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What Happens in Preschool Doesn't Stay in Preschool with Dr. Debbie Golos Transcript

>> Debbie: Hello! How is everybody? Tired? Worn out? Exhausted? Good? I have a half an hour,  and I have so much information it's ridiculous, so I'm going to go through as fast as I possibly can, I'm apologizing in advance. And in this afternoon, I'm going to be in one of the fireside rooms so if you want to come and have a deeper discussion with me, that's the opportunity to do so. 

>> Interpreters:  And we're moving over. 

>> Debbie: She says I am a mover. So here's a question for you. How many of you have been to Vegas? Las Vegas? Who's been to Vegas? All right. How many of you had that experience in Vegas where you had just a really good time, and then you came home and told everybody about it? Did you? Did everybody have that? No. But you know, you're not supposed to do that. Because, Vegas is- the whole idea of you go to Vegas, and what you do in Vegas -- what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, everybody's heard that, right? Which one are you? The one that comes back and talks about what you did, or the one that comes back and says, “NAH, it was fine.” But we're looking at a preschool with deaf children in it. Whatever happens in that preschool, it's not like it stays there in the preschool. It comes with them. So whatever happens in preschool, doesn't stay in preschool. So why should we care? And what can we do about it? Look at this one. And if you can't read what it says, she goes "I sign ASL. I'm happy. I'm deaf." [ Laughter ] "Yay." [ Laughter ] She's two. Obviously she's got that language in there. She's already in the language acquisition phase. So really cool. Again, what happens in early childhood, that's going to impact all the later academic success and the rest of their life. And from birth to age 3, critical time. If the kids don't have that foundation of language, there is going to be a language delay. Cognitive delay. Literacy delays. And we might never quite catch up. So they need to be exposed to ASL as early as they can. If they miss that early window, it just might not be possible for them to ever be as they could have been, had they had that. I don't know if anybody can see the words here, can anybody actually read this? I'll kind of summarize what it's talking about. So we now have a preponderance of evidence, if deaf and hard-of-hearing children have not acquired a language early, there can be lifelong impacts.” Which means, that the families of deaf children, who receive Cochlear implants shouldn't necessarily abandon all attempts to sign. If the child doesn't succeed with the implant, then signing would still ensure that the child has a language that they can use. Okay. We've got more and more support and evidence that suggests the early exposure to ASL. And if you help deaf children build their understanding of language, metalinguistic awareness of ASL, so if you have teachers and parents help them understand how the language works as well as what the language is and connecting it with English, that can make a difference. It means their literacy skills, particularly their reading and writing skills get much better. Which means, that learning ASL provides a strong language foundation. And it can only help, not hurt, any spoken language development. And that all children could benefit from learning ASL. But, if we wait, to see if the DHH child will develop spoken language before we introduce ASL, then this deaf child's struggling with a spoken language, and this is what happens. And we use this phrase a lot, the critical window thing, because it is so critical, and once it's closed, it's closed. So if you're envisioning a child's literacy journey, and what they feel like when they're learning to read and write, we want them to enjoy the experience. We want it to look like this picture. Not like this one. [ Quiet laughs ] We don't want that frustration. I mean, none of us do. None of us want to see a child struggling like that. 

[ Video playing ] 

>> So in order to provide that foundation, I just have a couple of examples here. This is a mother who is signing with an infant. And you're seeing a little bit of ASL but particularly notice the rhythm of the signing.

[ Video playing ] 

