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Makaton makes learning fun for Bishop's Stortford primary schools pupils

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Pupils from Thorn Grove School got a chance to practise their Makaton skills with a visit to Bishop's Stortford's Wiggly Willow café.

The Year 1 children used the language programme – which combines signs, speech and symbols to enable people to communicate – to order their drinks and snacks from owner Sid Perry and her team.

Their teacher, the primary's modern foreign languages subject leader Emma Smith, said: "They also enjoyed learning nursery rhymes in Makaton and drawing pictures of Wiggly Willow."

In addition to serving home-made food and drinks at the Hockerill Street café, Sid and her team provide day services for people with learning difficulties to promote life skills. Opportunities include the chance to join the catering staff for work experience.

The not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2018, also offers a variety of training courses including Makaton and first aid.

It has become so popular that Wiggly Willow is negotiating to rent accommodation across the street in part of the building formerly occupied by The Audio File for its day services.

Sid is also fundraising to buy the freehold of the café building on the corner of Crown Terrace to safeguard its future.

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