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Clowning Around in schools


Hearts and Minds – the charity behind the Clowndoctors – is offering support to special education needs schools

A charity is set to expand its award winning services in special education needs (SEN) schools.

Hearts and Minds, which runs the Clowndoctors in hospitals and other medical settings, has announced a new and exciting and fun new programme for schools across Scotland.

Clowning Around is an art and play programme specifically designed for children with special educational support needs. Using the art of therapeutic clowning professionally trained artists engage children in play, music, dance, song, puppetry, games and storytelling. The Clowndoctors use improvisational skills and expertise in non-verbal communication and play to create tailored programmes to suit individual needs.

The programme will consist of live interactive sessions delivered virtually by the Clowndoctors to individuals or a small groups; personalised videos for pupils; live visits to the classroom (when restrictions allow; and a Laughter Yoga workshop for staff.

Clowndoctor on Call virtual visits were developed in response to Covid-19 as face to face visits in the classroom had to stop and Hearts and Minds were determined to keep the connection with pupils and bring moments of joy and laughter into the classroom. The virtual visits have begun at Fairview School, Perth, where they have been a huge success with staff and pupils.

Leigh Verdot, head teacher of Fairview School, said: “We are thrilled to still get our weekly fix with the Clowndoctors.  It is great to see the smiles and enjoyment from our pupils when they are engaging with the Clowndoctors on the iPads.  Things are so different with Covid restrictions, so our weekly visits are one of the best parts of the week now.  All our staff are learning from the Clowndoctors too.  We couldn’t ask for a better start to the week!”

Rebecca Simpson, chief executive of Hearts and Minds, said: “I am delighted to finally launch at our new school programme- Clowning Around. With 21 years' experience of delivering our Clowndoctor programme it is exciting to be developing this work for schools across Scotland. The feedback we have received already has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the impact on the children. The programme is full of fun, laughter and creativity and will bring smiles to classrooms.”

The programme is open to all schools in Scotland who have pupils with complex learning needs and the programme can be tailored to suit the individual or a class. The team at Hearts and Minds will liaise with staff to provide a bespoke series of sessions.

For more information on Clowning Around see the website.



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