Embedding the essentials
The Woodland Hub is a large Department within The Milestone School and has a diversity of challenges; it is characterized by a busy and positive working environment for both children and staff. In the primary phase of their education we are looking to EMBED THE ESSENTIALS of learning with pupils, allowing for their individual special educational needs.
We work closely with parents, carers and professionals and welcome your interest. We aim to consolidate the approaches to meaningful and functional life skill learning. The Social & Emotional Aspects (SEAL) of learning thread their way through all teaching and learning.
The topic approach to science and the humanities gives a basis to introduce new experiences and concepts at levels in tune with the pupils’ special educational needs Each theme has a main subject focus but reference is made to all areas of the curriculum as relevant to the pupils’ needs.
The curriculum gives breadth and opportunities for personalised learning. All classes in the Woodland Hub follow the same overall topic which lasts for one long term, ie 3 topics a year. There is a 4 year cycle of topics. Each National Curriculum subject focus is included on the topic grid. Schemes of work are used as a basis for planning.
In addition to subject based topics, others aspects of teaching and learning: religious festivals, global awareness, aspects of PSHE and Citizenship and SEAL are addressed throughout the school year.
Whilst all approaches include a multi-sensory style of delivery some children require specific sensory enriched approaches to the curriculum. In addition the Real PE focus is combined with mobility and an outdoor learning area based on the Forest School Approach has been developed in conjunction with the Rainbow Hub.
Literacy and Numeracy
In the Woodland Hub we run Numeracy and Literacy/Communication groups where pupils mix and match from different classes for their learning experiences.
Within the daily routines we put an emphasis on the ways we teach reading and communication. Although we recognize that many of our pupils may not be readers or communicators in the classic sense we do need to prepare them with the skills for accessing the community as they go through life.
We follow the nationally recognized ‘Letters & Sounds’ scheme and using lateral thinking and planning we can incorporate Speech & Language Therapy, Social Use of Language Programme and general early engagement activities of listening and discrimination approaches within at least phase 1 of Letters & Sounds.
With daily literacy and numeracy activities pupils progress at different rates but all are accessing at a level appropriate to them. As they mature it may become apparent that some of our children will not be able to make sense of phonics and so we use the whole word approach to look at key vocabulary.
The application of Total Communication at school ensures that we use additional and augmentative communication tools; the use of Objects of Reference, TOBI’s (True Object Based Icons), photos and symbols, signing, speaking and listening all ensure that pupils have as many ways of accessing the actual meaning of day to day living as well as task specific activities.
Mathematics and Numeracy skills are needed in day to day living and have their routes in many practical learning experiences. These are extended into mathematical sessions where, as appropriate, the pupils will learn early number and measuringskills. Depending on their learning level, pupils will approach Maths through ‘Routes for Learning’ and the Milestone Complex Learning Curriculum, ‘Closing the Gap’, ‘Numicon’ and ‘Maths makes Sense’.
We emphasise Functional numeracy throughout the daily routines. This may be through seeing who is in group by communicating ‘hello’, matching photos and/or objects to them, counting how many, check who will have school dinner or packed lunch, make a shopping list if cooking themselves, going out to buy the items, sorting/measuring the ingredients when ‘cooking’. Cooking for some may be very sensory based, for others it may be more the practical application of numeracy and literacy learning.
Whilst food can be very motivating for learning many cross curricular skills there are some pupils who are hyper-sensitive to some tastes and/or textures and so it may be an activity that is used to break down some of these barriers to their own learning.
The key to all learning in the Woodland Hub is to Embed the Essentials that are relevant and meaningful to individual pupils in a way that is engaging, effective and fun.