When you aren’t around children much you forget how noisy they are en masse! So why were my PA and I venturing into the lions’ den?
It’s because we were invited to speak to a local Cub pack. They will be working for their “Disability Awareness” badge in January and they wanted an introduction to braille. So we set off in search of said Cub pack…
We arrived at the front entrance of the school where they meet. We spoke to a couple of people who re-directed us to the back of the school. We walked round the perimeter, across the car park at the back, and eventually we found them.
When we entered, we encountered around twenty 8-10 year-olds. I think exuberant would be a good description!
I started by saying a few words about Louis Braille and handed out cards with the braille alphabet on. I then showed them some children’s books in braille which I borrowed from the ClearVision Project for whom I proofread.
Two of the books were print books with braille interleaved on clear plastic. I heard one child pipe up, “I think I’ve got the hang of it now!”
My PA went over, and turned back the print pages so they could only see the braille. Then she brought some Cubs over to hear me read.
They also loved the tactile books made by volunteers who sew and embroider to embellish the pages. I love these books too, and particularly like the page in Little Red Riding Hood with a door that actually opens and closes. (Little things amuse me!)
They enjoyed trying out my talking kitchen scales. I had provided two clementines for them to weigh.
I then got them to pair up. One child had to close their eyes, take the arm of their partner and let them guide them round the room. I was impressed by the enterprising ones who took their “blind” charges up the steps onto the stage.
They asked lots of interesting questions. One observant girl noticed I was wearing glasses so I tried to explain that I have a tiny amount of sight. She also noticed I was wearing a necklace and wondered how I got dressed and put on jewellery. Another shared his grandmother’s experience of using a liquid level indicator. I’m afraid I just put my finger in the cup when I want to know how full it is!
At the end I was given a rousing chorus of “Bravo!”
We waited to hear them sing “Jingle Bells” and then sallied forth again into the car park.
It was a lively evening. we enjoyed it and hope they did too!
By the way, for those who read my blog regularly: the John Lewis Christmas ad is audio-described. Thought it would be!