The Met Office has linked up with children’s charity Stories with Symbols to help produce learning resources on weather and climate for children with special educational needs.
Stories with Symbols is a charity that creates videos for children with additional speech, language and communication needs, and recently visited the Met Office to create a series of accessible videos on weather and climate.
It’s hoped the videos will be used by specialist schools around the country, as well as by parents and children at home, to help make what can be quite a complex subject into something that is simple and easy to understand.
Co-founder of Stories with Symbols Alex Rowe said: “From the ground up, our videos are designed with our audience of children with additional needs in mind. We’re able to allow for extra processing time through the pace of speech in our videos. We also embrace and employ a wide range of communications tools, such as on-screen symbols, facial expressions, props and gestures, all to help convey the key meaning to our young learners.
“We know that our existing videos are used by children at home, in schools and by therapists as part of programmes of support. These new videos are for an audience of slightly older children, for whom it can be a struggle to source accessible material which both meets their needs and respects their maturing interests.
“The Met Office was really enthusiastic right from the start and immediately recognised in our project its goal to communicate about weather and climate to a more diverse audience. Being able to film at the Met Office and speak to a real climate scientist gave us an opportunity to link the topics from the books in our videos to a real, relevant, place.”
Stories with Symbols started as a way to communicate story books to children with special educational needs, but the link up with the Met Office is part of a move into educational features on different subject areas.
Alex Rowe added: “The topics of weather and climate have never been more relevant, so we’re really excited about engaging a more diverse range of children in the discussion. It’s something that affects all of us and we believe it’s a subject many children are curious to learn more about, whether they have additional needs or not.”
The Met Office also produces a range of free resources for schools around learning about weather, climate and climate change. This has helped hundreds of young people understand the impacts of weather and climate change locally and globally, for people, places and businesses.
Met Office Learning Consultant Rosanna Amato, who features in the videos with Stories with Symbols, said: “It has been absolutely fantastic to work with Stories with Symbols and contribute to their mission of creating these learning resources for young people with special educational needs.
“Everyone deserves to be able to learn about weather and climate, and I’m thrilled we’ve been able to play a small role in helping communicate some of our Met Office science to the Stories with Symbols audience.
“We have also gained some great insights into how we can share complex climate science messages in a simple and engaging way, which will help the Met Office as we continue to develop educational resources for a more diverse audience in the coming years.”
The first video is available now on the Stories with Symbols YouTube page, with further videos set to be released in the coming months.
Explore the Met Office’s range of education resources for schools and educators.