Arran schools learn a new way to keep on singing

Pirnmill pupils perform on the Makaton video.

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Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, Arran’s wonderful, traditional Christmas school shows have been cancelled this year – so schools have had to be resourceful.

Classes in the primaries and early years classes across the island have been learning and practising some songs using Makaton sign language.

Many schools have celebrated the festive period with fun video clips for their school community and shared this through their school learning platform of Seesaw. They have come together on this project, to share with the Arran community and beyond on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Schools would normally sing together during assemblies, however, singing is currently not able to happen due to restrictions related to spreading the virus, so it has been adapted to Makaton ‘singing’.

By putting Makaton to songs, the children have been learning a new language in a fun way with songs they helped choose.

Two of the songs reflect ‘Positivity’, one of the shared values across primaries, which is much needed in these times including the Proclaimers ‘I’m On My Way’. The third song is a Christmas favourite, ‘Silent Night’.

The songs were filmed in the schools and were edited and released this week, just before the schools closed for the holidays. The final videos are available on Facebook, Twitter and the schools’ websites, so have a look out for them and enjoy!

Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on the ability to communicate with each other.

With Makaton, signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear.