ESC Specialist Programmes

Riverton Education Support Centre staff plan, develop and implement specialist programmes to meet the needs of the students who attend the centre.  All students who attend the centre have an Individual Education Plan developed for them. Students with special needs find it difficult to generalise their learning to different settings. Students are given the opportunity to generalise and learn life long skills by explicitly teaching the skill in a variety of settings so that generalization may occur. Some of the Specialist Programmes that we run at the Centre include the following areas.

Students at the centre plan a menu every Friday for their lunch. The students are responsible for making decisions on what they wish to cook, they are given a budget that they must work within and then they are responsible for purchasing the ingredients. There are several skills that the students use when planning and budgeting for a meal. Reading recipes, looking at food catalogues, keeping within a budget and coming to a group consensus are all life long skills that students have the opportunity to learn. Students go to the shop every week and when at the shops they are given the opportunity to practice social interaction, behaviour and language. The senior students also catch buses, so this gives them the opportunity to access transport training and learn the process of purchasing tickets/ multi- riders and engaging in exchange of money. When the students have purchased the ingredients they then cook the recipe for their lunch. They are required to follow the process set out in the recipe and then dice, peel, chop and cook. Sitting at a table, using utensils, interacting with others are all skills that our students need to be taught. Students with special needs require these teaching to acquire skills.

Students at the centre engage in a community access program that provides them with the opportunity to practice socially appropriate behaviour in a community setting. Students visit particular sites, depending on the theme or subject that they are working on. If students are studying animals they will go to the zoo, if they are studying water they will visit the desalination plant. Actually seeing the subject that the students are engaging in gives them the opportunity to understand concepts they may not otherwise be able too.

Technology is a priority at Riverton Education Support Centre .Technological advances for students with special needs has provided our students with a platform that has provided some of them, for the very first time an opportunity to communicate. Augmentative Communication Devices provide them with a voice, and gives them the capacity to communicate and engage with others in a meaningful way. It provides students with visual and verbal prompts that assist them to engage independently in the curriculum. In each classroom there are banks of computers that all students can access. All students at the Centre have an iPad and their Individual Education Plan and the applications that assist them to obtain their outcomes are within them. Students use their iPads across all areas of the curriculum and are matched to their cognitive capacity. In every room we have an interactive whiteboard that teachers use to support students access the curriculum within their classroom. Students with special needs require teaching & learning adjustments to successfully engage in the curriculum. It may just be a verbal or a visual prompt but the adjustments are necessary for a student to engage positively.

Communication for students with special needs will always be a priority at the centre. Giving students the capacity to engage meaningfully and giving them a voice is the most important outcome for students. Whether the teaching and learning adjustments are purely a visual or verbal prompt for students engaging in a regular curriculum, or is a a sensory program for high support needs students the adaptations that we implement are paramount to successful learning and communication. Communication is the key to successful learning.

Students from the centre engage in the Education Department Swimming Programme with their mainstream peers. The swimming programme is for a 2 week period and is designated to the school at anytime during the year. To assist our students engage in swimming the centre provides a swimming teacher for the term before swimming commences so that we can practice changing into our swimming gear, become familiar with the swimming complex and get to know the expected routine.

At Riverton Education Support Centre there are three classes a junior, middle and senior class. Students are placed in a class depending upon their age and their ability level. Generally students who are in Kindergarten to Year 2/ 3 are in the junior class, students who are in Years 3-5 are in the middle class, and students who are in Years 5- 7 are in the senior class. Each ESC class has a buddy class with an age appropriate mainstream class. The students from the buddy classes work with the students from the ESC classes and assist them in certain areas of the curriculum. It may just be support in the playground, help in the garden or just a friend to play with. The Education Support Classes are strategically placed around the school next to their age appropriate peers.

Students with special needs sometimes find it difficult to socialize appropriately with others. This is due to a multitude of factors, including inability to communicate effectively, not having the opportunity to socialize or having behaviours that prohibit them from socializing in the same manner as their non – disabled peers have done. At the centre we teach social skills as part of their curriculum. At lunch time there is a social skills program and students at different times engage in the programme. It is run by teachers and the programme works on different skills i.e. turn taking, accepting defeat and congratulating others are some of the skills we explicitly teach our students.

At Riverton the centre was lucky enough to acquire funding from The Variety Club to establish a vegetable garden for all students to engage in. Students tend the garden and as part of the Science Learning Area and learn about the growth and development of plants. As part of the new Australian Curriculum sustainability is a huge aspect of the curriculum. The garden is self sustaining and vegetables from the garden are sold to the canteen and at assembly herbs and worm wee is sold to parents and staff. The money raised goes back to the garden to purchase more seedlings.

At Riverton Primary Campus we have a range of specialist teachers. These specialists’ teachers include a Physical Education, Music, Science and Japanese teacher. Students from the centre attend  some of these specialist classes with their age appropriate peers with the support of Education Assistants. The curriculum is adapted to meet the needs of the students. Depending on the needs and level of the students some may or may not attend these classes, but attendance is done on an individual basis. Some of the students from the Education Support Centre spend 50 % of their time in the mainstream and some of our students only spend Music and Sport with their mainstream peers. Students who have the capacity and gain positively  from integration spend Fridays with their peers. The teachers from the centre and the mainstream  meet to develop and adapt programmes appropriate to the needs of the students from the centre. This shared planning facilitates inclusive practices and positive outcomes for all students at the  Campus.

Perceptual Motor Programme is a gross motor programme designed to give the child experiences in seeing, hearing, touching, processing, making perceptual judgements and reacting though carefully sequenced activities which children enjoy doing like running, hopping, skipping, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, throwing, catching, bowling, sliding, etc., using a variety of common and specially designed equipment. The child needs the motor skills of balance, locomotion and eye / hand / foot co-ordination and needs to be fit to function effectively. Children with common behaviour problems of inattention, “day dreaming”, wandering, laziness, clumsiness, disruptive behaviour, among other things, are frequently children who have not developed a “perceptual world”. These are the children who become frustrated with school and optimal learning is not achieved. A true Perceptual Motor Program aims to be “preventative rather than curative”, diagnosing and working with problems which impinge upon the child’s mode of operation in the classroom. By providing effective experiences and modes of operation, the child will have opportunities for more effective learning. It also develops good social skills and self esteem. An effective Perceptual Motor Program has children work through a sequence of experiences to develop perception and motor outcomes along with memory training. Confidence grows, problems are solved, language skills develop and the fundamental sports skills are learned which will enable the child to move competently into the major games and activities. Children become self assured people, aware they have a place in the world, and aware of the contributions they can make to that world. We run the PMP programme once or twice a week at the centre depending upon the needs of the students.