Monday, January 16, 2006
Putting on a brave face
Day two of the jumping jack puppets at school today and some are now actually nearing completing. Gave the kids the eyes, nose, mouth chat and it seemed to pay off. Pretty impressed with their grasp of placement even it some judicious cheating did take place when sourcing said eyes, nose and mouth, as you will see. We are getting to the stage now where they really need one to one attention to cut up and reassemble their puppets. Found a quiet cornet to do this with one pair but of course, someone else is earwigging, hearing only half the instructions and gaily chopping off the wrong bits. Made a date with a student teacher to go early next week so I can show her how which will free me up to start the safety pin puppet with the children who have finished their jumping jacks (God help me!)
If you are a regular reader you are perhaps wondering what of my meeting with the staff of the disabled work centre? All went well but with a bit of a strange twist in the tail.
It's a nice little centre with a small number of service users and a good staff ratio. The clients are mildly to moderately disabled and have pretty limited manual skills but some very interesting artists abilities, judging fro the work I saw.
Some of the staff have worked there for many years and are a bit jaded perhaps - and who can blame them, hard job. Others are younger, very upbeat and enthusiastic. The client base covers school leavers to senior citizens.
I showed the staff bottledog who happened to be in the van on his way to the school and once again he scored a major hit. Recycling is right up their street. I thought perhaps the staff could share the preparation between them (he is quite a high maintenance dog in the preparation department). Also thought if they made him on a kind of production line basis with their clients it might be a good idea. Each working according to his/her abilities. As long as everyone gets a dog to take home at the end of the day that's really all that matters.
I was trying to be brutally honest with myself when planning this training day. Not just showing them my favourite things but trying to show them things that might truly be of some use to them. The list came down to printing fabrics with home made blocks, ironing off paper bag patterns onto synthetic fabrics, working with bondaweb and perhaps some mega simple hole punched books....and all manner of simple recycled puppets of course.
The clients are taken on a lot of outings and photos of these outing decorate the walls. The staff told me the client enjoy displaying the photos and they hoped I might be able to make some new suggestions on that front. The advent calendar idea could be adapted I thought with a big frieze relevant to the outing, open the doors and there are the photos. The client are very into TV (me too) so there has to be lot of scope for making Daleks, etc. All and any suggestions most gratefully received. We're probably looking for stuff suitable for young primary kids.
So a successful visit and we are all looking forward to the training day. And the twist in the tail?
I had a profoundly handicapped baby daughter for whom I was unable to care. I haven't seen her since she was fifteen months old. She has grown up in the care of social services but I knew she was still in the area. She is now 23 and from time to time I have contemplated trying to see her again. I asked the lady who was showing me round today if she had come across my daughter and she replied 'oh yes, she's just across the road.' Chose not to take it any further today but I think I must. Guess this is fate telling me the time is right.