Off to big school

Natania Alberts, 5, will begin kindergarten with a light heart and clear speech.

The Northmead resident will attend the Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children's Garfield Barwick School at North Parramatta, which aims to help primary pupils with hearing loss transition to a mainstream school by the end of year 6.

Her father Anthony said Natania, who uses two hearing aids to help her listen and speak, couldn't wait to start classes.

"She wants to go to big school," he said.

"She's very excited. The one thing she really loves is artwork — drawing, colouring and painting."

Mr Alberts said Natania's transition to primary school was helped by her time at the institute's reverse integration preschool.

The preschool was purpose-built to meet the needs of children with hearing loss, and also enrols children without hearing problems who become language and learning models for peers.

"The preschool has been supporting Natania with activities to get her ready for big school," Mr Alberts said. "They set up a play area that looked like a classroom to help develop the vocabulary and language she will need.

"Our whole family can see the difference.

"Every year she has an assessment and the last assessment showed she'd come a long way, from a serious delay to a mild delay now and she's still improving."

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