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Zippy – supporting children with communication and interaction needs

On Monday 25th March 2019, we visited Burpham Primary School CoIN Centre in Guildford to observe a Zippy's Friends for Pupils with Special Needs class. The CoIN Centre supports pupils with communication and interaction needs.

The pupils all welcomed Zippy at the start of the session and spoke about how they were feeling and any worries they had.

After a recap of the Zippy’s Friends rules, the session focused on feelings. During the lesson, the pupils looked at images of various scenarios, picked from a ‘mystery box’, such as falling over, or a friend breaking their toy. Using the feelings poster from the SEN materials, they were able to identify how the children in the situation would feel. Then the pupils came up with solutions to the difficult situation or feeling in the picture, and the group discussed whether they were good choices or unhelpful choices. Lots of great solutions that the pupils had learnt in other sessions were suggested, such as talking to an adult or playing with a different toy, and each pupil found that they had different solutions that worked for them.

After the Zippy relaxation activities to bring the session to a close, the children all told Zippy one goal they would set themselves for the week.

It was clear from that one class that the pupils valued the time to discuss emotions and coping strategies. During an interview after the lesson with the Zippy’s Friends teacher, Francesca Barret, told us about the impact of the programme she has seen so far:

“The children are able to articulate their thinking more and problem solve, and they’re also becoming more reflective when thinking about situations and what they could do to make a good choice.”

“Other schools should definitely look into doing Zippy's Friends for Pupils with Special Needs. The way it is written for the children means that it is something they can engage with, and it is exciting as it is all linked to stories and the children can follow the characters.”

 A huge thanks to Burpham Primary School for inviting us to a Zippy’s Friends class.

Emma Roberts
8 April 2019