History Timeline of Deaf Education in Sumner

  • Dorcas Mitchell teaches deaf children from one family in Charteris Bay. Teaches using sign language.

    1868 -1877 Gallery
  • Dorcas Mitchell applies for position of principal at the Sumner Deaf and Dumb Institution. She is unsuccessful.

  • The congress of educators of the deaf held in Milan, Italy recommended that the oral method was the most effective way of teaching deaf children. Sumner Deaf and Dumb Institution opened.Gerrit van Asch was appointed principal. Oral teaching promoted, sign language strictly forbidden.

    1880 Gallery
  • Sumner Deaf and Dumb Institution is now called Sumner Institution for Deaf-Mutes.

  • There are now 42 boarders and three teachers. The classrooms and boarders (boys) move to a larger house. Vocational training in farming and domestic work is given as well as classroom lessons. Teachers are expected to live in.

    1890 Gallery
  • First day pupil enrols 1904 Main Building opens, with specially planned classrooms and dormitory accommodation. As the roll increases this building is added to in 1912.

    1901 Gallery
  • Main Building opens, with specially planned classrooms and dormitory accomodation. As the roll increases this building is added to in 1912.

  • Edward Stevens, Principal of Sumner School for the Deaf.

    1907 Gallery
  • Experimental class of pre-schoolers starts.

  • Teachers start visiting parents. There are now about 120 students - day students and boarders.

  • Myers Park School for the Deaf opens - a satellite school under Sumner School for the Deaf.

  • James Crawford, Principal of Sumner School for the Deaf.

  • Thomas Chambers, Principal of Sumner School for the Deaf.

    1929 Gallery
  • Adult workers are now employed on the school farm and in domestic work, but senior students were still expected to help.

    A special listening room is fitted with a group hearing aid.

  • A new Boys' House is built and the older one is demolished.

  • Herbert Pickering, Principal of Sumner School for the Deaf.

    World War Two starts. School for the Deaf is used for military purposes. North Island children go to Titirangi.

  • Special teacher training commences at Auckland Teachers' College, instead of on the job at Christchurch.

  • Deaf education is still administered from Christchurch. There are now 144 students, the increase is due to a rubella epidemic.

  • Deaf education in New Zealand is now divided into two separate intake regions, due to a further increase of students affected by rubella. Deaf school in Auckland to stay.

  • Helen Keller visits Sumner School for the Deaf.

  • Teachers of the deaf are now trained at Christchurch Teachers' College as well as Auckland.

  • All students get hearing aids.

  • Four group aids are installed at the school.

  • The 75th Jubilee is celebrated.

    1955 Gallery
  • Training commences for Advisers on Deaf Children.

  • Boys' House is destroyed by fire, and the students are billeted, then accommodated in a hostel in Lyttelton for five years. Student dormitary accommodation is reviewed.

    1958 Gallery
  • The first unit classes are established at local schools. Te Aro in Wellington and Linwood North in Christchurch (1960).

  • First residential home opens with 12 students under the care of residential social workers and phasing out of dormitory accomodation begins.

  • First support person employed to assist in the classroom with students from the 1960 rubella epidemic.

  • Itinerant teacher support is provided for children in mainstream schools. Parents are encouraged to move close to a support school so that their children may become day pupils.

  • Sefton Bartlett, Principal of Sumner School for the Deaf. Each child receives two hearing aids. A Resource Centre and Library is set up for use by the whole region.

  • The philosophy of Total Communication in the education of deaf and hearing impaired persons is adopted and becomes part of Department of Education policy. Tuition is to be appropriate to the needs of each student. An integrated class starts with hearing students from Sumner Primary School. All boarders are moved into residential houses, and Main Building is closed due to earthquake risk.

  • Sumner School for the Deaf now called van Asch College. The Centenary is celebrated.

    1980 Gallery
  • "Main Building" is demolished.

  • Regional residential courses for pre-schoolers and their families are started.

  • First pre-school programmes start. The Resource Centre and library are extended to provide greater support for regional needs.

  • The first Board of Trustees is elected. Alan Bensley is the first Chairperson.

  • First deaf chairperson of Board of Trustees van Asch College.

  • Ian Cocks, Principal van Asch College.

    1993 Gallery
  • NZSL policy introduced. Professional interpreters are employed by the school.

  • van Asch College is now called van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

  • First bilingual class is established at van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

    First Deaf teacher appointed to the school.

    1997 Gallery
  • Margaret Trotter - first female Principal at van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

  • 'Anniversary Day' 10th March celebrated. Museum is officially opened. New Information Technology building completed.

  • Ian Cocks returns as Principal in November. The itinerant teachers of the deaf in the lower half of the North Island and the South Island are employed by van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

    2000 Gallery
  • Deaf Resource staff are appointed to positions in Palmerston North, Napier, Wellington and Dunedin.

    2001 - 2002
  • Hon. Ruth Dyson opens the Michael Parsons Cochlear Implant Clinic.

  • Telephone Relay Service starts. Draft NZSL Curriculum developed.

    van Asch DEC produces drama 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.

  • 125th Jubilee of van Asch DEC.

    van Asch DEC History Student dramas.

  • NZSL becomes New Zealand's third official language.

    van Asch DEC produces 'Story Time' dramas.

    2006 Gallery
  • Barry Newcombe PhD, Principal van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

    van Asch DEC produces drama 'The Tempest'.

  • 50th Anniversary of Boy's House fire commemorated.

    van Asch DEC produces play Oliver Twist in NZSL with voiced interpretation.

  • van Asch DEC Anniversary Day, 10 March, 2009.

    The van Asch DEC Whare "Tuawera" is opened, Saturday, 15 August, 2009.

    van Asch DEC produces 'Story Time' dramas.

  • Bernie Mulcahy-Bouwman becomes Principal of van Asch Deaf Education Centre.