Two of our children at Portland House took great delight in showing staff and friends at nursery photos of themselves in a very special calendar 2018. They had taken part in this special fundraising activity for the charity organisation ‘SHABANG’ which supports children with additional needs and their families by creating accessible and inclusive projects for children and young people.

There were lots of familiar faces in the calendar from children that have previously attended Portland House over the years and it was wonderful to see how they had grown and flourished.The calendar is designed to help children with regular and everyday vocabulary with the use of Makaton symbols which parents can introduce each month to extend their child’s signed vocabulary.


Shabang is a small local charity based at the Watershed in Slaithwaite. They make creative projects especially for children with additional needs, including specialist work for younger children at preschool and early year’s stages. Their work is visual, musical and high impact, making the most of children’s learning styles at an early age. They are great believers in learning through movement and helping young brains and bodies work together – but all in a really fun and accessible way which all children love!

Shabang have a wealth of original songs to help them do this and a bunch of eccentric characters to guide the children through the songs and routines. They use Makaton signing as well to make songs extra accessible. There is a weekly group “Little Tiddlers” every Wednesday and Thursday, hosted by Old Barnacle Bill and Barmy Bess – a nautical themed session where the children join in with a wide range of musical activities from pulling on the “Anchor Rope” to reaching for the stars with their “Star Steppin’” song to enjoying a multi-sensory session in the “soft room”

You can find out more on their website and download some of our songs for free

About Makaton

For more information about Makaton, training, resources, symbols and signs go to the Makaton website at

Makaton symbols and line drawings are reproduced with permission from the Makaton charity (

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