Operation Sunshine Family Therapy Programmes donates Dilo Cocoons to special schools
OPERATION SUNSHINE FAMILY THERAPY PROGRAMMES ARE DONATING DILO COCOONS FOR SPECIAL SCHOOLS AND TAKING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THEIR EVALUATION TO ASSIST WITH EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES.
Through dolphin inspired education and art, community projects, the charity supports initiatives that encourage and enable children and adults with additional needs around the world to achieve their full potential through dolphin related activities.
Research into the concept that interactions with dolphins both real and imaginary can bring benefits to special needs children took another step forward on 21st October 2010 when Jackie Connell, Terry Connell, and Horace Dobbs visited two schools in Yorkshire.
The visits were initiated by Head Teacher Ray Woodward following his observation that the installation of a Dilo Cocoon in Swanland Primary School was beneficial and popular with pupils, especially children in reception classes, some of whom were nervous and apprehensive during their first days at school. The subsequent success of Ray’s Dolphin Arts Project confirmed our conviction that dolphins have qualities that make pupils happier and therefore more receptive to lessons.
How the Cocoon Project started
EDUCATION was one of the topics Horace Dobbs identified as being of major importance when he founded International Dolphin Watch as a non-profit organisation for the conservation of dolphins in 1978.
To make children aware of the lives and needs of dolphins in as entertaining a manner as possible, Horace created a make-believe dolphin named Dilo. Eventually Dilo became the eponymous hero of a series of six books looking at the world from a dolphin’s point of view
The first book, Dilo and the Call of the Deep, was published in 1994
Visiting schools and universities around the world and observing the enthusiasm with which both pupils and teachers were responding to his Dilo stories, Horace set out to infuse dolphins into orthodox education and at the same time making learning fun for all concerned.
He detailed his ideas on how this could be achieved in a book titled IDEAL - an acronym for Integrated Dolphin Education And Learning.
Jackie became actively involved in a pilot study of an igloo shaped enclosure - the Dilo Dome, later called the Dilo Den.
The Dilo Dome was tried out in many different locations including Bimini in the Bahamas and Germany.
The results of this research showed quite unequivocally that it is possible to capture the essence of dolphins to bring joy into the lives of all children.
These studies also clearly revealed that periods in the Dilo Dome could be of considerable benefit to children with profound physical, mental and health issues such as autism – although changes in behaviour were often difficult to quantify.
Appeal for alternative designs:
The pilot study revealed a significant shortcoming of the prototype inflatable plastic dome. Namely that it could be punctured.
An appeal was therefore launched for alternative, less easily damageable ways of capturing the joyful spirit and healing essence of dolphins for all children – including those with special needs.
The Delfino Group in the Czech Republic led by Valpurga HozŠkovŠ came forward with a completely new, innovative concept – the Dilo Cocoon.
The Dilo Cocoon is a hanging gazebo-like structure with walls of silk decorated with hand painted dolphin images from the Dilo stories. It creates a peaceful womb-like space inside which children feel secure and unthreatened.
Ray Woodward, an ardent advocate of Dilo Cocoons suggested two special schools in Yorkshire in which trials of the cocoons could be conducted – Tweendykes School in East Hull and Saint Anne’s in Welton.
COCOONS DONATED TO TWEENDYKES SPECIAL SCHOOL AND SAINT ANNES SPECIAL SCHOOL.
Tweendykes School has taken an international approach to education and culture, embedding this into the curriculum. The school was awarded the International School Award by the British Council
Warm reception and discussions
On 21st October 2010 Horace, Jackie and Terry were warmly received by Head Teacher Berni Dobson.
Horace then gave Berni a brief presentation on the background of the Dilo Cocoon. Jackie followed this with a talk on the various activities of Operation Sunshine Family Therapy Programmes.
During discussions, Horace and Jackie explained that International Dolphin Watch and Operation Sunshine NEVER WORK WITH DOLPHINS IN CAPTIVITY but ensure that they protect and respect the wild dolphins and their environment at all times.
Using the Dilo Cocoon and reporting findings
Horace et al thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Tweendykes School. Before they departed they were introduced to some of the staff who would be working with the Dilo Cocoon. Horace explained that his experience with autistic children revealed that they could be readily upset by changes in routine. And that the children should be slowly familiarised with Dilo stories and pictures before they were offered a session in the Cocoon. Horace donated a full set of Dilo Story Books and a Dilo’s Fun and Activities Book for this purpose.
All agreed that this was the way to proceed and evaluation will continue
THE CHARITY DONATES A DILO COCOON TO SAINT ANNE’S SCHOOL
St. Anne’s School is in the busy city of Hull in the charming, picturesque village of Welton. Dilo Cocoon presentation at St Anne’s School.
Horace Dobbs and the Charity Trustees were greeted by Deena Lidgett. During a tour of the School, they were very impressed by the staff and the excellent facilities in the school. These included a new, beautifully decorated pool to which children could be carried on a special hoist directly from the changing room.
The pool was also fitted with a projector and video display capability that could be used to send dolphin sounds and visual images into the pool area.
In the Sensory Room the group were told about an interactive programme in use where children could manipulate the images such as virtual marine creatures or walking on sand.
In the Dilo Cocoon children can:
- Feel secure
- Have some quiet time
- Listen to dolphin sounds
- Look at dolphin images
- Hear or read a dolphin story
EVALUATION OF SPECIAL FACILITIES AND THE DILO COCOON CONTINUES
A DONATION OF £320 CAN FUND A DILO COCOON.WILL FUND A DILO COCOON FOR HOSPICES AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS
A DONATION OF £40 BUYS A FULL SET OF DILO BOOKS FOR SPECIAL SCHOOLS TO ASSIST WITH THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
[INSERT PIC OF FULL SET OF DILO BOOKS]