A end of term play with inclusion at it’s best   5 comments

Today (7th July 16) I had the pleasure and honour of watching my grandson’s school play.

So what? I can hear you saying – lots of Granny’s go to watch their grandchildren’s school play. This is true – but this play was something very special because it represented something I value – inclusion.

My grandson Dominic has Asperger’s – and in his own words attends a ‘school full of children with Asperger’s and other things’

He really wanted me to go and see his school play – I knew because he told me several times during his calls to me towards the end of the school day, when he makes a almost daily phone call with his teachers permission to tell me about his day at school. That in itself shows not only Dominic’s relationship with me but also his schools efforts to support him. As it happens I was going to attend on Friday but due to his mum having to attend an appointment with one of Dominic’s siblings I was able to go today (Thursday).

I had never been to Dominic’s school before but it is a specialist school and also very new. I arrived in plenty of time and parked in the car park. Another lady parked at the same time and we chatted on the way into the school building and while we waited – and even sat together. She told me that her son who is 14 was also in the play and that he had come on leaps and bounds since starting at this school. We chatted about some of the difficulties with understanding the children have, and how difficult it can be when not the only child in the family (her child is a middle child, and Dominic is the eldest child in his family).

As soon as we sat down in the hall, I knew we were in for a treat. We spotted the respective children – her son came up to her and said ‘Hello Mummy’ before being encouraged to go back to his place. Dominic was sat with his back to the room at a piano, but he kept turning round and scanning the room – I saw his smile when he spotted me. I have to admit that I was surprised to see Dominic sat at the piano as I had no idea that he could play one!

The play started and as I thought we were in for a treat – and a lesson in inclusion.

Each child taking part was supported in one way or another to take part. Some had their words on small prompt cards, some had large folders with lots of pages with a few large  words on each page, some did not have prompt cards.

Staff were dressed as if taking part – some turned pages of the prompts,  some pointed to words, some said the words which the child then repeated, some signed, some sat on the floor near a child signing or using gestures for the child to follow, some guided the children with hand on elbow or back, some physically supported the child to stand / move.

Some children were visible for the whole play,  some were out of the main room but came in for their part.

Some had speaking parts, some did not, some sang, some did not, some did things alone, some did things as a group – but all did something.

I saw children supporting their peers with reminders, with picking up dropped props, with waiting for lines to be said, with guiding to the front of the group or to where they needed to stand.

I saw smiles, I heard laughter, I saw clapping, I heard cheers – I saw very well behaved children, enjoying what they were doing – each in his or her own way to the best of their ability.

And Dominic?

Well he did ‘play along’ on the piano to the all the songs – and tunefully, he sang a solo and had quite a few different lines to say through out the play – supported in keeping track of where he was, by a member of staff sat to the side of the piano.

Once all the cheering and clapping had finished, Dominic came over to me – as did his teacher. Dominic’s teacher told Dominic how proud she was – and that until the play started she had no idea that Dominic had piano skills (that made two of us). She also told me how fond Dominic is of me and how he is always talking about his Granny and asking if he can go to Granny and Granddad’s after school.

We (Dominic, his teacher and myself) all walked to Dominic’s class room where we chatted a bit more, and where Dominic collected his things – including some scones that he had made that morning – cheese and onion ones (but no bacon as Dominic reacts to bacon). Dominic was then released into my care as going home with me. I felt very honoured to have seen a little bit of Dominic’s school and to have experienced a truly inclusive school play where every child was valued and included – no matter what their individual skin colour, size, or ability is.

 

5 responses to “A end of term play with inclusion at it’s best

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  1. Lovely blog, Penny..

  2. How wonderful,you must be so happy and proud of your grandson.

  3. A very special proud sharing moment with your grandson Penny, and a memory I expect you will treasure.
    What a great school, obviously one that values each childs ability as a positive achievement and by giving them all a part in the end of term play a lovely opportunity to ‘SHINE’ before their proud family members.
    Best wishes to your grandson, and success with his piano playing.

  4. Thank you for this fantastic blog. I work at the school and was honoured to work with the children and staff to produce this play. I am so glad you enjoyed it and were able to see a snippet of what we do. We definitely have the children’s best interests at heart and they have made themselves and us as their teachers and support staff very proud, Thank you

  5. A wonderful piece! Thank you so much for your kind words. I also work at the school, but have only played a small part in the play since Wednesday, when I was asked to stand in for another member of staff who couldn’t play the role anymore! I am so proud of working for the school and was extremely proud of playing a small part in making this inclusive production happen. Well done to everyone involved!

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