I'd like other Brownies to use Makaton in their units

Makaton International Awareness Day takes place on 28 August 2022

26 August 2022

To mark the first ever Makaton International Awareness Day, we hear from one inspiring Brownie Freya-Rose on how she’s working towards her Speaking out badge.

Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols with spoken language. This Sunday 28 August 2022 is the first ever Makaton International Awareness Day.

Freya-Rose is a Brownie who’s been collecting signatures for a petition on something she’s passionate about. She has a speech sound disorder and is autistic.

She wants to encourage other girls and leaders to use Makaton throughout Girlguiding, and she’s using the petition to work towards her Speaking out badge. Here’s Freya-Rose on why it’s important to her:

What is Makaton? 

'Makaton is signing and symbols, it helps me to talk and let people know how I feel.'

What do you like about Makaton?

'I use it if I don’t know how to say a word. It helps me if I am nervous or scared or don’t understand. It also helps me if I am very excited. I used Makaton signs and symbols to help me learn my Promise. Brown Owl held a copy of the promise written with the Makaton signs so I could have a little help to remember what I needed to say.'  

How do you use Makaton in Brownies? 

'It helps me to talk when I can’t use my words. My friends and family know it too so they can help me. It’s lots of fun to sing and sign.' 

Can you tell us more about your petition - why do you want others to learn Makaton? 

'I did the petition for my Speaking out badge. I want people like me who use Makaton to be able to talk to and be understood by our friends in Girlguiding. I couldn’t really talk when I started at Rainbows. But I knew what I wanted to say. Makaton helped me to learn to speak and read. It helps me if there are Makaton symbols around as I know what I am supposed to be doing.

I am very lucky to be part of a unit who are very understanding of my needs and make sure that I am always fully included. I love earning badges and I would like them to be even more accessible to some of my friends. If I know that someone can sign I feel more confident.' 

Useful links

There are a few ways we can incorporate Makaton into our regular unit meetings. Why not teach your unit how to sign the Promise in Makaton?

Here are a couple of useful phrases for leaders asking girls to sign their Promise in Makaton. You can also find out more about the uses of Makaton and some basic guiding phrases here.  

If you’re looking to incorporate Makaton into your programme activities, try out Communicate stage 1 for . It’s a fun activity to encourage girls to sign and sing a campfire song in Makaton, developed with the help of The Makaton Charity.

The Makaton Charity website also has great resources available to download for children and parents / carers. It’s free to create an account, and you’ll get access to lots of useful Makaton vocabulary, activities, videos, songs and more.