Bubbles and messy play: Using 50 Things for communication and enrichment in our SEND school
Charlotte Millea, Acting Deputy Head at Co-op Academy Delius, shares her school’s experience of using 50 Things for fun with SEND pupils.
My biggest passion is to ensure that all children have access to activities and experiences which are memorable, exciting, and encourage communication. This is especially important to consider for those children who have life-limiting conditions. When I heard that Andrea wanted the ‘things’ to be relevant and achievable for every child, I expressed an interest in supporting the Special Educational Needs aspect of the project.
Working with parents to ensure an inclusive 50 Things experience
When liaising with parents, it was apparent that for some, engaging in activities with their children - especially out in the community - was a hugely overwhelming prospect. With this in mind, we provided specific need-based suggestions, to make the idea of participating in these activities less daunting for families. As a leader of a primary SEND school, I recognised that these activities would provide enrichment and communication opportunities for pupils of all ages. Unanimously, the families welcomed the concept of working towards the ‘50 things’ as they felt that the activities themselves were age appropriate. Further to this, some saw it as an inclusive resource to use with all of their children at the same time.
Thing No. 8 'Bubbles' is our favourite!
As a teacher, the favourite session that I have led using ‘50 things’ was #8, ‘bubbles’. Working with Nursery children with a wide range of needs, we had a variety of bubble-based activities to engage the pupils; various wands, a switch operated bubble machine (whereby a child with limited movement can press a button to switch the bubbles on and off) and huge tub of soap flakes. I wanted to add another dimension to this concept, and so I lined the floor with bubble wrap and the children were encouraged to walk over it, if they were able to. Even more exciting, was to hear and feel the bubbles pop as we pushed the wheelchair users over the bubbly path! We had huge giggles of anticipation during that activity!
50 Things is part of our long-term curriculum
Our Senior Leadership team have embraced the communication opportunities that ‘50 things’ provides for our pupils, this is highlighted by the fact that we have incorporated the ‘things’ into our new long term curriculum. At Co-op Academy Delius, we have also found that the ‘50 things’ have been the most motivating homework topics for our children to participate in. Teachers would set one of the 50 things as a task for the holidays and families would send their photos back via our Class Dojo app; this supported our recent home-learning work as families already knew how to use the technology and had some confidence in sharing their home experiences.
‘50 Things’ has undoubtedly supported confidence in some of our families, and enhances our work to make our pupils’ childhood experience the best it can possibly be - both at home and school.
Charlotte is Acting Deputy Head at Co-op Academy Delius, a special school in Bradford. As a mummy of a 4 year old, she spends time most weekends Woodland Wandering (No.34); she has even got their own swing which they take along with them!