Heathermount, our specialist school, which supports children and young people with autism and learning disabilities in Ascot, share news about new additions and improvements, education and activities in the Spring term.
NEW ADDITIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS
The new canopy
As many of our children enjoy sitting outside to have lunch, the school have installed a canopy along the side of the house over the terrace that will give protection to both the sun and the rain.
In order to help the children regulate and be ready to learn, new outdoor gym equipment has been installed. The project was implemented working very closely with the therapy team to help support sensory diets. The outdoor gym equipment will also double up as an opportunity to develop regular physical exercise to stay as healthy as possible. The equipment has been installed in three areas of the school and the children will be given instruction on how to use the equipment.
Priya Pillay, Senior Therapy Lead told us:
“Students had limited outdoor areas to calm and regulate themselves and this was impacting on their ability to focus and learn. Since the installation, staff have received training from our Therapy Team regarding how to use the equipment as a sensory circuit including alerting, organising and breathing exercises. This will be done at the beginning of the day and after lunch if required to help the students get ready to learn.
Students are also able to access the equipment independently throughout the day to help regulate. The students are enjoying the equipment and are using it at every opportunity.”
A parent of one of the pupils has said: “The gym equipment has been a big hit, thank you”.
To improve safety and visibility for staff/parents were exiting the school. The fence line at the exit of the school has been moved back in order to allow much better vision of cars travelling along Devenish road and a mirror has also been put up for added safety.
The school has been continuing with whole school values for students. Last term the focus was RESPECT. Students need to display the value independently and teaching staff nominate students who have demonstrated this value really well and a winner from foundation, primary and secondary is selected.
The winning values of RESPECT from the children were:
· For always demonstrating impeccable manners. He is polite and considerate towards his friends and is always thinking of others. He is transferring the value of respect to everything he does, even at home where he’s praising his siblings for showing it.
· For being respectful to students from other classes, checking they are ok when they are upset, and for being kind and thoughtful.
· For continually showing respect to other students and to staff, and for always being helpful, courteous and polite.
“We have really enjoyed growing our own plants” Student at Heathermount
In preparation for Spring, the pupils flexed their green fingers and began digging up the soil, ready to create a planting area in which they will plant their own flowers and watch them grow and learn how to look after them.
A few of them found some worms and enjoyed holding them and feeling them wriggle on their hands!
“We have been learning all about the world around us, looking at the joy of Spring” said their Teacher.
Drama "Theatre in a box"
The drama department produced “Theatre in a box”. This resource will allow the students to learn about different parts of the stage and think about staging and the use of lights on stage. This will help students studying their GCSEs and A -levels. It will be used in the drama lessons to improve students’ insight in drama and stage management.
World Autism Awareness Week
Students at Heathermount, our school which supports children and young people with a diagnosis of Autism, used the autism awareness week in April, to discuss and explore what being autistic means to them, and they created some wonderful poems to express their thoughts. Our team at the school said it was incredibly insightful to hear their views.
Every class decorated a board and a puzzle about what Autism means to them and what they would like people to know about Autism.
Here’s one of their acrostic poems, in which the first letters of each line spell out Autism:
Understanding the world, the way you do
Talented beyond belief
Interesting way to communicate
Makes you, you.
World Book Day
World Book Day 2021 was celebrated with a carousel of fun and creative activities. As well as dressing up and reading books, the day included a sensory lucky dip character making activity, egg and spook race, colouring in bookmarks a coconut shy and welly wanging!
Easter Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Foundation put on an incredible show at their teddy bears’ picnic to celebrate the end of the Spring term and Easter. The children told some hilarious jokes and sung a beautiful song.