Some children are extremely sensitive to unfamiliar people, unexpected noises and new experiences. There are simple things that your setting can do to help visits run smoothly for these people and ensure that their experience with you is delightful rather than stressful.
Offer materials to help school groups and parents to plan in advance. Having a sensory or autism-aware pack available on your website for staff or carers to download prior to their visit is very easy to set up and can make the world of difference for some people.
The pack doesn’t need to be complex. Include photos of key staff and their names. Pictures of important places the children will be visiting are vital. Show them some of the things they will see and where they will eat their lunch. Don’t forget to include a photo of your toilets as this area can be particularly challenging for some children. If they can see in advance what they toilets look like it can often help them to be more relaxed and prepared. If you have a hand dryer, consider turning it off, if you can, for particularly sensitive children. Offer them towels instead.
Make sure your information packs include directions to quieter areas. Where can children go to calm down if things get too much for them? Can you provide simple ear defenders for them to wear? If you have any autism friendly education materials, this is a great opportunity to explain what you have and how to access it.
We can review your provision from the eyes of different clients and help make your setting more inclusive and accessible for all. Contact us at Exciting Education if you would like help reviewing your educational and SEND provision.
Damien Hinds, Education Secretary, recently stated that he believes there are 5 foundations for building character that encompass an extensive list of activities. They are:
Sport – which includes competitive sport and other activities, such as running, martial arts, swimming and purposeful recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, gym programmes, yoga or learning to ride a bike.
Creativity – this involves all creative activities from coding, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, film making and music composition.
Performing – activities could include dance, theatre and drama, musical performance, choir, debating or public speaking.
Volunteering & Membership – brings together teams, practical action in the service of others or groups, such as volunteering, getting involved in the #iwill campaign, litter-picking, fundraising, any structured youth programmes or uniformed groups like Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Scouts, Cadets and Duke of Edinburgh.
World of work – practical experience of the world of work, work experience or entrepreneurship. For primary age children, this may involve opportunities to meet role models from different jobs.
We have created character building programs this year that have resulted in a significant increase in school visitors to our clients.
We can work with you to design a school offer that encompasses these values and attracts more school visits to your site. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we could help you with this.
Salcombe Paddleboarding are poised for growth after receiving a series of school bookings since announcing their enhanced educational offer. Exciting Education have worked with owners, Kate and Marcus, to develop a bespoke offer to schools based around their unique setting and skill set.
As well as the thrill of paddleboarding along the stunning Salcombe estuary, schools now have a range of exciting, extra-curricular study options to choose from.
One of the most popular activities being booked is the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds unit we have developed. Children can choose from a range of physical activities including Kung Fu, Yoga, Circuit Training or Healthy Cooking to help develop their bodies. The Healthy Minds options include activities designed around raising self-esteem, exploring 10-a-day for improved mental health and developing multiple intelligences.
Owner, Kate Nolan, is delighted with the response she has had from local schools.
‘We are so glad we decided to work with Exciting Education!
They have been professional, friendly, knowledgeable and adaptable from the outset and have worked hard to really understand us and our business. They have given us the confidence and tools to take our paddleboarding business in a new direction, being able to offer schools a really exciting, current, valuable Paddleboarding and wellbeing programme.
They listened carefully to our wants and vision and used their skill and expert knowledge to create a program which will increase our visitor numbers, enable our business to grow and be valuable to schools and children, but most importantly, fun!
Thank you so much, Exciting Education, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you!
Contact us if you would like to increase school visitor numbers to your attraction.
World Autism Awareness Week is celebrated in April. It is a great chance for everyone – including leisure and tourism businesses and charities – to raise money and awareness of autism for The National Autistic Society.
You could use our hints and tips below to support the autistic visitors to your business or charity.
Creating an Autism Friendly Setting
Marketing – ensure your promotional materials, social media and website let people know you offer an autistic friendly setting and how
Website – ensure that information is clearly signposted and and downloadable and offer a FAQ
Maps – offer maps showing areas of potential sensory overload (noisy areas/unexpected noises/extreme visuals), quiet areas and ensure that these are up-to-date
Trails – create downloadable trails that are autism friendly
Specialists – work with local and national autism societies and groups to develop your inclusivity
Training – have all staff conduct autism friendly training – not just those working directly with people
Information – through visual stories, maps and information about the setting, let visitors know what to expect
Champions – make it clear through badges – or another visual – who they can approach that has an understanding of their needs
Quiet Sessions – offer quiet sessions and days where people can avoid sensory overload – such as noise and crowds
Quiet Space – offer spaces where people can escape from sensory overloads
Warnings – through maps and warnings ensure people are pre-warned about visual or auditory displays
Packs – offer packs with autistic friendly activities and objects – including ear defenders
Trails – have trails that will enhance experience and understanding but not over stimulate
Communicate – ensure that communication supports inclusivity – e.g. using PECS
Evaluate – try to obtain feedback from autistic visitors and their families and friends – how can you improve?
Continue – continue to improve and develop your offer using feedback and the good practice of others
Partnerships – using partnerships with other settings and community groups can enhance your offer and give you ideas that will make a positive impact on your visitors
If you would like to know more about how to improve your setting and make it more inclusive to all the websites above have many posts, downloadable materials and useful guidelines.
Alternatively, we can support you with a thorough review of your provision and our inclusivity training
School trip ideas with with a World Book Day twist.
With World Book Day approaching, we have been thinking about school trip itineraries with a difference. We know demands on teachers are increasing; therefore, the more leisure and tourism and heritage venues can support them when planning their school visits, the more likely they are to book.
There are many authors, tales and stories originating all over Great Britain that will inspire young people to engage with storytelling and stimulate their imaginations. Many of these stories, and the wonderful authors who wrote them, are celebrated all year round; however, there is no better time than World Book Day to start hunting for inspiration for your next educational visit.
Click on the links below to access our itineraries.
If you require any help creating itineraries for your setting, marketing to schools or improving your education offer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we would love to hear from you.