Happy children can learn. The emotional well-being of our children is paramount in all we do. It is a central pillar of our philosophy and influences our practice daily. We aim to create a place where children feel safe and seen. Our small numbers allow us to design situations that will build confidence and a sense of capability in our learners as well as ensure our objectives are met. We have an intimate knowledge of the structures that our learners need in order to succeed, and collaborate closely with parents and therapists to promote consistent expectations and strategies to be used across environments.
The transformative learning process at Flourish Learning Support and Development Centre is designed to help our students grow both in and out of the classroom. Each day is filled with opportunities to experience new educational and social situations to further development. Our teachers create a safe and open setting, where they can guide students in exploring the world around them.
At Flourish we see social skills as a key component of being in the world. We directly address social skills by modeling positive social engagements, social problem solving and conflict resolution. Examples include, but are not limited to, teachers visibly modeling respectful, positive social skills when addressing team members and children. Social conflicts may be mediated by an educator but learners are expected to be accountable, actively problem solve and resolve social discomfort themselves where possible. Our goal, socially, is the transfer of social skills learnt at school to other social situations our learners may encounter.
TEACHING PRACTICES/ ACADEMIC/ PHYSICAL SPACE
In order to be successful in their lives, learners need to gain self-knowledge and be empowered to tackle tasks using this valuable knowledge of themselves. Our physical space is designed for children to feel safe and comfortable. Initially, suggestions may be teacher driven. As children become more aware of their needs they are encouraged to take things like brain breaks, a new chair or a run through the garden for themselves. Whatever physical adaption they need within the space, in order to be comfortable and promote learning. This knowledge of their unique bodies, how to integrate and work with them in order to support their learning and achieve tasks, is essential to building success and confidence.
In order to achieve our outcomes we maintain low student to teacher ratios (1 teacher- 4 learners or 1 teacher and an assistant – 6 learners). Small groups provide an intimate, positive environment where children feel acknowledged and attended to. For learners suffering from low self-esteem, small group environments provide opportunities for students to ask as many questions as necessary to understand a subject, rather than feeling pressured to learn everything immediately. They allow teachers to gain an in-depth knowledge of their learners while engaging in continual assessment to monitor progress and make adaptions accordingly. Furthermore these numbers allow teaching strategies to be adapted to suit individual students. Teachers use this knowledge of their students to tailor their content according to student’s interests, teach flexibly and according to individual learners needs and make appropriate adaptions as is needed.
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