Courtyard’s Inclusive Work
With thanks to vital funding from Children in Need and Hereford Community Foundation, The Courtyard’s Education Department have established a programme of inclusive work that offers those with specific learning needs or disabilities the opportunity to engage in fun, creative and educational workshops and sessions.
During the summer holidays the team delivered Be A Star, a week long series of arts activities that culminated in a performance.
Below is a blog written by a parent of one of the Be A Star attendees.
As a parent I would like to share my experience of our son using The Courtyard Youth Theatre. He is now in High School and has Down Syndrome, but in the past has attended lots of live shows and interactive family performances. More recently he has been to the Inclusive Workshops, that have been able to be run because of funding from Children In Need.
The days are really good value for money; the facilities and resources used offer a comfortable good environment, both inside and when possible outside. The themes are relaxed and variety of approaches take into account current popular themes and how our children may enjoy and get the most from participating. The staffing levels are good and some children have their 1:1 carers with them; information and details are organised well and professionally; individual medical, communication or issues planned for. Often the drama is alongside dancing, movement, art or music and there are lots of positive benefits in many different ways.
Our son also went to the summer workshop week and this worked very well with the mixed age group and abilities. Inclusion is promoted and encouraged by The Courtyard; we were able to discuss any potential issues before and they were willing to be flexible. Our son had an amazing time and other children and parents are so much more accepting as the are experiencing inclusion more often.
The main positive I have found is the team of staff that are quietly confident and able to consider each of the childrens’ needs and make the most of their strengths. The sessions are relaxed, fun and each child is able to contribute in their own way with smiles and encouragement. As parents we are offered a safe place where our children can make friends, feel valued for all they are contributing and also they are learning about themselves, others and the world. The children including our son found it so easy to relate to the fantastic staff; their individual personalities and abilities mattered and were accepted.
I also hadn’t realised, but the Relaxed Screenings of films in the studio are really geared up and you may find it is well worth a look. These special screenings mean that our families can see current films that their friends and other families are seeing and talking about. The usual formal seating is replaced by some settees, bean bags and space for pushchairs or wheelchairs. The children/young people can move around and not expected to be silent. The Studio is accessible being on the ground floor, just behind Courtyard reception.
Some of our children find it very difficult to find a place where they can relax and going to school, town or other public places can have challenges at times. As parents, you may want or need your children to go somewhere and it is reassuring to know that the children have such a great time with others and have a relaxed experience and are able to play. Apart from us being confident in where our children go, we want the experience to help our children become confident and happy young people and have opportunities to develop skills that not only entertain but that will help them in the future.
For more information about our Inclusive work, contact Rebecca Cook on 01432 346511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org