Teaching European Signed Languages as a First Language


I.E.P., within the framework of Strategic Partnership in the European Programme Erasmus+ aiming at the development and enhancement of transnational collaborations among agencies/organizations in the field of education, implements the European project “Teaching European Sign Languages as a First Language” with the distinct title SIGN FIRST” (2016-1-EL01-KA201-023513).

The State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) is the National Coordinator of the Erasmus+ Programme.

The transnational Strategic Partnership consists of seven (7) different organizations from 3 EU countries (Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands) and an independent organisation from Switzerland.

I.E.P. is systematically creating accessible educational material. In 2015, I.E.P. developed the first multimedia material for teaching Greek Sign Language as a first language for the kindergarten http://www.prosvasimo.gr/el/gia-mathites-me-provlimata-akohs/vlepw-kai-mathainw), as well as for the first two grades of Primary School (http://www.prosvasimo.gr/el/koita-me-kati-sou-leo). This material is the basic tool for the implementation of the project.

The Project aims to design bilingual curricula for the development of literacy for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired pupils as well as to effectively facilitate inclusion in school environment.

In this framework, the main objective of the Project is to train teachers who teach European Sign Languages to hearing-impaired pupils as a first language, by using an integrated educational programme and suitable teaching material, so that teachers in turn will be able to contribute to the improvement of the target group’s performance at school.

“SIGN FIRST” is addressed to kindergarten children and pupils of the first two grades of Primary School, aged 4-7, with the potential to be extended to pupils of higher grades.

Aiming at the dissemination of the Project’s results, I.E.P. organized a Meeting for the Dissemination and Training on Teaching Greek Sign Language on Saturday 10 March 2018 in the Jacqueline de Romilly Hall, Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. The scope of the meeting was to inform all the interested agencies at a national level about the rationale, the aims and the deliverables of the Project. The meeting was attended by appointed and substitute teachers of deaf and hearing-impaired pupils, students of Greek Sign Language, members of the Deaf Community, deaf and hearing-impaired pupils’ parents and the general public.

This action as well as the Project in general supports the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs educational policy implementation in relation to the mandatory teaching of the Greek Sign Language as provided for in the Government Gazette 1239/2017: “Regulation of substitute and hourly-paid teachers issues in the structures of Special Education”.

Finally, I.E.P. organised the final Conference, one of the central actions of the “SIGN FIRST” dissemination plan, which was held in Athens on 28 - 29 September 2018 after the end of the project’s activities in Greece and after the 4th transnational meeting. The Conference was addressed to approximately 200 persons. The participants were teachers of nursery and primary schools for the deaf, the parents’ representatives and deaf adults’ associations as well as substitute teachers, students and researchers.

The final products of the “SIGN FIRST” project are:


Duration of the project: 01/09/2016-31/01/2019

Project Manager for I.E.P.: Vassilios Kourbetis

For more information on the “SIGN FIRST” project please visit the project’s website: http://www.sign1st.eu/en/

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