Sign First: Teaching European sign languages as a first language

Category Project

Ausgangslage und Ziele

The research project Sign First was initiated by project partners (schools and higher education institutions) in Greece, the Republic of Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The aim is to develop—and make available to teachers—curricula, materials, and tests for teaching a sign language as a first language for children ages 4 to 7 years.

Project Management

Tobias Haug Title Prof. Dr.


Professor für Gebärdensprache und Partizipation bei Hörbehinderung / Leiter Bachelor Gebärdensprachdolmetschen


  • Duration
  • Neue Projektnummer

Methodical approach

The study will obtain an overview of existing curricula, materials, and tests for teaching a sign language as a first language by conducting a Europe-wide survey.

Based on existing curricula for Greek and Dutch sign language, curricula and guidelines for teachers in the sign languages of the partner countries will be developed (including Swiss-German Sign Language, DSGS).

Existing materials for learning a sign language for children with hearing loss and their hearing parents will be examined; materials from partner countries may possibly be adapted for the individual partners’ own contexts.

We will create an online platform where all of the materials will be made available to the public.


Through the strong inclusion of project partners, the developed materials can be directly implemented in the schools and evaluated.

Project website


Financial support


  • Herman, R., Grove, N., Haug, T., Mann, W., & Prinz, P.
    The assessment of signed languages.
    In G. Morgan (Hrsg.),
    Understanding deafness, language and cognitive development. Essays in honour of Bencie Woll
    (S. 53–72).
    John Benjamins.