A few weeks ago, Eamon and Ruth of ITV’s This Morning were joined by a dance loving duo, Katie Sparkes and her daughter, Poppy.
Katie and Poppy, who has cerebral palsy, excitedly told the nation about their inclusive dance group, Flamingo Chicks. Katie originally set up Flamingo Chicks as she was frustrated at the lack of accessible and inclusive opportunities available for Poppy.
Now, six years on, Flamingo Chicks sees 3,000 disabled and able-bodied children come through its classes each year and throughout the UK. The dance classes not only provide a safe space for children to learn routines and meet new friends, but it also offers their parents a place to seek support.
Putting Together a New Routine
As drastic changes suddenly swept the nation, Katie knew exactly how Flamingo Chicks could help.
She tells us: “With parents of disabled children reporting just how challenging it is to get them engaged with home schooling during lockdown, Flamingo Chicks created these unique sessions fusing active learning with dance.”
Katie and her team have created a series of fantastic, fully adapted online classes, each Makaton-signed, that are suitable for children with a wide variety of needs. The aim is to use dance and movement to delve into new topics such as outer space, chemistry or coming to terms with the new need for face masks and effective hand washing.
Katie enthuses: “These unique online classes are suitable for children with a wide variety of needs, including those with life limiting conditions as well as children with learning disabilities, autism, physical impairments and children without additional needs so they are perfect for siblings to join in too. We film using green screens with animated backgrounds, so the classes not only get kids moving but immerse them in a magical world of storytelling, characterisation and music.”
Check Out the Chicks
New classes are frequently added to the Flamingo Chicks website and YouTube page. You can check the videos out here: https://flamingochicks.org/athome/. You’ll also find some brilliant original stories written by the team and read out by some familiar faces!
If you’d like to learn more about Flamingo Chicks or volunteering with the charity, head over to their website: https://flamingochicks.org/. And while we all adjust to a new way of life, we must all be sure to keeeeep dancing!