Yesterday was 'our' day to go and see the Christmas production at my younger daughter's school. When I say 'our' day, that's because due to the number of people who want to come and see it, they can't fit everyone in for a single performance, so there are three, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the classes are allocated a day to go and watch.
You see, DD2 is autistic and she attends a school for children with special needs. It's in a village about nine miles from us and she gets picked up and dropped off by mini-bus along with six other children from our locale who go to the same school. Unfortunately, the school was originally built to educate approx 80 children who wouldn't manage in a mainstream school, but now has a approx 160 pupils - but the school's the same size. It's a bit of a hot potato subject, as the school hasn't been made bigger or moved to bigger premises, but many of the pupils have portacabins as classrooms. They're quite smart portacabins, but still...... There was even a story in the Daily Telegraph last week about it as the headteacher (who in my opinion is the type of person who should receive an OBE rather than someone who scored two goals for England) is Fed Up.
Anyway, yesterday, my parents, my mother-in-law, my older sister and I squeezed into the hall along with lots of other parents, grandparents and other people who wanted to come and watch and were entertained for a couple of hours by these special children, many of whom find every day a struggle to get through due to their varying disabilities and sensitivities.
Younger Daughter's class did a version of the nativity. She was a mouse. I sent in a pair of white trousers and a white t-shirt and ears on a headband were made, and facepaint was used for whiskers and a pink mousey nose! She said her one line "I can't see for all these animals" in what I assume was her mouse voice, but didn't really want to join in with the first song. For the second song though, she got hold of a microphone. The teacher did attempt to get the microphone back, but my littl'un wasn't having any of it, so sat on the front of the 'stage' and sang the whole song into the microphone - drowning out all the other children. She wasn't allowed the microphone for the third song, so had a paddy and was taken back to the classroom!
What's so good about this school is that such behaviour is accepted as par for the course. A teacher in a mainstream school may have been embarrassed or got cross with a child whipping away a microphone (that would have been the case at DD1's primary school). At this school, they accept that there are some things that can't be managed without a great deal of fall-out and upheaval and if it's not going to be that much of a problem, they just let things ride for a while.
It was a lovely morning and there was a fair bit of sniffling and tissue-use, especially at the end when one of the senior boys announced that the next class on would be singing "Feed the World" for all those less fortunate than they are. That's food for thought.
There were two raffles. One, for a signed photograph of Sebastial Vettel (no idea who managed to get hold of that) raised £400-odd and the second, for various gifts such as hampers, spa vouchers, that type of thing, raised just under £1100, which was a fantastic effort from the PTA.
The event was filmed, so I'm hoping it's the version that will make it onto the DVD that parents can buy.