TEACCH is an evidence-based teaching program that is based on the idea that students with autism are visual learners, so teachers correspondingly adapt their teaching style and intervention styles to suit the individual. It is based on five basic principles:
1. Physical structure: daily activities are clearly defined by physical boundaries.
2. Consistent Schedule
3. Work system that promotes independence
5. Visual structure
All classes at Westminster ESC follow the underlying principles of TEACCH.
Westminster ESC have been included this year in the NEMLDC Speech Pathologist in Schools pilot program. This program provides a specialist assessment, intervention, consultation and training service for schools. Lauren Redman has joined our team for 2022 as our school based speech pathologist, working once a week on Wednesdays. Lauren will be reviewing school assessments, providing staff with professional learning and supporting staff in developing curriculum programs utilising Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) including electronic devices and PODD. This aligns with our Business and Operational plans priorities of student communication and positive behaviour.
In 2022, Westminster Education Support Centre is participating in the Education Support North Network’s STEM Pilot program. As a foundation school in this initiative, Westminster ESC receives weekly support from a specialist STEM teacher with vast experience working in the education support space. The goal of the program is to support the school’s development in STEM curriculum areas by upskilling staff and creating and providing resources to be used in the school. Some of the initiatives currently in place include:
Working with STEM specialist teachers to develop
Professional learning for all staff in technology that can be used in classrooms
Supporting the school’s participation in the inaugural Education Support North Network Robotics Competition.
Supporting the collection of whole school Digital Technologies assessment data in Term 4 to inform teacher planning in 2023.
Westminster ESC runs a whole school bike riding program to promote a healthy lifestyle, develop road safety skills and use active travel as a viable form of transport. We have a range of tricycles, bicycles, balance bikes and modified bikes to allow all students to participate at their own level.
We begin with learning the essential bike control skills of braking, balancing and riding, along with putting a helmet on correctly and giving our bikes a basic safety check. We practice these skills while riding around the school grounds. The skills learnt also allow the students to ride around in traffic free environments such as the park and around the block at the weekend with family. With the use of balance bikes, we see many students migrating to 2 wheeler bikes and no longer needing training wheels.
Once students have grasped these essential skills along with improved motor skills, muscle development, coordination and confidence we focus on riding and situational awareness, providing students with the skills and competences to enable them to start riding on footpaths and shared pathways in low traffic environments.
Community partnerships have been formed, with Westminster ESC being part of the Department of Transport’s ‘Your Move’ program and participating in programs run by ‘People on Bicycles’ organisation and Cycling Australia.