Children born profoundly deaf or are hard of hearing face special challenges when it comes to learning early literacy and numeracy skills. Recognising this disparity and determined to make a difference, Sally and Possum were born out of The Department of Education's (DoE) need for an engaging, entertaining and educational resource - specifically designed for deaf and hard of hearing children, aged 4 – 8.
Using Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and proven play-based learning techniques, odd couple and best friends Sally and Possum (played by Sally Strobridge and Melven Ratcliffe) help boost children’s literacy and numeracy skills as they find fun filled solutions to everyday problems. With help from friends, ‘real kids’ and TV personalities (Play School’s Jay Laga'aia), Sally & Possum has launched to an overwhelming response from children, parents and educators.
Sally Strobridge is profoundly deaf and a third generation fluent native signer of Auslan. Melven Ratcliffe is a hearing-child-of-deaf-adults, bilingual in English and Auslan. The character Skip, is introduced in season 5 and is played by Gavin Rose-Mundy, a profoundly deaf, fluent native signer of Auslan. All three are highly esteemed in the Deaf Community and experienced in the early childhood educational setting, they are strong performers and share a wonderful natural chemistry. Their energy and passion is instrumental in the effectiveness and success of the series.
Sally & Possum is produced for the Queensland Department of Education. The series was developed in consultation with the deaf community and in partnership with world recognised early learning experts and teachers of deaf children.
Sally & Possum was directed and produced by Ashton Ward, one of the directors of Brisbane creative agency Khemistry. For a look at what else Khemistry does, please visit www.khemistry.com.au.