Talk and Move
The Talk and Move intervention supports the inclusion of children with additional support needs at nursery and in the early years of primary schools. It was designed by a team of therapists working in collaboration with education staff. In a small group (typically 5 – 7 pupils) lessons relate to the following curricular areas:
• physical development and movement
• emotional, personal and social development (including self-awareness, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, independence and interdependence)
• communication and language skills (listening and understanding)
• knowledge and understanding of the world
• expressive and aesthetic development
Therapy Inclusion Partnership
The Therapy Inclusion Partnership (TIP) team consists of an Occupational Therapist, a Physiotherapist and a Speech and Language Therapist. The project supports teachers who have children in their class with complex additional support needs, who would benefit from multi-therapy input from physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.
Therapists work in school in various settings (class, gym, or playground) giving hands-on demonstrations to teaching and support staff. These demonstrations can occur in small group settings, with the whole class or take place with just one pupil.
Once staff have had appropriate training, the school can continue to provide appropriate TIP activities for the child. TIP does not replace the child’s own therapist or routine check-ups; it is merely an additional support for the school and child.
Seasons for Growth
Seasons for Growth is a change and loss programme that we use with P5 pupils. It is an educational peer group programme which provides extra care and support for children coping with difficult life situations involving grief, loss and/or change.
This programme is based on the belief that change and loss is a normal and valuable part of life and that we need to be provided with the opportunity to examine how grief/loss (resulting in change) has impacted on our lives.
Seasons for Growth provides the opportunity to develop the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to understand and to cope with change and loss. Small groups of no more than 8 children support each other through the weekly activities and discussions.
As part of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum all classes across the school are following the Emotion Talks framework. This improves children’s awareness of and ability to talk about their feelings. In addition, it is a support helping children to use self-regulation strategies to manage strong emotions.
At Sciennes, Emotion Talks is being used in whole class teaching, small social groups, in the playground and on a 1-to-1 basis with pupils. It involves children learning to identify emotions and what triggers these. The aim is that over time, the pupils will learn to identify the triggers for their emotions and the emotions of others. An important part of this is exploring strategies for coping with and managing emotions.
Emotion Talks can also be used by parents/carers in the home. At Sciennes we run emotion talks sessions for parents. This intervention can help you and your child to understand and talk about feelings. Better articulation and understanding of feelings will improve your child’s behaviour and emotional well-being.
Social Communication Group
The Social Communication Group is designed to help children develop their social and communication skills. It uses many of the Talk and Move activities and is generally targeted at pupils in P2-P4. This allows scenarios to be discussed and explored using peer support and modelling with a focus on expected and unexpected behaviours. The programme runs for 7 weeks with one identified pupil and three appropriate role models. Teaching centres on:
• social learning and attention issues
• difficulties noticing social cues such as facial expressions and body language
• difficulty listening or working in a group.
Social Communication in Class
The principles of the Social Communication Group have been further developed and we now run sessions for the whole class in upper primary years. There are 3 sessions in total and each session explores concepts relating to social communication:
• how we send and receive social signals; expected and unexpected behaviours and how we feel about these; changing social rules as we age
• identifying the size of the problem and selecting an appropriate behavioural response; how mood influences behaviour; how to be gracious in disappointment; coping strategies when feelings are big
• understanding perspective; social skills for meeting new people and making new friends; exploring phrases we might think rather than say
The timing of these sessions supports pupils with the transition to high school.
Zones of Regulation
Zones of regulation sits alongside our other social and emotional interventions. It aims to teach self-regulation and emotional control. Feelings are grouped in 4 different categories which are identified by colour. No feeling or category is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’.
Children are encouraged to identify their feeling or mood and subsequent activities support them to recognise their ‘triggers’ and to select appropriate coping strategies to help them manage their emotions based on the zone they are in.
At Sciennes we are using the book Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers to support children in their development of self-regulation and emotional control. This is something we plan to explore further and hope to be able to offer parent sessions in the future.
Literacy Small Group Support
Some pupils benefit from additional literacy teaching in small group settings. Group content and level is dictated by the needs of the pupils in each group. Generally, all groups follow a similar structure of:
• Revision of sounds and common words
• Teaching of a new phonic / reading strategy and common words
• Reading practice (paired, individual or group)
• Extended focus on comprehension, spelling or writing
• Literacy game encouraging practice of key skill
Groups are reviewed on a termly basis and pupils can move between class and SFL literacy groups as needs require. The single word reading test, a fluency assessment, conversation with teachers, pupil and parent can inform group movements.
Literacy 1 to 1 Support
Some pupils can benefit from 1 to 1 literacy support. This may be for a variety of reasons – focus and concentration needs, literacy level or programme intervention style. Generally, the 1 to 1 sessions follow a similar format to the group sessions unless the programme dictates otherwise.
For example, Toe-by-Toe is a specific literacy intervention often used with dyslexic pupils in upper primary years. It requires 1-to-1 focused teaching as the adult and child work their way through the Toe by Toe book.