Department Lead: Hannah Goldsmith
Rainbow department comprises of four classes for children with a range of complex needs including Autism, Speech, Language and Communication needs, social, physical and sensory related difficulties. Each class follows the same themes for the term but the activities and sessions are differentiated accordingly to the learning needs and styles of the individuals within the class. Department trips are accessed together and are planned in advance to link to the themes of the term. Each class is encouraged to have ‘walk out’ trips which work on the individual social and independence target the class are focused on.
We combine the structure and routine from the TEACCH program with the more flexible ‘learning through play’ approach from Early Years settings. This enables children to understand their day and what is expected of them but builds in opportunities for social interaction, effective communication and the ability to transfer skills and cope with change. We maximise the use of sensory opportunities to develop pupil’s confidence when exploring the world around them and activities are built into the curriculum accordingly. A number of our children experience sensory difficulties and it is important for them to explore these in an environment where they feel safe and secure.
Each day consists of fun, practical, sensory related activities that promote a love of learning while increasing the children’s independence, confidence, self-esteem, social interaction and communication skills.
Learning takes play in the classroom and outdoor learning environments and incorporates early numeracy and literacy skills. Staff support the children to acquire an understanding of the world around them so that they can begin to develop their imagination, investigation and problem solving skills and establish their role within class, the school, family and local community.
Staff support this group of children develop strategies to cope with difficulties they may face outside of their familiar home and school settings. Independence and life skills are a key focus within our department and we work closely with families and outside professionals to create individual learning programs for each child incorporating their therapy, educational and life skills targets. We celebrate with ‘WOW’ moments where children accomplish some of these target areas.
Our building offers the children with numerous opportunities to develop their transitional skills within the school day. Each classroom has an additional activity room where children break off into smaller groups to work. We also have two playrooms – these have been recently reviewed and developed to provide opportunities for themed structured play and intensive interactions. Our kitchen area and exploring room enables us to develop life skills such as cooking and food tasting as well as messy play based activities.
Speech, language, physiotherapy and occupational therapy activities are interwoven into each day. Depending on their individual needs children may also access individual or group activities including:
- Attention Autism
- Intensive Interaction
- Makaton signing
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECs)
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication Aids (ProxPads)
- See & Learn Whole Word Reading Scheme
- Numicon mathematics scheme
- Fine motor skills program (Write from the Start)
- Gross motor skills programs (P.E.G.S and First Funs Real PE schemes)