Posted on Leave a comment

July /’Summer’ Provision 2020

Home and School Based

Home Based July Provision usually involves working 1:1 with a child, going to their house to engage in some activities with them and/or going on social trips or outings on some days. In other years, some tutors doing July Provision link up with each other and arrange to go on social outings on the same day to have moral support and to expose the children to more social interactions. I’m not sure if that’s something that will be possible this year.

School Based July Provision usually involves the children attending their ASD class like they would any other day. The same amount of staff that would be in their class during the normal school year will be there for July Provision too. No matter which type of July Provision you are doing, here are some tips that will hopefully be useful. I have done both school and home based July Provision.

I have divided this blog into the following headings to hopefully make it easier to find the information you need: Find out as much info as you can about the child, Well-being and mental health, Covid-19 activities, Social activities, July Provision Resource Pack, Documents and FAQ links.

Find out as much info as you can about the child

If possible, meet the child once or twice before beginning July Provision to ensure the child begins to get familiar with you. For example: if you meet the child’s parent/guardian in their home and chat to them, there is no pressure on the child to engage but they are getting used to you being around. If suitable, you could try a zoom call with the child, you could do an activity where there isn’t pressure for the child to engage, they can just watch you if they want or if they feel comfortable they could join in. e.g. read a book from their favourite series or about a topic they love.

Ask as many questions as you can, to the child’s parent/guardian, if possible, their teacher, SNA, therapists. Once you have found out as much as you can about the child you will feel so much more comfortable planning activities for the child. It is so helpful to know what works well for the child and what to avoid. If you can see their Individual Educational Plan this would be very helpful and contain a lot of information about the child, what works in school, targets the child was working on this year.

Sample Questions you could ask: What targets was the child working on in school? What way does the child communicate what they need/want? What are the child’s likes/dislikes?

Once you have found out this information, you will have a much clearer idea of the types of activities you could plan to suit the child you will be working with.

Well-being and Mental Health

This year, I think, depending on the child, we will be focusing a lot on the child’s well-being and mental health before engaging in any academic activities. Especially if you are new to the child, I would spend time at the beginning engaging in activities you know the child is comfortable with and activities you know they enjoy. Once they have become comfortable with you, you could move onto other activities, targets. The children will be so out of routine having spent so long in their own homes around the same people for so long, it will be important to be gentle with introducing anything new or challenging to the child. Close collaboration with the child’s parents/guardians to see how best to introduce things like this or if to introduce at all.

Examples of well being activities: ‘All About Me’ activities, Discussing, Recording, Naming Feelings, Working on coping/relaxing skills the child could use if stressed/upset e.g. counting, breathing etc., Yoga or Meditation activities, exercise activities; walking, playing sports.

Here is a link to a UK website with some examples of well being activities:

https://www.partnershipforchildren.org.uk/what-we-do/childrens-wellbeing-activities-for-teaching-staff-and-families.html

If you are interested in purchasing books to work on with the child, here are some I have found useful in the past below. Have a look in your local library if it is open.

‘No Worries!’ by Sharie Coombes

‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Poppy O’Neill

The ‘Weaving Well-Being’ Programme by Fiona Forman and Mick Rock.

‘Ruby’s Worry’ by Tom Percival

Covid-19 activities

If possible or appropriate to the child, it would be helpful to begin to teach the child about social distancing, hand hygiene and new systems in shops and their community. Usually July Provision may be a time where children engage in social outings and activities, this year the child may need a lot more preparation before going on these outings. I find social stories so useful in these situations.

In the July Provision pack I have created, I have included a hand washing work system and some visuals relating to Covid-19 e.g. social distancing.

Hand-washing lessons will be something I plan on doing every day during school based july provision and adding ‘hand washing’ to their schedules more regularly. I hope to get a basin per child to teach the hand washing lessons and hope to do it as a group in the morning time for the first while.

Social Activities

Some examples of social activities are: explicitly teaching social skills e.g. turn taking, conversation skills, waiting, asking questions. Or social activities/trips: crossing the road, walking to the park, walking to the shop, buying something in the shop, meeting another child engaging in July Provision to work on social skills, going to a child’s favourite restaurant to order food (may be take away this year), visiting local landmarks, going to the zoo, going to a pet farm, going to a sensory garden, the list goes on!

