Speech & Language Program
We have a dedicated speech and language specialist who works one on one with students on a weekly basis to assist with individual language development and communication skills goals.
Students engage in O.T focussed daily fitness activities designed to promote balance, movement, strength, co-ordination and co-operation in a fun and relaxed setting. The team at Therapy Focus introduced a program to the school called Crash Bang Smash which was designed based on the concept of sensory integration using primarily the Vestibular (movement) and Proprioception (knowing where one is in space) sensory inputs. By meeting Vestibular and Proprioception, this allows a child who is running “too fast” or “too slow” to reach a “just right” or optimum alertness state that would allow the child to concentrate and participate within classroom activities. The Crash Bang Smash is done using a circuit style approach where students would go through different stations with different sensory objects. These circuits are designed to provide maximum amount of Vestibular and Proprioceptive input within a time frame of about 20 – 30 minutes. For some classes, students have access to substations that meet other sensory needs or preferences such as auditory, visual, touch and smell sensory input. The idea of this is so that the child has access to meet all their sensory seeking preferences prior to class and so preparing themselves for class.
At Wirrabirra Education Support Centre we place a strong emphasis on the safety of our students.
Protective Behaviours is a program that teaches students how to keep themselves safe from the risks that surround us in our everyday life. By teaching and reinforcing the two primary concepts “everyone has the right to feel safe at all times” and “nothing is so awful we can’t talk about it.”
Protective Behaviours is a key component within each child’s Individual Education Plan and is explicitly taught in all classrooms. We aim to teach our students with strategies they need to keep themselves safe, which is implemented through role play, social stories and structured lessons.
Students are given many opportunities to explore and develop their senses within the classroom and around the school. In consultation with Therapy Focus, sensory programs are tailored to student’s individual needs. These programs help students to process sensory information, focus better on learning tasks and assist with self regulation.
Life Skills & Community Access
Functional Life Skills are a core element of learning activities within the classrooms. Some key concepts taught include personal hygiene routines, weekly cooking lessons and appropriate table manners. At selected times classes may participate in Excursions and Community visits to support student learning.
Muffin Kitchen operates from our ESC kitchen once a week. Students from mainstream are invited to join our ESC students offering an interactive opportunity to intergrate with their peers. Staff are invited to place an order before the commencement of each term selecting from a sweet or savoury option for a nominal fee. The money raised (usually between $800 – $1,000 each year) is then donated to charity, or used in house to fund programs that directly benefit our students.
Social skills and inclusion are a main focus within our school. Social skills are developed from the early years and are essential for successful social interaction and communication with their peers and also with adults. Inclusion activities with mainstream students allow for peer learning to occur and many modelling opportunities to be taken advantage of. Staff are present to assist students with understanding the social skills needed to be part of these classes and to develop friendships across the school.
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
Students at our school are learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. This program is made possible by funding from the Australian Government.
The program emphasises the flavours as well as the health benefits of fresh, seasonal food. Dishes cooked in our cooking program reflect the vegetables, herbs and fruit grown season by season, by the children in their organic gardens. The program is designed to be fully integrated into the primary school curriculum as it offers infinite possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and all aspects of environmental sustainability, together with observable social benefits.
Sport in our country is an intregal part of our culture where sporting achievement is celebrated. Aside from the obvious health benefits of keeping active, being involved in a team sport offers many social benefits also. Often the skills required to participate in community sporting teams for our children is that the skills required are too difficult. Teeball has been recognised by the staff at Wirrabirra ESC as an excellent modified sport which allows participation by all students no matter their age or sporting ability.
Our teeball programme aims to encourage the fundamental aspects of teamwork – encouraging others, fair play and turn taking whilst developing ball skills, hand eye coordination and self confidence. Teeball offers our students the opportunity to integrate and participate in a sport while developing an understanding of the rules and to possibly arm them with the confidence and skills to play for a community club.