A Sensory Circus Sends in the Bubbles at Hollybank School!

We recently shared the news that Hollybank School have been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ result from Ofsted, and we decided to invite our pupils, families of pupils and members of local community groups to a small party to celebrate together!

A visit from a performer from entertainment group Storm in a Teacup did in fact go down a storm, with children getting involved in tactile exploration such as blowing and popping bubbles, LED hula-hooping, plate-spinning and smaller games throughout the day. The children loved tracing the movement of the travelling bubbles as they changed colour, and being able to reach out and pop them as they floated around the school hall made for a beneficial tactile experience.

The event was extremely well-attended, and the circus entertainment, cakes courtesy of the staff bake-off, and ukulele players playing buoyant tunes proved popular with pupils and their families, making it a great family bonding experience.

Dawn Hufton, Family Engagement Lead at Hollybank, commented: “Our pupils were in awe of the acts and colourful costumes on the day. The bubbles and LED lighting provided a sensory experience for the children, and pupils were able to cherry-pick the activities that caught their eye and the ones they wanted to try out. One of our pupils was fully engrossed by the LED hula-hooping activity, and another one of our pupils tried his hand at plate spinning, with the circus performer talking him through how to master his technique.”

The LED mood lighting, rainbow-tinted outfits and patchwork scarves and hats donated for children at Hollybank by a Kirklees knitting group matched the overall mood of the day – positive, bright, and celebratory of the recent ‘Outstanding’ result for the School from Ofsted! Storm in a Teacup tailored their performances specifically for children with additional learning needs and physical challenges. Unlike typical circuses, the event was tailored to meet its unique spectators, with muted volume, sensory lights, and interaction with family members and teachers so that the children felt at their most comfortable amongst the people who know them best!

Hollybank Trust regularly encourages immersive performances with audience involvement from Hollybank residents and pupils throughout the year, and their onsite ELMs Activity Centre even have their own amateur dramatics theatre group! Behind the scenes, they are getting ready to take to the stage for their annual pantomime performance at Hollybank Trust’s yearly Celebration Day.

Immersion in theatre and the arts for those with disabilities not only develops their confidence in speaking or communicating in larger groups, but it can also help to gradually increase the range of movement amongst those with physical disabilities. On top of that, engaging with sensory elements, such as mood lighting and vibrant bubbles, can improve gross motor skills for children and adults, which is why our specially-adapted sensory rooms across our homes are so special to us at Hollybank Trust.

Want to read more about the ‘Outstanding’ result for Hollybank School from Ofsted? You can do so here!