Kids Day Out

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Today, was one of my favourite days of the school year, our annual day out courtesy of the charity, the Rotary Club. It is an initiative which pays for under privileged and special needs children to have a day out. It seems such a simple concept but for some of our children with complex needs, a trip to a busy, noisy and different environment is difficult. Fortunately on Kids Day Out, special needs children are in the majority at the park and there is an atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance and respect.

The Rotary Club organise different venues all over the country and our nearest is Paultons Park, aka Peppa Pig World. They always are amazing in making us feel welcome and there always seems staff everywhere to help the children enjoy the day out. Coupled with the Rotary volunteers they create a very special atmosphere. Sunglasses are essential on Kids Day Out to hide a few happy tears, it is one of those days which reinforces your faith in humanity and the kindness and care shown to the children is over whelming.

Today has been no different to previous Days Out, the pleasure and happiness on our students’ faces is heart-warming. Some of our most challenging and anxious students have been enjoying the rides and we have seen smiles and giggles. It’s an exhausting day (2nd highest ever Fitbit step score) but its one of the most important and rewarding days of the year. Our staffroom was buzzing with excitement at the start of the day as we all met up, it means so much to us too.

I cannot thank the Rotary Club enough for the pleasure they give to our students and staff in organising Kids Day Out. I’m not sure that they appreciate the amazing experiences they offer to our students, they are a stunning group of volunteers who make a powerful difference to our students’ lives.

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I love this picture of a glass fountain in the garden.  Paultons Park is one of the most beautiful theme parks.

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Little Sparkles

After the excitement and joy of a holiday, the week after is always getting back to routines and ‘real life.’ However I had been so focused on the holiday and the plans I had forgotten what a mad old week I was returning to, it’s been a real topsy turvy week with Mr S and I both having different work commitments to normal and various school events for the children happening too. Mr S and I have both had work conferences this week and they have shown the difference in the sectors we work in. Mine was a day event, bring your own lunch and sit in a school theatre on an uncomfortable bench. Mr S got to stay in a 4 star hotel, and after the seminars he enjoyed a drinks reception, river cruise and dinner and dance with a free bar!! The conferences meant I had a different working week and its completely thrown me, normally by lunch on Wednesday I’m nearly done for the week, this week it felt like I was just starting my working week. Fortunately, everything returns to normal next week, I do like my routines.

READ

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With Mr S absence I have been on bed time reading duty this week with Little Man. This is a privilege as my boys have a very fine tuned night time routine which they have developed and its definitely boy time. Although a little sad that I don’t get to read the night time story my heart swells with pride and joy that my son has a Daddy who always reads to him. I have read so much about the importance of a positive male role model and Mr S really is wonderful. Anyway this week it was Mummy’s turn to read and Little Man and I learnt lots about tractors! Normally whilst the boys are reading, little Miss and I sit on the sofa to read and listen to her books. This week this has been done a bit later but we’ve both loved her book, she has been reading Anna Hibiscus, this is a story full of beautiful language which really evokes the atmosphere of Anna’s life in Africa. I chose this book for Little Miss as I do find some of the school reading scheme books a little dull and I try to complement her library, it’s been a brilliant choice.

Personally, I am continuing the book on jobs which I started before the holiday, there were some interesting tales this week, and the call centre certainly brought back the memories of a part time job I had in my early twenties, well paid but pretty soul destroying.

Sadly, I have also read some of the obituaries of the Liberal Democrat politician Charles Kennedy who I have always admired and respected. I thought Gordon Brown described him perfectly as

“One of the greatest debaters, orators and communicators, who brought humour to politics, he was a man who effortlessly combined rock-like conviction with an openness to argument and a readiness to listen”

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LISTENED

Despite the general discomfort of the seating and limited hospitality, I did enjoy listening to the speaker at my conference. She spoke on a specific program, TEACCH which helps to organise and structure the ASD classroom and one that has shaped my practice. Whilst I did not ‘learn’ anything new it helped to refresh some of the principles and to reflect on developing the program into the digital classroom.

WATCHED

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With sunny weather and Mr S away, the television has hardly been on this week. Unlike Mr S, I don’t need to watch every possible game of cricket available on tv! The only programme I have watched this week was Long Lost Family, reuniting families. A strange choice as the premise really riles me as it tends to focus on adoption. The generation being reunited now are generally young mothers from the 1960s who had little option but to give up their children and for whom I have lots of sympathy. However, the generation of children being adopted now, don’t have a simple, sympathetic history and are likely to have suffered abuse or neglect. Despite what some media portray, children are not easily put up for adoption and the thought of such televised reunions in the years to come fills me with horror and dread. Despite this, I like the current reunions and it does give me an insight into the feelings of both the adoptees and their birth families.

MADE

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In the evenings, I have been pottering on my computer and I have made Little Miss some stationery this week. The theme is mermaids and I think it’s a rather cute design.

WORE

Inspiration is sadly lacking in this category this week, as I’ve worn nothing notable or different to my normal casual look. I did a sort out of my wardrobe so there’s some clothes I won’t be wearing again, but that’s more worn out leggings, old gym tops and greying underwear! Must make more of an effort next week.

So who is Seaside Sparkles?

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I am a private and quiet person yet I have decided to write a blog and publish it on the Web making it accessible to an unimaginable audience. This may seem an unusual decision but in this post I wanted to explain why I have done this and why my blog will always remain anonymous.

At home, I am quiet and shy, preferring the company of close family and good friends. This is rather at odds from the personality I display at work, where I am assertive (ok possibly bossy), positive and confident. Professionally I can take a leading role, comfortably leading whole school assemblies or delivering training to a group of a hundred staff without fear or anxiety. However home is my haven and where I feel most relaxed and creative. My relationships are developed by being with my family and friends and I use little social media, it may be hard to believe in these days but I do not have a Facebook account!

At present, my blog remains a secret from my family, for no other reason than because I’m a bit shy even with those closest to me! This blog is simply a personal project, my opportunity to record my memories. I’ve written diaries throughout my life, so this is just a digital diary.

My blog is anonymous firstly because I don’t like to court attention and I feel more comfortable under a pseudonym but also to protect the identity of my two children who are adopted. This means that birthday posts will be published randomly so as not to reveal birth dates, there will never be a picture of the children on my site and they will only be ever referred to as Little Miss and Little Man. This can be hard as I am such a proud mum but it is essential to ensure that the children are not found by their birth family until the legally permitted age of eighteen. I do think this will become more difficult as the children get older, the web has made it far easier to find people but I hope all parties will respect the rules created to support everyone. I do send a letter and photos every year to the birth family so I hope this is suffice until the children are young adults and able to make their own decisions on their relationship with their birth family. Mr S and I will always respect and support them in whatever decision they make.

I’ve been writing this blog for nine months now and am loving this project, it’s a perfect creative release for me and its really rather lovely to read back on the things we have been doing. To answer the question who is Seaside Sparkles, I am a Mum, wife, daughter and friend who loves to be creative and add the little sparkles to the lives of all those I love x