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Move & Learn - for home-schooled children with additional needs

Born from the experiences of disabled adults who were home-schooled as children, Move & Learn isn't just a group - it's a community-driven movement. Its founders, passionate about empowering disabled children, recognised the need for a supportive environment where education and physical activity intertwine seamlessly.

At Move & Learn, we believe in the power of education to transform lives. But we also understand that traditional educational settings may not always cater to the unique needs of disabled children. That's where we come in.

Our approach is simple yet revolutionary: educationally themed fitness and crafts. By combining learning with movement and creativity, we create an engaging and inclusive space where children can thrive.

Picture this: math problems solved while stretching, historical events re-enacted through dance, and science experiments brought to life through hands-on crafts. Every activity is carefully designed to stimulate both the mind and body, ensuring that learning is not only educational but also enjoyable.

But Move & Learn is more than just activities—it's a support system. Disabled adults who have walked similar paths mentor and guide the children, offering empathy, understanding, and encouragement. In this nurturing environment, children not only learn but also grow in confidence and self-esteem.

Our community is built on the principles of inclusivity and acceptance. We celebrate diversity and recognise the value that each individual brings. Here, disabilities are not seen as limitations but as opportunities for growth and empowerment.

What is Move & Learn?

At Move & Learn, we support children 5+ who are being home-schooled and have a disability or long term health condition through songs, movement and interactive activities at New Springs City Church (130 Fulwell Rd, Roker, Sunderland SR6 9QR).

The aim of Move & Learn is to enable children with additional needs to meet children in similar circumstances, create lasting friendships and to engage with accessible crafts and fitness.

Each Move & Learn will be themed, with the themes announced online when bookings open on our website. The themes will align with academic topics of interest like Space, Nature and Cultures of the World.

This is a pilot programme that we hope to continue in the future!

Who is Move & Learn for?

Move & Learn welcomes up to 20 children per session, creating a vibrant and engaging environment for all participants. Best of all, attendance is completely free!

Should you feel inclined, you have the option to contribute to our group through donations, either in person with cash or conveniently online via our website. Every contribution, no matter the size, helps support our mission and ensures the continuation of our activities. We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support in helping us make a positive impact in our community.

This service will be for children with SEN disabilities, physical disabilities, children with complex disabilities and disabled children who are at high risk of exclusion from school. The group also welcomes children who are at the pre-diagnosis stage.

Why is this group for home-schooled children?

There are many reasons why parents of children with disabilities choose to home-school which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Being at pre-diagnosis stage and having no or inadequate support at school

  • Being at post-diagnosis stage and having no or inadequate support at school

  • Being at the mid-diagnosis stage (diagnosed with one disability, but waiting for other investigations; e.g. diagnosed with autism but awaiting ADHD investigations) and having no or inadequate support at school

  • On a waiting list for a special needs education setting or school

  • School has recommended home-schooling

Many parents report that there is little or no support for parents who home-school their children, let alone parents of disabled children who are home-schooled who require holistic support to achieve academically.

This is why we have created this group - to allow parents to meet and support each other while going through similar experiences, to signpost patents to other supportive groups and services, to give children and opportunity to play, learn and move in a supportive environment.

Is Learn and Move a school or education setting?

Learn and Move is not a school or education setting. What we are is a group that incorporates learning into play, exercise, crafts and stories to support the at home learning they receive from their parents, caregivers and tutors.

What kinds of themes will there be?

Although not an exhaustive list, some of our themes include:

Nature's Wonders: Explore the beauty of the natural world through crafts inspired by plants, animals, and landscapes.

Under the Sea Adventure: Dive deep into the ocean with sea-themed crafts, discovering the wonders of marine life and conservation.

Art Through the Ages: Journey through art history with crafts inspired by famous artists, movements, and styles, fostering appreciation for artistic expression.

Space Odyssey: Blast off into outer space with crafts featuring stars, planets, and aliens, sparking curiosity about the universe.

Around the World: Travel the globe through crafts representing different cultures, traditions, and landmarks, promoting diversity and global awareness.

STEM Explorers: Engage in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities, sparking interest in innovation and problem-solving.

Heroes and Heroines: Celebrate real-life and fictional heroes through crafts inspired by courageous individuals who inspire positive change.

Magical Kingdom: Enter a realm of fantasy and imagination with crafts inspired by fairy tales, wizards, and mythical creatures from around the world!

Learn & Move's Protective Measures

The sessions will be delivered by qualified Advance DBS staff, volunteers and trainers with a variety of certifications including Safeguarding Children, Safeguarding in a Learning Environment, Autism Awareness and ADHD Awareness.

Parents or guardians must remain in attendance for the duration, but they do not need to be actively involved in the activities.

Carers are welcome, but their information will need to be registered prior to attendance for them to be admitted (they will not be able to turn up on the day).

What happens at Learn & Move?

The two hour period will be broken up into four activities:

Activity 1

40 minute Inclusive Child-Focused Fitness

After being welcomed and oriented, children will be invited to participate in fitness activities and games using accessible equipment and sensory materials that support the educational theme of that day. If a child is not feeling up to this activity, a member of staff will be manning the creative craft station for the duration of this activity.