>> Thinking and thinking and there's something about gloves, too. She's saying, “Where are the gloves? Where are the gloves?” And then child's signing "gloves". But you can see, I mean, you've got a child that young, already communicating with a parent through sign language, playing with language. And interactive literacy and development of the language. Once there's a foundation in place, then by the time they are five, they have so much in place already. This is what a 5 year old can have. Vocabulary 2500 words. Receptive vocab: 3,000 to 5,000 words. They understand how books work. What are titles. How do you do a book? They can write and recognize their own name in print. And they'll know their alphabet. And the print alphabet, fingerspelling and print. By age 5, they're able to retell stories that they've been told. They even can recognize some sight words by that point. And they can answer questions. If you ask them about what they've read, they're able to provide an answer. And by that point, they're using sentences, 4 to 8 words. This is what's possible. But how that gets done, is exposure to ASL fine. Just 100% accessibility to language, period. But you got to just focus not just on language, but literacy. Those approaches. Which means, you know, there has to be an interactive component to it, you have to have print involved. You got to have rich communication, and you need to have deaf role models, too. It's not just learning to recognize words, it's much more in-depth for literacy. You've got to have a deaf adult. We've been talking about that over and over again this morning, the importance of role models and language models. So, those children who need that exposure, it's just like -- and if they want to do -- there's no reason not to do spoken language while you're still exposing them to ASL. It's not an either/or kind of thing. You can provide them that foundation. But you need deaf adults there, in the home, in the classroom. The environment has to be literacy-rich, which means you need to have written materials, books, those sorts of things, at home and at school. And fingerspelling is this big bridge that you've got between ASL and English, to take advantage of. It's also a way to help them decode. And I know these are all kinds of things that you can do, so what are the strategies? This is a whole list, but I'm going to choose a couple to talk about here. Explain what an unfamiliar word means. If you're doing storytelling, making sure that it has some connection to their real-life experiences. Ask questions. WH questions. Not just yes/no questions. Why do you think that? What is this for? What are they doing? Which thing is the better one? Those kinds of things. And if the child responds to something, and is not quite, you know, full, you can just expand on that, model that for them. And this is the reason you need to have deaf role models. They are the fluent native models of ASL. They also are the ones who can enculturate these kids. Also to build the child's self-esteem to facilitate their identity. Improve the ability to have social interactions. A deaf adult can really help a child to get motivated. I see an adult reading, that makes me want to read. And if there's deaf characters in a book, that can really excite them. And research actually says that, the exposure to deaf adults, isn't necessarily just good about that relationship, but it can do more than that. It can actually improve their other relationships. So looking at a literacy-rich preschool, what would be in that environment? Each child should have at least 5 to 8 books. Kind of sort of ratio child-to-book. 5 children in a classroom that means 25 -- 5 to 8 books per child, however it works out. But... And if you're doing center-based education, you want reading and writing materials in every single center. So not just in the reading corner, but in every part of the room. You need print available in the environment. Things they see, but not up there against the ceiling, like the letters that used to be there. They need to be at the eye-level of the child, so when they walk around the room, the environment, they're constantly being reminded of print. And an ASL media center. So video the students. And then you can keep those videotapes. They can watch themselves signing. Or if you have a media specialist, you can take -- you can help them film. Have other deaf signers there. Have movies with deaf characters. But then that's great, you know, create a literacy-rich environment. You have books, you got all of this stuff. But if you don't have those discussions, you have to have really meaningful, in-depth conversations. Because it's the other part of it. You can't just have the environment set. You have to be taking action as well. For preschool, there should be read-aloud every single day. Every single day. And there need to be language fluency activities all throughout the day. So little bits and pieces of literacy. You know, if it's playtime, if it's drama time. If it's calendar time. Whatever it is. We're going to go outside, great. So have you got pictures? Have you got print? Talking about the playground or labelling things and the sign being exposed? Maybe one of the things you do, you give them a picture of something outside or the word of something, they have to find it, do a little scavenger hunt. They're all kinds of things you can do, to include literacy in all the activities in the classroom. And the other thing that's really important, are ASL stories, where you're dealing with that language play, that's so important in language acquisition. ABC stories, one, two, three, stories. And that has to happen daily. What if you're going, “Oh my gosh, I'm not fluent in ASL.” “What if I'm teaching in some rural area? “There are no deaf adults in my area.” “What if I have no-o-o-o idea how to manage these bilingual strategies?” What if the students don't even know ASL? And suppose you're working with kids who are older. Does it mean that this stuff isn't relevant? This is my suggestion. You can use the media and technology that's out there as support. Not as a replacement for this -- all the other strategies for literacy development. But it's available. Video phones, FaceTime, Skype, any way that you can be in touch with a deaf adult, maybe from the school for the deaf, maybe from out in the community, but what can you do to have them part of your classroom? And then the other thing that's possible to really do for children, is have media that has deaf characters in it, that the kids see. We developed a series that we call “Peter's Picture.” It's a free series online for anybody. It's all research-based, evidence-based strategies, so it really helps kids with those -- in those early years, develop literacy skills. So some of the kids never been exposed to ASL. Never seen it before, they don't know what it is. They still can look at something like, this and benefit from it. So I'm going to show you just a little clip from that particular series, “Peter's Picture.” You can see, this is letter recognition activities. And bilingual strategies in place. So there's ASL being in the environment, and print being in the environment, so we're looking at English print, looking at ASL features, and so let me just show this to you. [ Video ] This is Peter going, Hey, this is my friend. This is my picture pal. You're going to see a letter come up. Wait, wait, wait. It's letter recognition time! What's a letter? Huh, I don't know. Why don't we ask picture pal. Let's see. What's a letter? What's today's letter? Did you get it? Did you see it? Did you see it? I didn't see it. No. Did you see it? Audio, ask it again, please. >> Yeah, yeah, I saw it. It's a "B". >> Right. Today's letter is "B." "B." Let's see. Why do we use "B"? Ah, let's ask picture pal. What places have a "B"? Where do we go that starts with "B"? What a great idea. The back yard. >> Back yard. What's that? >> Okay. Think about your house. And behind your house, that's what we call "the back yard." Maybe we should go out to my friend's -- Bob's house. He lives way out in the country. We call him "country Bob." [ Laughter ] Bob has a HUGE backyard. Maybe it doesn't look like yours, maybe yours is a little different. There's a lot of different kinds of backyards. Little tiny tiny backyards. Flat backyards. Yards with a fence and rolling hills of grass. Yards without a fence. But trees everywhere. >> What are you saying? >> I have a back yard and I have flowers in my back yard. I can pick them and smell them. They're lovely. 

