Australia’s first television series designed to help deaf and hard of hearing children develop early literacy, numeracy and communication skills is being aired on ABC2.
Education Minister Kate Jones said the Department of Education was the driving force behind the new Sally and Possum series. “The 30 episode series is designed for children aged four to eight years who use Australian Sign Language (Auslan) as their first language,” Ms Jones said.
“Deaf and hard of hearing children can face major communication obstacles and the television series supports our commitment to inclusive education and universal access to a kindergarten program in the year before full-time school.
“The series was locally produced in collaboration with early childhood teachers of the deaf, experts in early childhood language and literacy and members of Queensland’s deaf and signing community. “We have given the ABC exclusive unlimited free to air television broadcast rights for three years.” Ms Jones said Sally and Possum uses play-based learning techniques to boost early literacy and numeracy development.
“The programs include an Australian English voice-over to enable siblings, carers and friends to also enjoy the production,” she said. “The first series focuses on pre-reading concepts for younger children.
“It covers concepts such as ‘up and down’, ‘hot and cold’, and ‘smooth and rough’ through narrative, play and exploration in a kitchen and backyard. “The second series targets children aged from five years, helping them to develop early reading skills.
“Both series use engaging characters, bright colours and every day environments familiar to young children, along with special guests such as Kindy ambassador, Jay Laga’aia.
“A Sally and Possum website has been developed to compliment the series and will soon include two integrated and mobile Apps to help children build on the concepts featured in the show. “Brisbane-based video production company Khemistry produced the series in collaboration with early childhood teachers of the deaf, experts in early childhood language and literacy and members of Queensland’s deaf and signing community.”
Ms Jones said the Queensland Government had invested $2 million in the ground-breaking series.