PUPILS and staff at a primary school are practising sign language in their lessons and assemblies - and signed songs from The Greatest Showman in an assembly.
Holbrook Primary School in Gosport is keen to promote the system and believes that teaching it to their pupils is a good first step.
Their aim is to support those children who are unable to speak fluent English so rely on the Makaton system for communication.
The school is ‘Makaton Friendly’, meaning their services are easily accessible to those who practise the system.
On Friday the school invited guests including Caroline Dinenage MP and Gosport mayor Councillor Diane Furlong to watch the children sing songs while also signing the lyrics using Makaton.
Songs included in the performance were A Million Dreams and This is Me, two numbers from the hit film The Greatest Showman.
Headteacher Zoe Dudley was full of praise for the pupils at Holbrook.
She said: ‘I am immensely proud. They surprise and amaze me every time in assembly with their talents.’
She added the school is looking to become more inclusive by intertwining Makaton within the curriculum.
‘As as school we want to make sure every child has a voice – Makaton is essential in us doing this’, she said.
Makaton uses signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.
Children from reception up to Year 6 took part in the assembly, including head girl Ella-May Muscat.
She said: ‘Learning Makaton is important to me because from a personal background I have used sign language for my uncle, but also it is really important to me because people in this school need it.’
Pupil Kaydyn Taylor, five, has severe speech and language delay and needs Makaton to communicate.
He said: ‘Makaton helps me find my voice,’ and added: ‘Holbrook is amazing.’
Steven Moloney, a teacher in the school’s speech and language provision, said learning Makaton could help transform the lives of children who otherwise might feel isolated.
‘From my own experience, I have had pupils that have come to me and have not been able to speak – it’s babble,’ he said. ‘Learning Makaton has a massive impact on their lives.
‘Kaydyn, for example, really wanted to be friends with people but he didn’t have a way to communicate with them. Now Makaton has given him a voice he has become so much more confident.’
To find out more about Makaton, visit Makaton.org