Back to the Classroom
The start of a new term can be daunting for those with profound or complex needs. After weeks exciting events, changes to routine, and plenty of chocolate (adults and children alike!), the first day back at school is upon us perhaps more quickly than expected.
So, how can we ensure the first day back runs smoothly?
1. Hook in the day
The first 30 minutes of the beginning of term for a complex needs classroom will be full of activities directed at adults: reading home school communications, signing in medication, setting up feeds etc. What will your young people be up to? Known events and routines such as sound cues, objects of reference, visual timetables can all support our learners to find their space in the day.
2. Keep it simple
Maintain the same (hopefully successful!) routines that you finished the last term with. If your day starts with a circle time, get right on with it. If hydro is always on a Tuesday, head down to the pool. Those daily routines that you have so carefully set up last term will still have the impact you desire. Our complex needs learners may well remember, and feel secure within these routines.
3. Stamina (or lack of)
If your learners have been resting and relaxing at home during the holiday season, their capacity to remain alert or engaged may have reduced. As teachers, we often want to get the term going with a bang, and crack on with all of our amazing ideas! Your leaners may thank you for easing into the term with activities that do not push them to their limits, and allow them to recalibrate into day to day learning.
4. Sharing news
Our learners are often very much 'in the moment', and reflecting back on holiday events may be challenging. Whilst other classrooms may be writing about their presents or family trips, how can our learners best reflect on their time away form school? Consider the use of photos, music/ sound recordings, smell, taste and texture. All of these may elicit memory. BUT! Consider the value of this exercise, what will it mean to your learners?
5. Be kind to yourself, and your staff
Whilst our young people have been relaxing and having fun, hopefully so will the adults in your room. Give time and space to get back into the swing of things. If the first day doesn't
go to plan, there is always tomorrow.