Boys Town Hospital Preschool Inspires Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children to be Superheroes
Friday, November 5, 2021
“I'M THE HULK!" “SPIDERMAN!" “BATMAN!" “SUPERMAN!"
Boys Town National Research Hospital's preschool program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing inspires them to be anything and everything they want to be, including superheroes!
The program is focused on empowering children to reach their highest potential. Serving children since the late 1970s, its goal is to educate children to help them transition into a kindergarten placement with age-appropriate skills in every developmental area.
A Superhero Lesson Project
In the preschool, learning projects are based on students' interests. And there is always a lot of interest around superheroes. So, a project was developed around the topic.
See our creative project, in action:
“The preschool uses art as part of the program because art brings attention to the unique and varied ways that children can express themselves, and it highlights their ability to represent how they view themselves and the world around them," said Cathy Carotta, Ed.D., Director of Clinical and Educational Programs at Boys Town's Center for Childhood Deafness Language and Learning. “Art is instrumental in supporting each child's growth as it provides a vehicle whereby their thoughts, their emotions, and their imaginations are made visible. It helps children to demonstrate, using multiple mediums, who they are right now and who they are dreaming to become in the future.
The art program is under the direction of art therapist, Jill Dibbern Manhart.
A recent fun and empowering role model for the preschool children is included in the new Marvel movie, “Eternals," with lead actor, Lauren Ridloff, who is deaf in real life and the movie. The film includes sign language as part of its dialogue and adaptive techniques were used behind-the-scenes to help Ridloff on the set.
Adaptive communication strategies and sign language are used every day in Boys Town's preschool program to support the child's individual development. The family's values and culture drive the types of communication methods that are used. Teachers use a range of approaches including listening and spoken language, sign language, and picture communication systems with children who have cochlear implants and hearing aids.
The inclusivity of the first deaf Marvel superhero character is inspiring to our preschool children and other children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“The Marvel movie is an art form," Carotta said. “And we are happy to see deaf superheroes. This is exactly what we are sharing with our children – that they have unique, wonderful attributes to give to the world."
The preschool children completed a “Heroes Project" where they learned through a lesson plan that involved superheroes learning about the values of inclusivity and helping themselves and others reach their highest potential, values that are important to and align with Boys Town. In addition, the kids had a blast!
The Boys Town preschool, teachers and the lessons they create and teach, like the Heroes Project, empower young children to be everything they can be, an important lesson for them to learn when they are young.
Learn more about the Boys Town National Research Hospital's preschool program.