Welcome to class 1 – class teacher, Sophie Chambers

Children in class 1 are a group of pre-formal learners, ranging from reception, key stage 1 and key stage 2.

In class 1, we follow a play and sensory learning style using a topic based approach. We learn about the different areas of the Equals Curriculum and the early years foundation stage (EYFS), predominately through sensory exploration, focusing on a specific topic each half term.

Children independently explore sensory objects and textures helping them to make sense of the world. We encourage them to make choices and show their likes and dislikes to help develop their communication skills.

The classroom environment can vary day-to-day based on the needs of our children. Some days the classroom will have songs playing, be very bright and seem busy, whereas other days the classroom will have sensory lighting and relaxing music to provide a lower stimulating environment.

The academy day

Morning

The day begins for most of our children with a bus ride from home, where they are greeted by a member of staff on arrival. Once in class, each child is supported with their bags, coats and personal care, before being transferred from their home chairs into their class chair, standing frames benches or Acheevas.

Therapy forms an important part of a typical day in our classroom. Each child has their own physiotherapy, occupational therapy and movement programme that we follow. The therapists based in school are regularly found in our class, assisting during the day.

When all the children are ready, we have our good morning session. Each child has the opportunity to say good morning to one another using their chosen form of communication. This could be verbal, signing, vocalisations, body language or by using a switch. As a group, we also learn what day it is, count how many children are in class for that day, and look at our visual timetable for the day. Children are then given the opportunity to have their snack, a drink, and time to play. This time encourages independence, social development and communication for all the children as they choose what they would like to eat, drink and play with using symbols, pictures, objects, gestures or words.

Following this, we have our first lesson of the day. Often, this will be a creative or energetic lesson like art, food play, PE or a sensory story, leaving the afternoon for our more relaxing sessions like TACPAC (communication through touch and music), massage, body awareness and Sensology.

Lunch time

We all eat lunch in the classroom around a large table. Some children may not eat orally, however they still socially join their friends at the table for lunch. After lunch, the children have time to play and some have positional changes or physiotherapy.

Afternoon

Afternoon sessions are based around art, design or a sensory story before getting ready for home.

Home time

All children are supported with transfers from their class equipment into their home chairs, their belongings are all put together and they are supported onto the bus home.