World Braille Day falls on the 4th January every year to mark Louis Braille’s birthday. So it was our first choice for our ‘festival of the week’.
Louis Braille was born in 1809. He became blind at a very early age after an accident with an awl in his father’s workshop, followed by an infection. He was given a scholarship to one of France’s first schools for the blind. It was while at school, fed up with the length of time it took to read a book with the system of raised type. Inspired by a code used by officers in Napoleon’ s army to send messages at night, he came up with the idea of an alphabet based on a system of 6 dots. By the age of 15 he had perfected his alphabet and designed a writing palette.
He taught his alphabet to other students and went on to become a teacher at the school teaching it to many more.
We started off by seeing how hard it is to do things by touch alone. We took it in turn to make models out of playdough when we were blindfolded.
Then we read about Louis Braille on the RNIB website and made an info card to glue on to our famous person timeline.
Using egg boxes as the grids and pingpong balls as the dots Sam ‘wrote’ his name.
Later in the evening my Guides used newspaper as dots and wrote – I promise to do my best
We then played warmer and colder.
I did a similar thing with my guides later. They ‘wrote’ words from playdough for each other to ‘read’ with their fingers. Then did the egg box and puffy paint as well as making the letters out of their body using a grid taped to the floor (twister style).