Have a look on the Heritage Ireland website to see which sites are open again:

https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/office-of-public-works/

School Based July Provision

If anyone is working as a teacher or SNA on school based July/Summer Provision, it might look a little different this year. Personally, I will be keeping the children’s schedules the same or very similar to what they were in March for the first week or so. We don’t know how the children will feel about coming back to school so it could be best to allow them to settle back into their familiar routine with activities they enjoy before introducing any new activities. We will ensure to include some of the children’s usual work stations as well as lots of activities they enjoy e.g. bike riding, walks, sensory play. For sensory play we envisage each child having their own smaller tray or box instead of a larger tuff tray between 2 or more children.

If the children are settled and happy being back at school we may introduce some activities like the social activities I have listed above. Some others that have worked in previous years which may or may not be possible this year are: swimming, horse riding, indoor play area, going to Mc Donald’s, Pet Shop coming into the class with animals.

July Provision Resource Pack

I have created a ‘July Provision Pack’. It would serve as a great starting point for anyone doing July or Summer provision, especially for the first time. It can be bought directly from this website. Link below:

Documents and FAQ links:

If you would like some more information or need access to any of the documents required, here are the links to useful websites:

Summer Provision 2020 Guidelines and Documents:

https://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/summerprovision/summer-education-programme-2020.html

July Provision Website to Link Parents and Teachers for Home Based July Provision:

http://julyprovision.com


Thank you for reading, I hope this has been in some way helpful to you. If you found it useful I would appreciate if you could leave a review or subscribe to my blog with your email address to receive notifications of new posts.


If anyone has any further questions about July Provision please feel free to contact me here, via email or on Instagram.


Take care,

Mo

Posted on Leave a comment

Morning Work-Packs

What do the children in your class do first thing in the morning? Sometimes the morning can be a little be unstructured with children arriving at different times, some children needing a movement break or OT straight away, some needing to eat etc. Morning work-packs are something that have worked well for me to bring everyone together in the morning time with some groups I have had.

How to structure?

Each child has their own morning routine unique to them to help them settle e.g. unpacking their bag, using the toilet, eating, having a movement break or some quiet time. Once the children are settled, next on their schedule is morning work-packs. We all sit together at a group table doing our morning work-packs. If it suits your child or setting better, they could sit in pairs or individually.

What’s the function?

When the children are sitting at a group table to complete their work-packs, we can work on some targets from children’s Individual Education Plans (IEPs). For example the children may be learning to tolerate others sitting near them, they may be learning to sit and work as part of a group for X amount of minutes or to complete X number of tasks in a group setting. The children could be learning to work parallel to another child, to tolerate others in their workspace or to concentrate on their own work while being part of a group.

Because we use this time to work on some of those targets for the children, we ensure to include tasks the children have mastered before with some variety or change in the tasks. I find getting the children to start with these kinds of activities helps them to focus and settle into the school environment and their day. 

What to include?

Depending on the needs of the children I am working with, I include a variety of different tasks. Some children may have one or two tasks to complete, some children may have a full work-pack of tasks and others may have a choice of tasks to complete. I have included some photos of each activity I mention.

Some general things I like to include are: Calendar related activities, day, week, month, weather. This gives the children a chance to process and figure out what to put onto the calendar before doing it as part of our morning circle.

Questions about the child: ‘How am I feeling today?’, ‘What colour ___ am I wearing today?’

Identifying, matching or sorting tasks, e.g. shapes, emotions, upper and lower case letter matching.

Practice writing their name, making marks or drawing lines, shapes. I laminate these pages and keep a small whiteboard marker with the child’s work-pack so this task can be repeated or swapped with other children’s work-packs.

The ideas for these work-packs are endless, these are just some of the activities I have found have worked well.


Here is a link to the morning work-packs I use, made using Smarty Symbols:

https://autism-corner.com/product/morning-work-packs/

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you.

Mo