Evergreen School in Warwick helps local children with special needs learn to sing and dance
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The event was part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of local company Widgit, developers of a visual language which uses symbols and imagery to help children and adults with speech and language difficulties to communicate more easily.
Learning the words to a song or the steps to a dance can be a significant challenge for children who find it difficult to read or speak. The symbols and imagery designed by Widgit specifically for the Evergreen School workshops explained key words and phrases in a visual way, such as ‘sing’, ‘twist’ and ‘jump’, helping those children with communication needs to learn the lyrics and moves for their dance routines.
Lisa Cleveley, head of my language and literacy at Evergreen School, said: “Communication is essential for children who struggle with speech and language as it allows them to express their feelings and emotions and become more independent as they grow.
“The symbols Widgit has created for the school helped to give every child a voice and I know how excited the pupils were to put on a show for our local dignitary, and be shared with their families and peers.”
The sensory workshops run at the school gave pupils with additional needs the opportunity to learn new song lyrics, stories and dance choreographies using symbols to visually illustrate moves such as ‘squeeze and explode’ and ‘rainbow’, with the help of creative arts not-for-profit organisation Spectrum Community Arts.
In addition, Widgit created symbolised signage to help children navigate their way around the school independently and a communication board in the playground which includes symbols such as ‘be kind’ to encourage pupils to make friends and play safely.
Sue White, senior education specialist at Widgit, said: “We wanted to celebrate our 40th anniversary by giving back to Warwick, the community where our success began, and where we are still based. We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to support Evergreen School in putting on such an exciting and inclusive event for the children and families of Warwick.”
Widgit has grown from a small family business to a very successful organisation with a team of 40 employees. Its symbols are used in thousands of schools, homes, healthcare and leisure settings around the world and are increasingly being used to ensure key public services, local attractions and sporting venues are inclusive.