>> OOHH. 

>> Yeah. 

>> What is your backyard look like? Maybe yours is just giant with hills as far as you can see and no fence. What does yours look like? All right. Now sign along with me. Let's sign it together. The letter b-a-c-k-y-a-r-d, back, did you say yard? 

[ Video stops ] 

>> So you see, it's not just the signing of a particular word. There's an explanation of what it is. A little bit of fingerspelling. The print. All of that together in one entity. This is another one, too, that talks about -- this is last night. Remember we were talking about the environment kind of stuff. And attention-getting behavior. Here's a model. How to get attention. Or teaching how to get attention. 

[ Video ] >> Hey! Hey, hey, hey, it's me. >> Oh. You silly girl. This is not the way you get my attention. If I'm paying attention to something else, pound on the counter. Okay, that's enough. Good, good, good. And if I don't look at you, another way you can get my attention is to flash the lights. >> Oh, yeah! Like this. >> Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's enough, that's enough. That's good. Once or twice. That's all you need. >> There you go. Yeah. >> But, by the way, what do you want? >> Um, oh, yeah, I know. >> A napkin? Okay, the napkins are right over there. And the sign and fingerspelling of napkin. >> Napkin. Yay! >> Debbie: So that's -- so -- it's possible for any of you to show this -- to develop these skills still through media, technology. That's out there for you. So this is another one where we talk about hand shapes in ASL, what are the signs that all use a similar hand shape? Playing with phonology. 

[ Video ] >> Okay. The end. Everybody enjoy the story? Now, what hand shapes came up in the story? Can anybody tell me? Yes! This hand shape. Right. You caught it. Good job. You guys are smart. Now, what is that hand shape? What do we use that for? >> For waving, hello. >> Walking. Saying, no thank you. Or, thank you. Or, c'mon. >> Great job. Good work guys. You were quiet. You paid attention to the story. Good job. >> Oh great! I love the end of this story. Where all the friends went off together, because that's us. All going together. Right? Great. [ Video concluded ] So the story that she just signed is the ones that has repetitive hand shapes. There's a butterfly, a moth, that kind of stuff. So the signing story has that particular hand shape. Rhythmic quality to it. So, again, whatever happens in preschool, is going to be with that child the rest of their life. Children can benefit. If you're using this bilingual approach, ASL and English, tying those two together, all of the kids benefit and it doesn't matter who they are. It's all going to be good for them. But, if that foundation isn't present in the first place, you're going to have delays. It's going to be hard on them the rest of their life. The foundation has to be 100%, full access to language. And ASL can be a foundation for all kids, even if they're ones who are going to use spoken language. So if you provide that high-quality, positive early language experiences and literacy, but really high quality, then whatever happens in preschool will benefit that child for the life -- their life. Is an example here, you'll see a deaf adults today who had that exposure. They'll be -- oh, you're going to see some -- a film of a deaf man who was somebody who had that foundation. And this is just one of the ways he talks about language. So... [ Video ] >> I don't know if you can read that. These hands give me American Sign Language, ASL and what if I didn't have ASL, where would I be? Would I be successful? Maybe? Maybe not. I will never know. One thing I do know, ASL allowed me to thrive and develop. And succeed in my reading and writing. In my work with others. It's simple, really, just my hands. But they empower me to thrive. If you sign ASL, you will, too. 

[Video concludes] 

Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much.

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