Our Junior Department focuses on Key Stage 1 and 2 of the N. I. curriculum and comprises of six classes: J1, J2, J3, J4, J5 and J6.
The Junior Department follows on from the strong foundation of learning laid by the Foundation department. We focus on continuing to develop the play skills nurtured in the foundation department. We encourage pupils to develop these skills throughout their years in Key Stage 1 and 2 helping to build up their independence.
Key Stage 1 and 2 encourage practical learning in every aspect of the curriculum using as many senses as possible to experience and practise important curricular and life skills to allow for the important development of life skills in Key Stage 3 and 4. Communication is key and through the range of tools available to our department we aim to ensure pupils can communicate and understand communication as far as possible. Key Stage 1 and 2 aim to be a fun and happy department which meet the individual needs of every child as far as our resources allow.
IN THE JUNIOR DEPARTMENT:
We believe every child should be encouraged in all areas of the curriculum while developing independence and life skills and their learning should be practically structured and engaging, preparing pupils for the next stage in their schooling.
This is how we teach and learn:
- We use a variety of motivational resources e.g. Makaton, Numicon, Harberton reading programme.
- We provide a wide range of stimulating experiences through Play based learning, outdoor learning and experiences outside the school setting which encourages them to explore and lead learning.
- We use a range of resources and programmes to encourage focus, attention and involvement e.g. circle time, Attention Autism.
- We use range of communication tools to help pupils express their wants and needs e.g. Makaton, PECS
- We set up routines and introduce programmes which help develop life skills e.g. toileting programmes, RSE, feeding programmes.
- We give pupils choice and encourage their opinions when learning new skills, allowing them to make choices when appropriate.
- We encourage pupils to talk about their emotions identifying how they feel using their form of communication.
As a result, we have pupils who:
- Feel safe, secure, challenged and stimulated enabling them to engage in learning.
- Develop social and life skills which allow them to work towards expressing themselves socially and emotionally and in time become more independent.
- Are participating in functional literacy and numeracy activities gaining important skills.
- Have a means of communicating appropriate to them.
This rationale has been devised in conjunction with all department staff, parents and, where appropriate pupils.