This month we visited St. Giles School in Derby and lead African drumming workshops for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties. Here is Steve Rivers' account of the day:
The main challenge of the day was to engage with children who all had a diverse range of special needs. Half way into the first session I realised that my normal workshop format needed to be radically changed and adapted to meet the level and needs of each child in the group. It was not possible to always anticipate what was going to work and, as a result, alot of the content of the workshops such as the rhythms, songs and activities were spontaneously put together 'on the hoof'. This was infact a wonderful place to be for myself as a workshop leader and the groups who participated - to drop ones normal workshop template and act spontaneously with the group made the session feel more real and authentic. It meant I could reconnect with the real spirit of group drumming and rhythm and this seemed to have a knock on effect with the children. There was a particlular lad who came back to each session throughout the day. I found out later on that this really was a fantastic break through for him, as he very rarely participated in any social activities.
The day ended with us all singing a wonderful African song called Djole, plus there were some fantastic dancers in the classes who loved to take turns dancing in the middle of the circle to the beat of the drums!
Unbeatable Energy would like to thank all the staff for being such brilliant participants with the children in each session and also for providing us with such great feedback. Here is what Denise Sansom the Assistant Head had to say about the day:
Unbeatable Energy were able to recognise when activities needed to be tweaked and adapted in each session. This was particularly helpful, as many of our children can struggle to respond and engage with the normal workshop content provided by visitors. Unbeatable Energy managed to tailor and modify their content to meet the children's diverse special needs.