We run Singing Hands Educational Concerts in a wide range of settings for various groups and organisations such as Down’s Syndrome Support Groups, Portage Groups, respite settings, SEN playgroups, “Disability Rocks” (inclusive music festivals) and London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo Special Children’s Day. Our performances are fully adaptable depending on the needs of the event organisers and we can cater for smaller specialist groups to large theatre-based events.
Children’s Hospital Schools & Hospices
As parents of disabled children ourselves, we are particularly passionate about our sessions at Great Ormond Street Hospital School and Evelina Children’s Hospital School in London.
Every Tuesday during term-time we work at GOSH Children’s Hospital School. This involves working on the wards with various children – many of whom are long-term patients at the hospital. We are fortunate to be the ‘ladies in red’ (so we do not get mixed up with nursing staff in blue) and the children know we are coming to join them for learning and fun. Each bedside session is bespoke and responds to the child’s individual learning needs. The sessions are just magical and the experience at each bedside is always unique.
At the end of the school day, we run a group session at 2.45pm in the Activity Centre for patients who are able to leave their ward and any siblings. This session in a non-ward setting is a great way of enabling children to socialise with other children and experience singing together, sharing props and taking turns, much as they would be if they were at home and attending nursery or school.
Tuesdays are one of our favourite days of the week!
Singing & Signing “I Dig my Garden” with Alfie at GOSH
Just wanted to say a special thank you to Suzanne and Tracy for visiting us on Koala Ward when S was recovering from her neurosurgery. This was an extra special treat for S, who has autism, and her Mummy as they were having a difficult time coming to terms with being away from home and family. S loves singing and Makaton so the familiarity made her feel much more at ease and not so different after all.
You are both very kind and special ladies with the most fab shiny red boots, who made a very precious little girl and her Mummy feel much, much better. Sending a huge hug of gratitude xx
S & her Mummy Jan (GOSH)
Two Fridays a month we visit Evelina Children’s Hospital School (part of St Thomas’s Hospital next to Westminster Bridge, London). As with Great Ormond Street we spend much of our day on the wards with our exciting trollies full of props doing bedside sessions with individual children and their carers. We also visit bays such as Dialysis, with groups of children who are together each week for their treatment. We love these sessions as so often nursing staff, auxiliary staff, cleaners and parents are all singing and signing together – it’s incredibly special.
People often ask us if it is ‘sad’ working in a hospital/hospice setting but it really is not – it’s a privilege to be able to do what we do. To be able to bring a smile to a child’s face in that environment is hugely rewarding. Repeatedly, we see children respond physically to the songs – music really is therapeutic and uplifting. It might be a very subtle change where their heart rate calms or their breathing regulates to them not using their PCA (patient-controlled-analgesia) during the session or transforming dramatically from quiet and withdrawn to smiley and engaged.
Sometimes the sessions are just as beneficial for the parents as they are for the children. The hospital setting can be so overwhelming that to observe your child having a bit of fun or responding or doing the ‘only smile we’ve seen all week’ during a session gives a much-needed boost to the family too.
In addition to hospital settings, we are familiar with working in hospices and have been a frequent visitor and fundraiser for Shooting Star CHASE Children’s Hospice where Suzanne’s daughter Ella used to receive respite care. In these settings, we strive to make our sessions create special and ever-lasting happy memories for parents, their child and any siblings too.
SEN Support Groups & Ad-Hoc Events
Usually we are booked by groups looking to celebrate an occasion or to bring together their whole membership for a jolly e.g. to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. As with our school and nursery settings these can be smaller groups or large events. We are able to adapt to suit whatever the group would prefer.
Each concert starts with a big welcome and a signed story and then we move onto the singing with our lively range of multi-sensory Makaton signed songs about emotions, feelings, farm animals, jungle animals, mini-beasts, the weather, transport, colours, numbers and much more. We bring everything we need with us including our exciting range of visual, tactile and auditory props for the children and their families to enjoy. Our multi-sensory approach is the perfect vehicle for children and young people of all abilities to practise their signing and enjoy making music together.
Yorkshire Down Syndrome Support Group #WDSD16
Thank you for visiting us in Portsmouth today. Wow! What a fantastic session! Our families all had a wonderful time listening to their favourite songs such as ‘Mmm Mmm Frog’ and ‘The Pirate Song’. The children loved the movement, singing and signing and were so completely absorbed that we could have gone on all day. Who knew learning could be so much fun!
It was great to meet you both. Your dedication and passion for what you do really shines through, and we have received lots of positive feedback from the parents and children. Thank you for making our day!
Rachael Ross, Chair Portsmouth DSA
Many thanks Singing Hands for coming to visit us ‘Up North’ in Darlington. We hope you enjoyed your day as much as we enjoyed having you. Your professionalism and natural manner proved to be a winning combination and you have every one of our beautiful children, and the adults, thoroughly involved in the sessions. Thank you for making it a truly memorable day which the whole family could be involved in regardless of age or ability. We can’t wait for you to come and visit us again!
Maggie Hart, Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome, Darlington
Want to book us for a visit?
If you are interested in Singing Hands coming to your organisation or group to run an Educational Concert with your children and/or staff, please contact us (click on the button below) and let us know your requirements. If you are a specialist setting looking for staff training and/or Makaton training for your staff/parents only, please contact Brenda or Zoe in the office and they will be able to help with your enquiry.