Stacey Cumming from Aurora School For Young Deaf and Deafblind Children is the Outstanding Graduate winner in the 2019 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards
Awarded for teaching young deaf and deafblind children learn and develop skills in Auslan and spoken language helping them become effective communicators within in their early developmental years.
Eager to make a difference, Stacey began teaching at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) as a volunteer while studying her university degree. Her experience providing learning opportunities in the ward playrooms for children was the start of a growing passion for the underprivileged.
After graduation, Stacey taught in the burns and oncology wards at RCH and came into contact with children who lost their hearing through chemotherapy. That experience motivated her to work with young deaf children who are language deprived and whose learning potential is compromised by their deafness.
Stacey's teaching embraces both spoken language and Auslan to ensure deaf children acquire a strong language base in their early developmental years.
Stacey says the best thing about her work is seeing how the children benefited from learning new language and communication skills to interact with their peers and their community.
“The most rewarding part of our role in early childhood education is providing an opportunity for the children who attend Aurora to develop their language skills and leave as confident, caring, enthusiastic learners,” says Stacey.
“They are able to communicate with their peers, within the community, and are engaged and want to be here. I think that’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job, seeing our children succeed in an area that may not be available in a mainstream setting,” says Stacey.
With the prize money Stacey plans to visit Gallaudet University in America who are the leaders in research and practice in teaching deaf children in early childhood.
“I want to expand my horizons and become a leader in this field to support the communication and learning of the children we teach every day,” says Stacey.