Sunday 16th July marked Disability Awareness Day in the UK. Tops Day Nurseries showed their support by holding various activities across their settings to help the children to gain a better understanding about disabilities and how to help those living with disabilities.
Children, staff and parents of all abilities are welcome at Tops Day Nurseries, and they believe that it is important to make their children aware of the different kinds of disabilities and accept them, as well as providing the children with ways to overcome barriers they may face themselves.
Some nurseries within the Tops family had a very special visitor join in with some of the activities, their beloved mascot Marty Mouse. As Marty is unable to speak and can’t see very well, the children talked about how they could help Marty and include him in their activities. The children were very caring and compassionate towards Marty, they were aware of Marty’s disabilities and proceeded to hold Marty’s hand to guide him around the nursery, telling him to ‘be careful up the steps’ and watch his giant ears when passing through doorways.
The children are very excited to present Marty with his new glasses, and can’t wait to show him the brilliant portraits they have drawn.
Following Marty’s visit to Tops Christchurch, the children discussed how to care for others who may need additional support. One child from the pre-school room mentioned how she had ‘poorly eyes’ but now she has glasses they are fixed. This sparked a discussion on how Marty could wear some glasses to support his vision too.
One child said “we have to look after Marty because he can’t see, but I held his hand so he doesn’t fall over” whilst another commented “Marty Mouse can’t talk, but he has big ears to listen with.”
The children also showed Marty their mark making skills in the sand pit, using sticks to create lines and letters. They encouraged Marty to try this activity, knowing that he is unable to speak the children decided this could be another way to communicate with him.
Jenny Hawley, Nursery Manager at Tops Christchurch commented “I am extremely proud of how well the children dealt with Marty’s abilities. The children worked together on how to show Marty their favourite areas to play in, such as the water wall and mud kitchen. Since Marty’s visit, the children have been a lot more understanding of each other’s needs and show compassion to everyone around them, which is so lovely to see.”
Tops Salisbury, formally Toy Box Day Nursery, joined the Tops Day Nurseries family earlier this year and the children based at the hospital setting were very excited to meet Marty Mouse for the first time. Introducing Marty Mouse was not the first change to have taken place at the nursery, the nursery has recently acquired a number of new resources to facilitate the children’s developmental needs, allowing them to have more opportunities to learn, take risks and grow.
One child at Tops Salisbury said “we sang a song with Marty in our garden, I showed him the den we built” whilst another commented “We are making Marty some glasses and I drew a picture of him so he can see it next time.”