A Makaton Nativity Play that Includes all Children

Mum of Jacob and Primary School teacher Rebecca Thompson created this wonderful new Christmas resource a couple of years ago that would benefit all early years settings or SEN classrooms. It comes complete with Makaton symbols. 

This Season she launches a sequel, Gold Star Inn.

New Makaton nativity play

When my son, Jacob was about 14 months old our speech and language therapist recommended we started to use Makaton to help him to communicate.  Desperate to do anything that would help his development my husband and I enrolled on a two-day training course and our signing journey began.

At the time I had no idea just how delayed Jacob’s speech would be.  I had no real experience of a child with Down’s Syndrome and I naively thought that by the time he started school he would be talking and we would no longer need to use Makaton – how wrong I was!  The months passed and Jacob started to sign, reluctantly at first, but then we discovered Singing Hands.  It was as if someone had flicked a switch and suddenly Jacob was signing his way through songs and rhymes with increasing confidence and obvious enjoyment.   Knowing how much Jacob loved music, and seeing the progress he was making, I continued to sing and sign to him at every opportunity.

The time came for Jacob to start school and we enrolled him at our local mainstream primary school where I also teach.  I knew that within weeks of starting school Jacob’s class would be taking part in the annual Christmas celebrations.  This should have been the source of great excitement but it filled me with dread.  How was Jacob going to participate in any meaningful way?  I couldn’t stand the thought of him being the only one unable to take part in the festivities.   As the music co-ordinator at the school and always ready for a challenge I decided to write a new nativity musical, with songs that Jacob (and his class mates) would be able to sing and sign along to.

Jacob enthralled by the Born This Night songs

The day of the play came and Jacob, then aged just 3, took up his position as a fairly reluctant sheep.  I held my breath as the first song started watching him and willing him to try and join in.  He may not have liked the costume but he loved the songs and I will never forget the enormous pride I felt at that moment.  The play was a great success.  It was the first time our school had ventured into the world of Makaton signing but the children loved it and the teachers noticed that through using the signs, the children were able to learn the songs much quicker than usual.

Did someone say reluctant sheep?

That was two years ago and since then my use of Makaton has increased exponentially.  Seeing the impact singing and signing has had not just for my son but for others around him I was inspired to take things a step further.  I approached the Makaton Charity to seek their support for publishing the Nativity and, after a lot of hard work and patience the result is a fully licensed Musical Nativity available for schools to buy and use in their schools.

The resource, called Born This Night, includes seven delightful songs, a simple humorous rhyming script and adaptable parts to suit small or larger casts.  The songbook is easy to use and contains everything you need to stage an enjoyable and memorable performance. 

New play for 2017 The Gold Star Inn

The Gold Star Inn tells the traditional Nativity story with the help of a donkey who likes to hum! It includes the ten fabulous new songs and two scripts, one for younger children and a longer script suitable for older children. Both stories can be adapted to suit the needs and abilities of groups of children and have proved popular with pupils and teachers in mainstream and special school.

It includes a professionally recorded CD with full performance tracks to listen to the lyrics and backing tracks for the children to sing along to when they have learnt them. 
Price with licence for use in school £30.

Alternatively, parents and carers can buy the book and CD to learn and sing the festive songs at home (no licence required).  Priced at £20. 

For more information about the plays or to order your copy visit Jacob's Ladder Productions. You can listen to snippets of the songs here too. 


  1. What a fantastic idea! I will be sharing this with the schools I visit! Well done and thank you!

    1. Looks great doesn't it! Can't wait for my copy. H x

  2. That's a really wonderful idea. hoping to do same for an early intervention centre for children with communication difficulties. A copy of the play would have been very helpful

    1. That sounds wonderful. The play is still available to buy at Jacob's ladder I believe. Good luck with your Christmas production.

  3. That sounds wonderful. I believe the play is still available to buy via Jacob's Ladder. Good luck with your production.


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