The Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) preschool class focuses on listening, speech, vocabulary, language, social and pre-academic skills. Students range in age from 3 to 5 years and are placed through an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Students attend school for either half day or full day sessions Monday through Thursday. Students may also qualify for speech services from a speech therapist. Students in this classroom use hearing aids, cochlear implants and BAHAs to access sound. All students use FM systems to hear the teachers from a distance in the classroom and through noise.
DHH preschool class time is devoted to intentional language activities that are designed to promote speech and language development and academic success. The DHH teacher uses the Cottage Acquisition Sales for Listening and Language and Speech (CASLLS) to track developmental milestones necessary for expressive language skills.
The DHH preschool setting is very unique compared to early childhood settings and attendance is strongly encouraged for students with hearing loss if it is appropriate and least restrictive. The class size should not exceed 7 students with some exceptions. Some preschool students with hearing loss may be better served part time while in a general education setting part time or be provided Teacher Consultant (TC) services in the home district instead. DHH preschool is encouraged for most students with hearing loss for several reasons.
Top 10 Reasons to Attend DHH Preschool:
- Children learn to use hearing equipment properly on a daily basis.
- They learn to become good reporters when their batteries are dead or the FM is not on or working.
- They have the opportunity to meet peers who use and wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.
- Parents have more opportunity for training from a DHH teacher to support skills that need to be practiced daily at home.
- They are not overly stimulated with sound as in a larger preschool classroom. They listen, use, and expand language skills in a quiet structured setting with ample opportunity to practice language correctly.
- They have intensive and intentional prescribed listening and language activities in small group for optimal listening and language development.
- The DHH preschool teacher systematically tracks language and creates goals for optimal development. Language samples are taken daily and a language inventory is used to track development
- The students have many opportunities to use expressive language correctly.
- In the DHH Preschool, language is modeled and monitored at all times by a teacher and a paraprofessional.
- Centers and lessons are set up specific to their language delays and a teacher consultant cannot fill in those delays and gaps. Gaps tend to increase significantly after preschool, especially when students miss out on this intensive and intentional listening and language instruction during the preschool years and cannot be “caught up.”
Age-Appropriate Tasks to Work On
If you do not have internet or a device at home for students to access virtual field trips, no need to worry! You can make productive use of this extended break by working on some fine motor tasks. The following tasks can be easily incorporated into your everyday routines.
- Practice washing hands independently, and drying them!
- Peel an orange
- Wipe tables
- Slice banana (you can use a dull knife!)
- Work on buttoning
- Work on zipping coats/jackets
- Putting on socks/shoes
- Pouring drinks
- Feel different textures (make sure to describe the textures to incorporate language)
- Learn how to fold washcloths
- Help prepare meals (breakfast/lunch are easiest!)
- Use a dustpan and broom (the smaller the better)
- Sort items small-large
- Sort items by color (maybe sorting clothes before a wash)
At-Home Seasonal Crafts
Most of these crafts use items that you might already have at home. If you are in need of additional craft supplies, a good place to find inexpensive craft materials without leaving your house is Amazon.
- Marshmallow Shamrocks: Stamp marshmallows into paint and then practice counting “1, 2, 3” as they stamp out shamrocks
- Bunnies: Bend and glue toilet paper rolls to stamp bunnies
- Chicks: Stamp wine corks to make the body, then add arms, legs, face etc
- STEM Easter: Use jellybeans and toothpicks to create a tower, you can also use fruit snacks or any type of chewy candy that will hold the toothpick
- Green Pepper Stamping: Cut a green pepper ( or any color ) and stamp it into paint and onto paper using a fork to create shamrocks