We've been thinking for some time that we would like to be able to offer children and their families more opportunities for engagement and play in and around our performances, and the natural solution is to provide Sensory Story sessions in our local area. We conducted a little bit of market research via some local social media groups for parents and could quickly see that some provision specifically for 0-5s with any form of special need, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed would be welcome.
Via the market research, Thrift Farm in Milton Keynes got in touch to offer their Food 4 Thought cafe as a free venue! So, the plan is now to test out a short series of free sessions over three months and then, if successful, seek funding to continue the provision. Twinkle, Twinkle, Christmas Star will be our first event, with additional sessions running in January (themed around snow, ice and cold) and February (themed around warm, fuzzy and love) 2019.
Each session will include a 30 minute Sensory Story where we will support and model to parents/carers how to deliver the story themselves, and we'll also provide them with a copy to take home and repeat. Following the session, families are welcome to stay on to play and chat. The session will be signed, Relaxed so children are able to join in however they need to in order to feel safe, and are designed to support calm and wellbeing for both children and their grown-ups.
Since opening up booking today we have been overwhelmed by the response, to the point where we've put on a second session as well as receiving enquiries about bringing the sessions to other groups, venues and locations throughout December! We're so looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this strand of work.
Huge thanks to Nadine and all at Thrift Farm for their support: you are so brilliant and so positive, and we love and appreciate that!