Getting ready for school the Cora Barclay Centre way

23 January 2018

Little girl with dark hair writing whilst lying on floor

Next week 16 children who have been supported through our Early Intervention program will start primary school. We are so proud to say that every one of them is attending a mainstream school.

Attending a mainstream school is a common goal for families in Early Intervention. Having a strong foundation of listening and spoken language skills is vital to get children with a hearing loss off to the best possible start when they go to a mainstream school. Although schools are very understanding and supportive of children with a hearing loss we know that mainstream classrooms aren’t always optimal listening environments (we covered this in a previous post.)

The Early Intervention program is designed to prepare children for the move into school, but in the 2 terms prior to starting school the Centre offers a group program dedicated to transitioning children into the school environment. This program is Bright Start, and it has some very focused goals:

  • Develop pragmatic language skills, independence and social confidence
  • Develop self-advocacy skills
  • Develop Theory of Mind and emotional vocabulary
  • Develop listening attention in a classroom environment
  • Develop early literacy skills

Last year 11 children enrolled for Bright Start and we are happy to say that every child had great success in achieving each of these goals.

Although we can tell by interacting with the children the immense progress they have made, we are an evidence based service so we like to document the outcomes for each of our programs. These outcomes are made more impressive when you consider that Bright Start only runs for a weekly 3 hour session for 20 weeks.

Pragmatic Language Skills

Pragmatic language skills include being able to use appropriate social greetings and farewells, request help when required, compliment others, apologise, offer an opinion with support and make polite requests.

Prior to starting Bright Start: On average the children had 10 out of 16 of the pragmatic skills.

On completion of Bright Start: On average the children had 14 out of 16 of the pragmatic skills.

Self Advocacy Skills

Teaching children how to advocate for themselves in the classroom is important to support their academic learning. Self advocacy skills include such things as knowing the name of their hearing device, knowing how to put it on independently, being able to state why they wear their hearing device, knowing how to ask for something to be repeated if they didn’t hear the first time etc.

Prior to starting Bright Start: On average the children were able to do 2 out of the 28 skills identified as important.

On completion of Bright Start: On average the children were able to do 18 out of the 28 skills identified as important.

Children sitting on the floor from the back as they watch their teacher in a red sweater and sitting on a chair in front of them.

Early Literacy

Jolly Phonics is commonly used throughout the schooling system to help children learn to read. The approach teaches the sounds associated with each letter or digraph (e.g. sh, th, ai etc).

Prior to starting Bright Start: On average the children knew 6 of the 19 Jolly Phonics sounds.

On completion of Bright Start: On average the children knew 13 of the 19 Jolly Phonics sounds.

As you can see the program put together this year provided great outcomes and we know that the children who were supported over the 2 terms have a great foundation to start school next week!


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