Working together to promote children’s communication development – guest blog from Debutots

The aim of Beechdale Nursery, Consett, is for children to develop in a stimulating environment. Beechdale has highly trained and committed staff who work to create a supportive and enabling environment for all children, including those with communication difficulties. Each child is valued for who they are and the staff focus on the individual requirements of each child and respond appropriately.

Beechdale have been working with Debutots for the last 3 years and they say that Debutots is a great addition to their weekly routine and a perfect opportunity to provide a stimulating activity.  “The children don’t actually realise they are learning through the carefully crafted stories and dramatic play. It enables children of all abilities to express themselves, and supports development in intellect, creativity, physicality and social and emotional skills.”  Said Clodagh, Teasdale Outreach Support Worker.

Hollie, aged 4, is a pupil with communication difficulties at Beechdale Nursery who takes part in weekly Debutots sessions. Hollie’s parents say that Hollie has developed and grown in numerous ways during her time at Beechdale.  Hollie’s dad, Steven, said, “Hollie’s difficulties and needs are very complex and challenging to meet but with the supportive staff at Beechdale and through activities such as Debutots, Hollie’s skills in co-operation, listening, interaction and communication have greatly improved. Her confidence whilst working in a small group has increased her self-belief and this has produced some spoken words and enhanced her daily communication skills.”

Children who have difficulty with communication find stories and play wonderful stimuli for expressing their feelings through movement and facial expression. Clare, who delivers the Debutots sessions at Beechdale explained, “Hollie especially enjoyed our Dirty Dragon story this term. She loved stomping her feet and joining in roaring like a Dragon with the other children. Hollie loves to dance during the warm up and always has a smile on her face when she hears the music.”

When choosing a Nursery for Hollie, her parents looked for a setting that could best develop Hollie’s communication skills. “The results following Hollie’s time spent at Beechdale have been amazing.” Steven enthused, “Hollie is now much more confident and able to communicate more with us and other people. She has learnt to be herself and is able to express her feelings more.”

Hollie’s parents hope that in the future she will be able to achieve independence through further improvement in her communication, which will ultimately lead to an improvement in her life. Clare will miss Hollie when she leaves Beechdale – “Hollie is a delight to work with and I wish Hollie and her family all the very best for the future and I look forward to hearing how Hollie is progressing!”