Super signs of success as preschool leads the way

Published on: 24 Mar 2017

A DOWNEND preschool has become the first in the area to be awarded ‘Makaton Friendly’ status.

Lincombe Barn Playgroup has won the accolade after incorporating Makaton sign language and symbols into all its daily routines.

The 50 children who attend use Makaton in songs, during snack time, and to label the objects and furniture in the room.

Makaton is a system of signs and symbols used alongside spoken language to support communication, and is designed for children or adults who can hear.

It is particularly useful for children with speech difficulties. 

It is different to British Sign Language, which is designed for deaf people and has its own word order and grammar.

The Makaton Friendly scheme is organised by The Makaton Charity, and recognises businesses that support Makaton users in accessing the same services as everyone else.

South Gloucestershire Council has worked with the preschool to send staff member Kelly Foyle on a Makaton training course, and worked with the other carers on how to use Makaton with the children.

A spot check was then carried out at the preschool, which has been running for more than 30 years, before Makaton Friendly status was awarded.

Manager Kerry Sullivan said: “We are really proud to be the first preschool in the Downend and Mangotsfield area to be Makaton Friendly.

“We’ll now appear on The Makaton Charity’s map so people who use Makaton can find us.

“We’ve been using Makaton in the setting for around three years. We have children in the setting who don’t have English as a first language, or who have poor speech, and it’s helped them to communicate.

“Working towards being Makaton Friendly has helped us focus on it more. We now use Makaton signs and symbols frequently during the day so all the children learn it and can communicate using it.”

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