The LOTE program at Strathaird provides students from Foundation to Year 6, with the opportunity to learn Auslan (Australian Sign Language). There are two dialects of Auslan, Northern and Southern; at Strathaird, we focus on teaching the Southern Dialect of Auslan. Auslan is the native language of the Australian Deaf Community and is closely connected to British Sign Language. It is a visual language that has its own grammar and vocabulary, and is comprised of precise handshapes, facial expression and body movements to convey concrete and abstract information.

Auslan foccuses on the principal of HOLM + NMF (Formally HOLME):

Handshapes – Auslan has 38 handshapes with 28 variants.
Orientation – The direction your palm and hand are in relation to your body.
Location – Signs are made near different parts of the body to convey meaning.
Movement –Movement of the actual sign
Non-Manual Features – The use of facial expression and body movement to convey expression and meaning.

Alongside Auslan, students are also taught how to fingerspell. Fingerspelling is an integrated feature of Auslan and is mainly used to spell out nouns such as names of people and places, as well as loanwords where there is no allocated sign for a specific word.

Learning Auslan broadens our students understanding that languages are evolving systems and that they contribute to our own cultural and personal identity. Our Auslan Program is a celebration of inclusivity and diversity, and fosters the values of empathy, connection and understanding.