Marine Academy Primary

Young girl poimtint at Makaton symbol for cutleryWe are the Makaton Champions from Marine Academy Primary in Plymouth. We would love to introduce ourselves to you and tell you all about the outstanding Makaton we do across the school.

In every class there is a selected Makaton Champion pupil. We have weekly meetings (which are invite only) where we discuss and come up with ideas of how we can improve the use of Makaton.

The Makaton Champions wear Makaton badges with pride, so other children can easily recognise who the Makaton Champions are. They are great role models who are superb at Makaton and want to help and learn more about Makaton.

Three pupils -two girls and a boy

Recently, the Makaton Champions came up with the idea of Makaton Mailboxes: a small box decorated with appropriate Makaton signs.

Each class has one. If a student or a member of staff would like to know a certain Makaton sign, they can write down the word they want to learn and post it in the Makaton Mailbox. Then in our weekly meetings, the children collect the mailboxes and learn what has been asked. Then they teach their friends the Makaton sign.

We have a designated Makaton Board for all staff, external agencies, parents and children to see. The board is filled with information about the Makaton Charity, the Makaton Champions, and useful website links that could be of use. The Makaton Board is updated weekly with the Sign of the Week (which is sent our electronically to all teachers too). Children learn the Sign of the Week and try to use it independently with their learning or when communicating to other adults and children. We read the Makaton Monthly newsletters and send them to the teachers to read too.

Young girl pointing at Makaton symbol for Classroom

In the past we have held Makaton workshops for parents and carers and have had the two-day Makaton Foundation Workshop for staff members to support their CPD.

Throughout our school we have Makaton symbols on the doors and the cupboards to support the visual image of the meaning of object.

Currently, we are learning lots of Makaton signs to complement our Christmas performances. When practising the songs in class, the Makaton Champion helps the teacher by demonstrating and teaching the signs.

When we have whole school rehearsals, the Makaton Champions stand at the front of the hall and performances the songs with the Makaton actions. Teachers get PDF documents of the signs they need to complement their songs.

Two young giels signing Tiny

We are very lucky to have Widgit's InPrint3 which our Inclusion Team use to make personalised resources with appropriate Makaton signs and symbols to support a child's learning, transitions or communication.

In the future we are hosting a Dudes Club, where dads can spend time with their children for one afternoon and take part in a variety of fun activities. One of the activities is going to be a ‘Makaton sing off’ of Christmas songs between the children and their parents.

We try our hardest to post our Makaton learning on Facebook and Twitter so please do have a look @MarineAcademyPlymouth (Facebook) and @MarineAcademy (Twitter).