Looking forward to 2020 but first a big big thank you to all the schools for a great 2019.
In association with Julie King, Click NZ, Richard Hirstwood carried out 21 training days in New Zealand. There were very varied needs for a host of schools on both the North and South Islands. They were as varied as…
2019 Napier: A five day bespoke training package developed by Julie King and Richard.
The first day was a fun trip with all the school staff on the art deco buses to places they frequently visit with the pupils. As well as lots of singing and dancing on the buses, the day was designed to encourage staff to use the spaces like the park, beach and skatepark for teaching and learning, as well as fun and enjoyment. The activities the staff were given were as varied as simple maths, to more complex activities such as video production and using apps such as Pokemon Go, to inspire learners of all ages. Day two got the staff back together in the classroom to reflect on the activities from day one and evaluate and plan how they could use them in the real world with real learners. They developed programmes of activities and resources to use in the future when learning outside in the warm climate of New Zealand.Day three, four and five were hands on days, with Julie and Richard working with the staff and pupils helping them to develop their sensory approaches to learning, using the ideas and techniques shared over the prior training days
2019 Christcurch: Whole staff training in a large sensory space
in Christchurch within a leisure facility open to the public. This is the biggest sensory center in New Zealand and Richard worked with the staff, who deal with a host of disabilities every day. The outcome was a much more cohesive and well-planned experience for individuals with additional needs using the facility. He also looked at the baseline information needed when designing programs to make the experience appropriate for specific individuals. Future expansion was also a topic for discussion.
Wellington 2019: Developing sensory classrooms
In Wellington Richard worked with a special school looking at the sensory design of their classrooms and how this impacts upon their use of sensory learning techniques in all areas of the school and their various satellite sites. Richard shared a simple Environmental Audit tool for their learning spaces. As with many other schools in New Zealand, Richard worked hands on with the pupils offering advice on sensory approaches to their learning.
2019 Christchurch: Effective target setting
February and March are the start of the new school year in NZ, so at a school in Christchurch Richard also carried out a day looking at effective target setting with a sprinkling of new ideas. This was followed up by specific work with the school management team for a day, looking at targets across the school as a whole, as well as within specific classes. Richard finished with some time discussing the design of new school build and how future development is going to take shape.
2019 Hamilton: SEMH presentation
For one school and some visiting school staff, Richard looked at areas of need for pre formal, semi formal and those with autism. He talked about the need for sensory assessment and sensory action. Communication was a huge focus of the day, with the staff experiencing first-hand how frustrating this can be for our learners. Richard reinforced the need for all staff to recognise that communication issues are the biggest cause of anxiety and stress for learners.
2019 Auckland: Developing a sensory pool
Richard worked with the key school staff, architect and government advisors on the feasibility of a pool area for the school; and what kind of resources would be needed; technical issues that could be faced in such a challenging environment for sensory/projection equipment and how the pool area could be used for learning and relaxation. He also published an advice sheet on the website for both practitioners and parents about taking a learner with autism to the pool, which was a current issue within this particular school. This is downloadable here.