Everyone in T1 is loving being back at school and have settled in really well. We have been making our own lunch on a Friday as part of our ASDAN Independent Living Skills topic. We have been enjoying developing our gardening skills, planting herbs and flowers in the pots outside our classroom. We have been putting our creative skills to the test with lots of exciting Art activities and relaxing with some mindfulness colouring. We have also been focusing on telling the time and working hard on our money skills.

T2 have settled in well and have been working on their functional life skills. Each pupil has been managing an independent savings account and learning about the cost of everyday life. We have also been developing our understanding of mental health and well being through our books beyond words project.

We have two nursery classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which each contain 8 pupils alongside 4 members of staff. Our focus in Nursery, is to provide a positive, engaging and relaxed introduction to school life for both our pupils and their families. We develop our communication skills, early mathematical concepts and explore the world around us through play based activities, both inside and outside the classroom. Through play, we are also working upon our gross motor, fine motor and problem solving skills by solving puzzles, exploring messy play items and playing in the Foundation soft play area. We are building on our engagement, social and concentration skills through a range of programmes including TacPac, Attention Autism and sensory stories.

Above all, we are just beginning our school journey by building friendships and having fun!

Sensory 1 is a mix of Primary 1 and Primary 2 aged pupils who have a range of sensory, medical and physical needs. Our curriculum includes a range of sensory specific programmes including Sensology, Body Awareness and Tac Pac. Communication, early play skills and motor skills are encouraged in fun and engaging ways throughout the school day. We benefit from close links with the therapists to help with communication and mobility skills. Opportunities to learn outside are encouraged including in the school sensory garden. The aim in Sensory 1 is to have pupils who are happy, content and enabled to engage in a range of learning experiences.

Sen 2 is a key stage 1 sensory class. The boys and girls in Sen 2 work hard on their communication and motor skills. Teaching and learning in Sen 2 is sensory based and we enjoy programmes like Body Awareness, Sensology, TacPac, Dance Massage and Intensive Interaction. Through these programmes and other sensory lessons, our attention and engagement skills are developing well and we are building stronger relationships with our friends and staff.

In our class we are learning and growing into young adults. We are growing and developing in our independence, trying lots of new things, explore new ideas and concepts and having fun while we do it. In our class we enjoy doing lots of practical activities and literacy and numeracy is taught as functional skills. As part of our curriculum we include subjects such as Science, ASDAN, Art, Music, PE and Home Economics. It is great fun to be part of S2 and apart of the Hill Croft Family.

J4 is a key stage 2 class made up of Year 4/5 pupils. On a weekly basis, we cover and adapt all areas of the NI Curriculum to suit our needs.

The class benefits from a structured timetable with a focus on activity-based learning and sensory activities. We prioritise the development of communication and social skills as well as emphasising and building on independence skills.

We work closely with outside agencies and use a range of strategies to develop communication and promote positive behaviour such as Makaton, PECS and Team Teach.

In class, we enjoy a range of activities such as music- songs/assembly songs, work with drums and other percussion instruments, Primary Movement and holistic music, art and cookery, ICT, Attention Autism, Soft Play and Physical Education in the hall.

Outside class, we love using the outdoor zone and junior playground. Fitness levels and gross motor skills are further enhanced when we go on local walks.

Our class also enjoy learning and having fun during Forest School sessions. We focus on developing our learning, communication and social interaction skills when working as a team in an outdoor environment.

Sensory 5 is a post primary aged class of pupils with complex needs and is part of the sensory department. We follow a sensory based Curriculum which focuses on developing skills for communication and social interaction. We also focus on sensory development and the development of physical and motor skills. We use a creative approach to the Curriculum through activities such as; drumming circles, process art, mini me yoga, tac pac, sensory stories, story massage and holistic music. We follow the Hanging Out Program in our class which provides social experiences for each pupil and gives them valuable one-to-one time with a staff member to work on these skills. The intensive interaction approach underpins all of the work in our class while our thematic units allow for an age appropriate experience for our pupils. Our first theme this year is Autumn. We have had great fun going on autumn walks and collecting materials for our class work. We are looking forward to the rest of the school year and seeing how the pupils’ skills and relationships in the classroom develop.

Sensory 3 is a class of 6 brilliant boys. The teacher is Megan and the Learning Support Assistants are Heather, Leanne and Kerry. In our class we are working to develop our understanding of the world around us, our communication skills, our physical skills and our life skills like eating, drinking and helping to get dressed. We access the curriculum through our sensory activities, 1:1 work and play. We love to engage with and regulate through activities such as TacPac, Body Awareness, Sensology, Attention Autism and sensory stories.

We work closely with other agencies such as speech and language, OT and physiotherapy in order to ensure our provision is the best it can be.

Sensory 3 have settled in to our brand new classroom really well and have enjoyed being back together again. We loved exploring our topic All About Me in September. We explored our faces using mirrors to see, we learned about our body through song, chose our favourite things and worked on recognising and matching pictures of our family. We are enjoying the Autumn topic at present and look forward to our special Halloween activities!