Informal classes sit across all three pathways; Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning and Physical and Sensory. Our informal learners are those that are generally working on bands one and two of our curriculum although many have a spiky profile and may have some band 3+ skills in certain areas. Informal learners are in the moment, they learn by doing. Therefore, Informal teaching needs to be hands-on, practical and engaging. We take a holistic, child centred approach and measure progress using the engagement model alongside our assessment tool, Evidence For Learning to capture meaningful and robust observations.
The Chiltern School curriculum is based on developmental stages. It is a spiral curriculum that allows pupils to revisit learning adding new knowledge that is stage appropriate and process based. For many of our pupils their progress will not be chartered in a linear way but they will show their developments in a more lateral sense.
Our practice is based on the fundamentals of communication. We recognise that relationships with others help us make connections in our brains. Therefore, at the earliest stages of development there is a big focus on building trust and relationships and really getting to know our students. Progression for our informal learners comes from a real understanding of their interests, needs and experiences. We use a variety of teaching styles to deliver the curriculum, consisting of some adult led teaching, some facilitative activities, closely observing our pupils, responding to them and getting connected with them. The day will include pupil led play or practical learning with thoughtful activities and a physical environment that reflects this. It will also involve small group activities and lessons that are delivered by highly trained staff using up evidence based practice.
We plan medium term coverage and daily plans using the informal curriculum frameworks. These frameworks have been written with specialist knowledge about child development and communication. Using our expertise we have been able to create meaningful and purposeful frameworks that support the pupils at their developmental stage as opposed to their chronological age. We tailor and adapt planning frequently to encompass the pupil’s interests to ensure they are engaged in learning. Learning starts the minute they walk through the door whilst they develop their ability to transition to different destinations, greet and interact with people around them.
Check out our brand new Snoezelen room in Block B