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Widgit’s 40th Birthday celebrations!

2023 saw Widgit celebrate its 40th anniversary. Widgit provides and creates symbols to support people worldwide to realise their full potential. It is a system used across most special schools and within most SEN settings to support the understanding of the written word.

   As part of their 40th birthday celebrations, they were collaborating with their local special school, Evergreen, in Warwick and wanted Spectrum to run some workshops for the whole school to engage with!! Months of planning and virtual meetings went into creating the perfect bespoke workshops with the school’s curriculum topic of ‘Celebrating Differences’! Over the summer Spectrum created 3 pre-recorded workshops - Faye created a ‘sing & sign’ video, Poppy a ‘learn a dance routine’ video and Jade a ‘sensory movement’ video. All three videos incorporated Widgit symbols, Spectrum energy and lots of fun! Each class teacher then chose which one best suited their pupils’ needs! The pupils worked hard, using these videos as a tool, to create something to perform for their parent/carers before Christmas!

   In November, Jade and Poppy went to the school for 2 days to work with the pupils with the highest levels of support needs in person. They transformed a classroom on each site into an immersive, sensory space and provided five 45-minute ‘The Smeds and The Smoos’ storytelling workshops each day!

Sue White, the Senior Education Specialist at Widgit Software said:

“Spectrum Community Arts was able to deliver a series of Sensory Workshops that were accessible to all pupils, in spite of complex needs and differing age ranges. To see each child engage, in their own way, with the different sensory experiences was absolutely amazing and brought joy not just to the pupils but to all staff and visitors too. A fantastic couple of days and I can not recommend Spectrum Community Arts highly enough!”

While the narrative and characters were based on the well-known Julia Donaldson story, the book they used in the sessions had been re-created by Widgit using their symbols and artwork to best suit the sensory offerings, live music and movement offerings on the day!! It was a really big event, with the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Sophie Hilleary, joining in too! There’s a write-up in the local newspaper here: No barriers to performing in Warwick - The Leamington Observer 

There were SO many wonderful moments throughout the workshops from pupils engaging with us who usually don’t transition from their own classrooms, to beautiful moments of independent choice and lots of smiles, sensory conversations and joy!

You can watch a video with some footage of these sessions JUST CLICK HERE

Nick, the executive head at Evergreen school said:

“I just wanted to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the entire Evergreen community for facilitating and organising the wonderful spectrum workshops across the school… everyone was just blown away by the impact of these sessions. It is not often that we can deliver workshops across the entire school that are so well designed to meet the varying needs of pupils. The spectrum team are clearly very talented and we just feel so fortunate to be able to work alongside you [Widgit] to deliver such a wonderful provision.”

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