Each classroom uses the TEACCH principles to organise and structure the environment. The environment is a fundamental part of our children’s success. All children perceive the world in an individual way, but when sensory processing issues and executive functioning difficulties add to the intensity of certain aspects of an environment, it impacts on children’s wellbeing. Within each classroom, sensory integration is built into all children’s individual timetables. Seating arrangements, lighting, transition between rooms, background noise and many other aspects are carefully planned for.
Our children’s sensory needs are intricately woven into our learning times. We have a movement area within each classroom that has lots of sensory activities including a hammock, swing bar, spinning seats, trampette, dark den and much more which is accessed at structured times to give sensory breaks during high demand activities. Where necessary children have a sensory profile, which gives an instant overview of how environmental factors can impact on their behaviours and activities that can be used daily to reduce or replace these behaviours. Each day begins with ‘sensory time’ which is a whole class 20-minute session in the school hall focusing on Proprioceptive (movement) and Vestibular (Balance) input. Research has found that Proprioceptive and Vestibular activities have the greatest impact on behaviour, attention and learning. Most importantly the session provides all children with a fun start to each day which gives them the time to adjust and prepare for the day ahead.
The ability to relax isn’t something that any of us take for granted in our classes, we spend lots of time teaching self-regulation strategies and have built in relaxation times after busy periods such as play times or assemblies. During relaxation children may choose to be alone or with the group in the bean bag area to listen to calming music, some children also engage in peer massage, a technique from our Wellbeing Hub. Children may also take part in meditation and yoga.
The Wider Team
Blossom Class work closely with an Educational psychologist and a Behaviour analyst to ensure the holistic approach to children’s learning and wellbeing is always at the heart of our curriculum taking account of widely researched and evidence-based programmes and strategies.
As classes continue to develop, many changes will take place as we continually research and implement new strategies to develop and grow our practise. But what will not change is our belief and dedication to our children’s individual progress as they grow into independent, confident and effective learners.