Hear Us Loud & Clear: Meet Deb
“I promote Loud & Clear at every fostering event and course I attend, and I’ll continue to do so. It’s an amazing little group with lovely staff, amazing resources and lots of variety in the songs and the activities we do.” – Deb, a carer and Loud & Clear attendee
Adoptive parents, foster carers and their families enjoy the benefits of music-making and group relationships in Loud & Clear: a programme at Sage Gateshead, launched in 2011.
Care experienced children between 0-7 years attend one of three weekly classes with professional musicians, also receiving resources to continue home learning.
The sessions — foster group, adoptive group and Moving Up for adopted 5-7 year-olds — support children to explore music in exciting ways.
“His speech and listening skills have improved immensely,” a participant says. “He now sings along and makes up his own songs most days. He did not show any interest or seem familiar with music at all in the early days.”
Friendships flourish in a non-judgemental setting for adults and children alike. The adults involved can share their thoughts and experiences and gather advice. These relationships enable people to reduce isolation on their journeys as parents and carers. The group sessions also support the personal, social and emotional development of the children.
“Coming to music group every Tuesday was one of the things that kept me going,” a parent says. “It was so friendly, the music was wonderful, and I met other adoptive mothers,”
“As my son is autistic the group helps him with his social skills and confidence building. It’s an environment where he is not judged, and neither am I. I don’t have to explain his behaviour or how I manage his behaviour.”
During the pandemic in 2020, 21 families attended 27 online sessions. Of those attending, 100% said that they experienced a positive impact on their relationship with their child, and 89% noticed an increase in their child’s musical skills because of attending classes.
Loud & Clear is in partnership with Newcastle and Gateshead Local Authority Fostering Teams, Adoption North East and Adoption Tees Valley.
A Newcastle Local Authority Fostering team member says:
“The use of songs and movement between parent and child is the type of attachment promoting interaction we talk to our adopters about.”
“Moreover, some of the children’s early experiences have been very difficult, and they have not been given the opportunity to play spontaneously,” they say. “Some will need to learn to play. For adopters too, this is a time of learning as many are new to parenting.”
One carer named Deb is a regular attendee, confident that the inclusive atmosphere caters to the needs of herself and the children in her care.
“Over the years, I’ve been to the sessions with 15 different children ranging from 4 days old to my daughter, who’s now eight and still tries to find excuses to come along when she can,” says Deb.
“All of the children get something different from the sessions. They all have favourite songs that they choose to sing from when they were young.”
Music learned during the sessions helps with communication. Naming body parts through rhyme is fun and supports the learning of vocabulary. Songs are used as ice breakers and encouragement for everyday tasks.
“I promote Loud & Clear at every fostering event and course I attend, and I’ll continue to do so,” says Deb. “It’s an amazing little group with lovely staff, amazing resources and lots of variety in the songs and the activities we do.”
- Illustrations by Lily Mae Kroese