On Saturday 3rd December 2016, a group of (very keen!) Makaton signing, Christmas-jumper-wearing UCLU Giving Voice members and committee members visited the lovely children at Downright Excellent, as part of a volunteering project.
This is the second year that we have been involved with Christmas festivities at Downright Excellent, and once again it was an overwhelming success. It’s questionable who had more fun – us or the children!
Downright Excellent are a wonderful London-based charity that provide therapies to children ages 0-11 with Down syndrome (speech and language therapy and occupational therapy).
Using a choice board, the children were encouraged to take turns and make choices about which songs the group would sing and sign to next. Although a clear favourite was Let It Go! (Frozen), other festive choices included:
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
12 Days of Christmas
Jingle Bells (complete with musical instruments!)
Wonderful Christmas Time
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
It was very overwhelming to see not only how engaged the children were with both singing, signing and leading the songs, but how much fun they were having; whether they were laughing at some of our not-so-accurate signing, out-singing us, or generally just having a great time, there were smiles all round!
We all came away from the morning in absolute awe: it was fantastic to see how much ‘voice’ each and every one of the children had to give. It was such a success, we were invited to support the children in the centre with some singing for their Christmas Party!
If you would like to get involved with our next visit in Spring 2017, or would like further information about volunteering opportunities at Downright Excellent, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Good singing and signing skills are definitely NOT required…