Activity 2

20 minute Healthy Snacks and Drinks

Food and drink will be available to children and adults present.

Activity 3

45 minute messy play

The children will be read a story pertaining to the educational theme before being invited to partake in a range of crafting activities inspired by the book and the theme.

Activity 4

15 minute sensory circuit

The sensory circuit will help reduce overstimulation at home post-group.

Activity One

The fitness options available will vary from accessible sports, to active games, to dancing depending on the available trainer and the educational theme. The activity will always be announced at the time bookings open so you and your children know exactly what to expect.

We often work with the wonderful Ashe from Danceversity who has an excellent community reputation for her inclusive dance programmes and events.

There will be a crafting station that will open 10 minutes into the activity so children who become overwhelmed or overstimulated will have the ability to choose a quite task instead.

Activity Two

Water, fruits and vegetables will be available to all people who attend, adult and child, free of charge.

Juice, teas, coffees and other foods will be available for a small fee to help fund the group.

Alternatively, if you'd like us to provide a healthy pack-lunch for your child, this will available to add to your booking for £5.00.

Activity Three

Through carefully selected stories that align with that session's educational themes, they'll delve into captivating tales that ignite their imagination and spark their curiosity. With each turn of the page, they'll encounter characters, settings, and plotlines that ignite their curiosity and expand their knowledge.

There will be cosy corners filled with cushions and fidget toys, where children are free to move about and let their imaginations soar as enchanting stories unfold before their eyes.

But the adventure doesn't end with the last page, it's time to roll up their sleeves and get crafty. Armed with newfound inspiration, they'll engage in hands-on activities that reinforce key concepts and foster critical thinking skills. From creating art projects that reflect the story's themes to conducting science experiments inspired by its mysteries, every craft becomes a gateway to deeper understanding.

From exploring the depths of the ocean to blasting off into outer space, every Crafty Storytime Adventure is a chance for children to learn, create, and discover in a supportive and inspiring environment.

Activity Four

A sensory circuit is a form of sensory integration intervention. It involves a sequence of physical activities that are designed to alert, organise and calm children with SEN disabilities. The sensory circuit aims to facilitate sensory processing to help children regulate and organise their senses in order to achieve the ‘just right’ or optimum level of alertness.

Sensory circuits are designed to start with alerting activities, move to an organising phase and then finally to a calming phase. Doing the activities in the recommended order is vital. The right order results in a well-regulated, happy child. The wrong order may well result in a dysregulated, upset or irritable child and have the opposite effect.


The aim of this section is to provide vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation within a controlled setting.

Example activities: Jumping/bouncing on a trampoline, skipping, running, rolling and bouncing on a yoga ball, animal walks, step ups, star jumps etc.


This section includes activities that require motor sensory processing, balance and timing. These activities help improve focus and attention. The child needs to organise their body, plan their approach and do more than one thing at a time in sequential order.

Example activities: Balancing, climbing, log rolls, throwing to a target, wobble boards, weaving in and out of cones, throwing and catching, jumping through hoops etc.


The calming activities are very important as they provide input to ensure that children leave the circuit and return to their homes calm, centred and ready for the day ahead.

Example activities: Proprioceptive and deep pressure e.g. yoga ball squashes, lying under a weighted blanket, linear swinging or rocking, heavy muscle work e.g. crawling through a tunnel, press ups etc.

Accessibility Features

The site has ramped access, level floors, wide doors and an accessible toilet.

All our crafts, messy play, and activities are designed with accessibility in mind - with adaptations and specific provisions so it is inclusive for all.

We will also have a sensory tent available in a quite space for children to use as they require throughout the session. The sensory tent is used at all our groups, programmes and events for children with additional needs.

Crafting Sustainability: Exploring Eco-Friendly Materials for a Greener Future

We will predominantly use natural and recycled materials.

The preference for using natural and recycled materials in crafts stems from several factors:

Environmental Awareness: Our thoughtfully selected natural and recycled materials, curated to inspire creativity and environmental stewardship! Our commitment to using eco-friendly materials stems from a deep understanding of their impact on our planet. By choosing natural and recycled materials, we reduce the demand for new resources, conserving energy and minimising pollution.

Sustainability: Embrace sustainability as you explore textures, colours, and patterns found in nature, transforming ordinary crafts into extraordinary experiences. Natural and recycled materials are more sustainable options because they can be replenished or reused without causing significant harm to the environment, unlike many synthetic materials which are derived from fossil fuels and may not be biodegradable.

Creativity: Let your imagination run wild as you navigate the challenges of working with unconventional materials, sparking innovation and fostering a sense of resourcefulness. Revel in the beauty of imperfections and irregularities, as they add character and charm to every creation.

Book your place!

Dates will be announced on our social media - keep an eye out for our next available day!

As we continue on our journey, we invite you to join us. Whether you're a disabled child eager to learn and move or a parent seeking a supportive community for your home-schooling journey, there's a place for you at Move & Learn.

Together, let's embrace education, empower each other, and pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future. Join us at Move & Learn, where education knows no bounds.

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