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Makaton signs help road safety team communicate with special needs children
The benefits of using Makaton signs to help deliver road safety education to young children were demonstrated recently in a session delivered by Warwickshire’s road safety team.
Makaton is a language programme which uses signs and symbols to help people to communicate. Its use has been adopted by Warwickshire’s road safety team as part of recent restructure of the way road safety education is delivered across the county.
Carefully selected and recognised Makaton signs are now used in all road safety sessions for primary school aged pupils – to support communication, maintain attention, enhance learning and help them remember important sequences.
The Makaton signs were used during recent workshops at Welcombe Hills School, an all age special school, located in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Warwickshire’s road safety team says all pupils involved in the workshops responded positively to the use of Makaton, were fully engaged for the duration of the sessions, and able to evidence their improved knowledge, skills and understanding.
A new approach
In September 2017, Warwickshire County Council launched a new ‘innovative’ primary road safety education programme – centered around its ‘Road Safety Club’. In addition to incorporating recognised behaviour change techniques and Makaton signs, it also includes the use of Kagan co-operative learning structures.
The Kagan system focuses on ‘engagement’, operating under the premise that when students are engaged, paying attention and motivated, they learn more.
Kate Castle, road safety officer, said: “Warwickshire Road Safety Club has recently undergone a huge and exciting restructure.
“Our vision of creating a current and effective road safety programme, which develops positive and safe attitudes towards road safety, required us to think carefully about the content and delivery of the sessions.
“Kagan creates a learning environment where all children are given opportunities to work together, solve problems creatively, listen attentively and make responsible decisions, ensuring focused road safety messages are delivered in a way that captivates and engages every child.
“The use of Makaton signs helps make the sessions exciting, memorable and most importantly fully inclusive for all, with teachers’ feedback providing evidence of this.”