A special SEN storytelling session with Mrs Claus proved to be a huge hit at Paignton Zoo this Christmas, with additional dates having to be added due to popular demand.
The sessions, which were put on especially for families who experience sensory overload, were designed to be inclusive for those who might not otherwise be able to join in with typical festive-themed events. By providing an alternative activity with smaller groups, less noise and fewer distractions, Paignton Zoo aimed to provide a safe space for individuals with special education needs, or SEN for short, to participate.
The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of commenters expressing their appreciation on Paignton Zoo’s social media platforms. The event booked up so quickly that the zoo had to put on additional sessions to accommodate the huge demand, highlighting the need for inclusivity when hosting events like these.
“The sessions were very inclusive and Mrs Clause made the story personal by allowing everyone to contribute,” said Anna Messer who brought her 5 year old son.
This year was the first time Paignton Zoo had organized a SEN event and intends to host more SEN activities in 2023, which will be its centenary year.