community members actively participating in the different school programs.