Many of our readers will be familiar with our company mascots – Axcis Andy and Lionel the Lion. But why did we choose these mascots and how can you put them to work in your school or setting? Here are some ideas…
Why soft toys?
We chose soft toys to be our company mascots because we work exclusively with schools and alternative provisions. We felt that these cute little fellas could be put to use in lots of ways – making them fantastic little additions to the school team and not just another bit of marketing which gets left abandoned in a cupboard somewhere! From being a friendly face on a desk or shelf, to being used as an artists muse – the possibilities are endless – here are a few suggestions:
1. Emotional Support
Soft toys can be useful to offer emotional support in schools. In my friend’s class, they have a soft toy which is the “scare bear” and he’s used to signal when a child is feeling scared or anxious. The children know that when they feel that way, they can go to the bear for a hug and 5 minutes time out of the lesson. It’s also a really useful signal to the teacher that the child concerned needs a bit of emotional support. At the earliest possible opportunity, either the teacher or a member of support staff will sit down with that child and talk though what’s upsetting them. And if the child doesn’t feel like talking about it, they can just have a 5 minute cuddle with the bear and then return to the lesson, which will have hopefully helped them to feel a bit better.
2. Reading/Curriculum Support
Do you have a child in your class who doesn’t like to read out loud? Perhaps it’s a bit intimidating to read to a grown up? If so, why not offer Andy or Lionel as a reading buddy? By asking the child to read to a bear (or lion) rather than an adult, it can seem a bit less intimidating – why not give it a go with your reluctant readers and let us know if it helped?
3. Buddy Bear
Although I’ve already mentioned emotional support in class, Andy or Lionel could also be useful for supporting lonely children at break time. If you have children who are struggling to make friends, you could assign Andy or Lionel as a “buddy bear”. In this way, they could be used passively or actively. Passive use might involve just letting the child take him out to break with them – the toy could offer a bit of direct companionship, or it might encourage other children to want to come and play with him, too. Or a more active use might involve telling all the children at school that if someone has the buddy bear at break time, it means that they’d like to make new friends to play with, and that others should actively try to involve that child in their play time.
4. Art Inspiration
Some schools will already be familiar with the Axcis Art competitions we sometimes run. Children seem to really enjoy drawing pictures of our friendly mascots, so why not make use of them in this way? From seasonally themed pictures to straight-up portrait painting or drawing, Andy and Lionel are very good at sitting still while your students draw their pictures!
5. Sensory Support
Many of the schools we work with have a sensory room. A sensory room is a special room which is intended to develop a person’s sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. It can also be used as part of therapy for children with limited communication skills. With their soft fur, squishy bodies and friendly faces, Andy and Lionel are well suited to life in a sensory room.
How do you use yours?
If you use Andy or Lionel in any other ways in your school or setting, or if you have any ideas to contribute to our list, we’d love to hear from you. Or feel free to post pictures of Andy or Lionel “at work” on your social media pages – if you do this, please tag us so we can follow your efforts! Our Instagram/Facebook tag is @AxcisEducationRecruitment and on Twitter we are @Axcis – we’d love to see how you use yours!
Are you seeking SEND work or staff?
If you would be interested in a teaching or support position at a school or alternative provision, why not get in touch or register with Axcis today and find out how we can assist you? Alternatively, if you are seeking staff for your school or provision, or would like to refer a friend to us, pop us and email – we’d be happy to help!