Throughout their years in Enable Ireland Sandymount School, students participate in a wide variety of educational experiences which aim to extend and deepen their knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities. In this the students are provided with the highest standards of teaching and learning at all levels by a dynamic, progressive and committed teaching staff.
The early learning targets in our Infant programme are drawn from the Aistear curriculum for primary schools and are designed so that individual children are enabled in exploring the learning environment for themselves in a playful and enjoyable way. The elements of the Infant curriculum for Schools are differentiated to suit individual children.
In Junior and Senior Primary, our Teachers adapt the Primary School Curriculum (NCCA, 1999) and also use the guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities (NCCA, 1998). We teach students in small and large groups as well as sometimes providing one to one tuition.
We believe that communication is central to learning and from their first days in our school pupils are given opportunities for choice making and turn taking. We use a variety of teaching tools and methodologies including PECS; Boardmaker; TEACCH; ABA; Lámh as well as wide variety of Sensory programmes. Each classroom has a touch sensitive interactive plasma screen and children have access to Communication Devices, iPads, PCs and appropriate software with switch access. In English, students have individual literacy and communication programmes and teachers use materials from a wide range of reading schemes and workbooks. Children are encouraged to use computers and iPads in English and stories are often personalised in order to encourage reading and comprehension.
Our Mathematics programme starts with numeracy skills and from the start includes opportunities for our students to solve problems using real life situations. Our students are taught the language of mathematics as well as given opportunities for shopping, calculating, problem solving, predicting and games. We integrate our teaching with other subjects so that students see the practical use of mathematics in a meaningful way. We differentiate our teaching in order to suit individual students learning styles. A range of assessment tools are used.
Students are given a wide range of opportunities for project work in SESE classes. Teachers ensure that each student has a role to play in working on a project and tasks are differentiated to suit student learning styles.
Our school has a tradition in arts education. We believe that participating in creative activities is an essential component of child development. Students make and appreciate the visual arts, participate in drama and dance lessons, and attend weekly music classes. We participate in a range of events within the City.
Elements of the SPHE curriculum are emphasised daily in all classes. We believe that each student should feel valued and useful. We also encourage students to manage their own behaviour and alert us when they are worried. We offer children many different types of opportunities for socialisation. We encourage children to play and work together in a variety of different educational settings.
All of our students are offered the opportunity of weekly swimming lessons with our specialist teacher in the hydrotherapy pool at Sandymount. In addition, class teachers adapt the Physical Education programme to suit students with physical and complex disabilities. We teach a range of skills including games such as Boccia. We encourage all students to play and participate in games as well as encouraging them to follow sporting activities as spectators. We work closely with the IFA and offer soccer coaching in the first term. Children are highly motivated to participate in school hurling on Friday afternoons and random competitions with other special schools.
In our School we teach children that gardening is fun and we tailor tasks to suit individual children and disabilities. We participate in a number of programmes which focus on horticulture and the environment and encourage our students to taste the wide variety of plants that we grow. We have a number of garden spaces. Our plan for 2017 to design and make raised beds fully accessible for wheelchair use was accomplished.
At second level students in the 12-14 age group will commence Junior Cycle, Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LPs). Designed by the NCCA for students with particular special educational needs the programmes are designed to suit both special school and mainstream settings. The L2LPs will build upon prior learning and are designed primarily around 5 Priority Learning Units (PLUs) that focus on the social, personal and prevocational skills that prepare students for further study, for work and life.
Each student works to their own Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is developed by the teachers in consultation with parents, SNAs and Therapists working with the children in our school. We like parents to visit the school so that we can discuss progress and adapt each child’s individual programme. IEP’s are constructed in October each year for implementation during the coming year. IEP’s are reviewed yearly or earlier by arrangement with parents.
ICT and AUP