These second-graders start their school day by greeting their teacher who is deaf in sign language.
Kim Peyton, who is deaf and uses a bilateral cochlear implant, is a special education teacher at Gregory School in Long Branch, NJ.
Every morning, her class – which is a mixture of regular and special ed students – wait in line to greet their teachers.
But unlike most schools, they do it in sign language, despite many of the students not natively speaking the visual language.
The heart-warming video clip was filmed as students returned to school for the start of the new year.
Kim, their special ed teacher, can be seen standing at the doorway of the classroom with her students patiently waiting in line.
And as each student gets to the front, they jump naturally into conversation with her in fluent sign language as if second nature.
Each student says hello, and the pair wish each other a good day before hugging and entering the room.
Kim explain how the ritual came about: “This year in my school, I was assigned as the co-teacher in an inclusion 2nd grade classroom.
“I handle the special ed students, while my colleague handles the general ed students.
“My colleague loved that I am fluent in sign language, so we decided to incorporate it into our classroom.
“Being an inclusion classroom, we are one team, and all the students thought it was normal to have two teachers in the room as we worked with all the students together at the same time.
“So this became a natural way to start the day. The students loved it.”
The students only began learning sign language in September 2018 and signed right through to the end of the school year this past June.
But incredibly, the students have become so good at their ‘third language’ that their teachers now joke many are tri-lingual – English, their native spoken language and ASL.
Kim added: “They have embraced it to the point where we started using sign language as part of our school day without even thinking about how unusual that can be elsewhere. Many of the students are what I call “trilingual”; they know their native language, such as Spanish or Portuguese, as well as English and sign language.”
Kim says she now hopes her video will inspire other schools to start their day on a positive note and introduce sign language to their students.