In the early 1990s, my family settled in a small town in Central Queensland, called Springsure. It had a population of approximately 900 people. Springsure was chosen as a place to settle after 2-3 years of travelling throughout the Outback because I was due to start school.
We got into Springsure in late 1989, and I was enrolled at Springsure State School to start preschool in the new year. Being 4 years old, I had no idea what was going on. All I knew that I would be starting school and I would be making new friends. I do remember being excited about it.
By some magic, my teachers could sign. The kids in my class were taught to sign. All posters – alphabet, numbers, nursery rhymes, etc – had both written English and Signed English printed. I loved preschool.
1991 rolled around, and I was eager to start Grade 1. Again, my classroom was accessible. My teacher could sign. I had a teacher aide who “interpreted” for me. All of my classmates could sign. This was the same in Grade 2.
I had no idea about what happened behind the doors to make the school inclusive. Absolutely NO idea at all.
One day, I decided to ask Mum how it happened. What she told me completely blew my mind.