Littlewood is the Early Years setting at our new nursery & reception campus. At Littlewood, we support each student as an individual and follow autism best practice guidelines to best support learning and development. We use the Early Years Foundation Development Matters to support the students at a level specific to each child. Our programme focuses on communication, regardless of language ability, and as a school we follow a Total Communication Approach which means we use words, symbols, pictures, signing and objects to help students understand.
Children at Littlewood do a lot of their learning through play and support their development by enriching and extending their experiences. The teachers and staff promote the development of positive behaviour by using autism specific approaches and by supporting students to get involved, removing distractions, motivating each child, encouraging friendships and healthy relationships, specific praise and establishing routines and structure.
Our classroom is designed for six students. It is a lower arousal room with an attached play room and our own outside play area. Students gather around the interactive whiteboard for group activities and use the kitchen area for meals, snacks and messy play. Small groups gather for story time on the comfy sofas in the book corner and others use the sinks for pouring and measuring. Paint comes out on the long desk and our floor trays can move about the room for students to fill with toys or sit in themselves for special activities. We use the outside area for many different activities throughout the day to support the development of physical skills as well as activities across the curriculum.
Throughout the week we visit other places in the community and have access to our Springwood Campus rooms such as the soft play room and ball pit, calm sensory room and magic multi-sensory room. As the year progresses we go out for walks in the local community to parks, libraries and shops and take the bus further afield for activities linked with our topic. The Speech and Language Therapist visits for half a day to support the ongoing communication development.
As parents and carers you’ll play a partner role with the teachers and staff at the school to best support your child. We want to work closely with families and encourage the sharing of knowledge and experience. Information can be shared via the home school communication book, phone calls and informal and formal meetings as well as an initial home-visit when your child starts school. Each child has an Early Learning Journal that will become filled with pictures and notes about their learning and development. Families are encouraged to use ‘Wow’ certificates to share proud moments and send in pictures of special events.