KS 3 & 4 Learning Enviroments

The environment is one of the most critical factors in supporting children to develop their learning, relationships and independence. In key stage 3, we build on the model used for our primary aged children.  Children have their own classroom where they are based for the majority of their learning, with a consistent team who know them well.  Classrooms follow the Willow Dene rationale for furnishing, which equips classrooms as specialist learning environments.  Our classes for children with complex needs classes retain the colour contrast trim and black table tops, which makes the room more visually clear. At Oakmere Road you will notice the white finish to the furniture rather than the wooden finish used at Swingate Lane.  Similarly, our classes for children with ASD at Oakmere Road retain the same style of work station and group tables, but with a different colour theme.  These subtle differences give the children continuity and a learning environment which meets their needs as they move to Oakmere Road, but still visually marks the move to Key Stage 3.

The shared and specialist learning environments across the school support the development of key learning skills, and provide motivating and stimulating opportunities for children to develop and generalise these skills. Teams carefully consider how to make use of them, so that all children can access the different spaces in ways that support individual learning profiles and priorities. Our secondary provision provides opportunities for children to practice these skills, with an additional focus on developing relevant independent living skills for all of our children.

Essential to our focus on independence is our living space, which contains two rooms, the kitchen and the lounge. The kitchen provides our children with an opportunity to practice every day key skills, such as food hygiene, preparation and risk awareness in a real kitchen environment. Children are able to experience a range of social situations, in order to develop understanding of essential skills and routines.

Our lounge provides multiple opportunities for our children to develop independence skills. In the lounge, children can practice physical and motor skills by transferring from a range of furniture to the floor. They can develop control and access skills by using technology to control aspects of the environment such as lights, blinds and the television. It also provides a range of social contexts in which children can meaningfully interact with others.

We have a multi-purpose hall specifically used for P.E. lessons, practicing mobility skills, community sport activities, assemblies, after-school club and celebrations. In 2016/17, the learning environment will be extended to include a climbing wall in the PE hall area, which will allow children to practice vertical and lateral travelling according to their existing skills.

We are also developing a bespoke soft play room that offers lots of opportunities to practice physical skills, coordination, communication and concept-based learning in fun and motivating contexts. Children will be encouraged to explore the range of equipment, including a hidden slide.

The outdoor play space provides children with opportunities to experience movement and physical activity in a variety of ways. These include an outdoor gym containing leg and core exercising equipment, climbing wall, trampolines, roundabouts, a roadway with a range of bikes and trikes, a range of natural and manmade textured surfaces, and spaces to run and kick balls.

The dark room supports children to respond to visual stimulation and develop scanning, focusing and tracking skills, and develop cause and effect, and anticipation.  The fully immersive white room will be arriving in 2017, and will provide a highly reactive and responsive environment to enable children to establish an understanding of cause and effect, and allow them to explore and control their surroundings. These spaces are also used to motivate children to move independently, practising stretching, rolling, crawling, standing, reaching and other movements.

We have a dedicated sensory circuit, which provides children with opportunities to engage in planned programmes to support them to regulate themselves, with a focus on alerting, calming or organising activities, depending on individual need.

Our exercise gym supports children to develop an understanding of their health and fitness and children will have individual fitness programmes designed to support them in achieving these goals. It is equipped with state of the art treadmill, rowing machine and elliptical trainer, allowing heart rate, pulse and oxygen levels to be monitored and recorded.

The art and music room houses a selection of instruments and will be the hub for our music therapy sessions. It is also home to range of music technology experiences and specialist resources which will support the teaching of art and technology.

The café style dining hall offers a range of seating options including booths and high stools.  This gives children the opportunity to develop their sitting skills and to explore a range of physical and social groupings.