Learning Support

1. SCHOOL BASED SUPPORT TEAM (SBST)

The goal of Edgemead Primary’s School Based Support Team is to assist pupils with specific learning, emotional, social and behavioural difficulties and to advise teachers and parents of necessary recommendations or further professional support.

Whilst teachers often observe atypical behaviour or possible learning difficulties, they are not permitted to directly refer parents to outside professional help. This includes referrals to occupational therapists, speech therapists, paediatricians or psychologists, unless it is a follow up of previous recommendations in a professional report. Teachers should only report observations to parents. All referrals to outside professionals must go through the School Based Support Team first.

The School Based Support Team comprises of the following members:

  • Mrs J Thomas: (Acting) Deputy Principal Foundation Phase and Head of Academics
  • Mrs Lauren Bouwer: Head of Learning Support/SBST Coordinator and Gr 2 Learning Support Therapist
  • Mrs Ingrid Rautenbach: Head of Grade 1
  • Mrs Kim Collop: Head of Grade 2
  • Miss Tania Ferreira: Head of Grade 3
  • Miss Brenda Horner: Gr 1 Learning Support Therapist
  • Mrs Doma Gerber” Gr 3 Learning Support Therapist
  • Mrs Tutu Siganda: Social Worker / School Counsellor

Procedure followed for SBST referral:

Case discussed at grade level – case discussed with Grade Head – concerns discussed with parents and parents are notified that a SBST referral will be made – Teacher completes White SBST referral form (Grade Head, SBST Coordinator and HOD Learning Support sign) – Green Form sent home for parents to sign consent – SBST meets to discuss case and make recommendation – parents and teachers receive written recommendations (e.g. assessment by one of the remedial teachers, referral to OT / Speech / psychologist / paediatrician).

All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs Bouwer: lbouwer@edgemeadprimary.co.za

2. LEARNING SUPPORT TEAM MEMBERS:

1. Ms Bouwer (Head of Learning Support)

2. Mrs Bouwer (LS and SBST Coordinator, Gr 2 Learning Support Therapist and Assessments)

3. Miss Horner (Gr 1 Learning Support Therapist and Assessments)

4. Mrs Jacobs (Gr 2 Learning Support Teacher)

5. Mrs Gerber (Gr 3 Learning Support Therapist and Assessments)

6. Mrs Latsky (Gr 4 Learning Support Teacher)

7. Mrs Siganda (Social Worker/Counsellor)

3. PERCEPTUAL AND SCHOLASTIC (PS) ASSESSMENTS

A PS Assessment aims to screen and assess a pupil’s visual processing, auditory processing, spatial orientation, language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, concentration, reading level, comprehension level, spelling level and mathematical level.

PS Assessments are conducted by EPS’s Learning Support Therapists:

Mrs Lauren BouwerBA (Psych.), PGCE (Foundation Phase) and ACE (Learning Difficulties).

Miss Brenda HornerHDE, B. Prim Ed, B. Ed (Ed Psych Honours), M. Ed, NILD and INPP

Mrs Doma Gerber: B. Ed Foundation Phase, B. Ed Honours (Inclusive Education) and M. Ed (Maths Education)

Assessments take place in the morning, during school hours. This is a service that EPS offers at no charge to parents.

After the assessment, a meeting will be set up where the assessment and report are explained to the class teacher and parents. Parents will be given a written report detailing all the findings and recommendations.

It is the parents’ responsibility to follow up on the recommendations and administer whichever home programmes are given.

All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs Bouwer lbouwer@edgemeadprimary.co.za, Miss Horner bhorner@edgemeadprimary.co.za or Mrs Gerber dgerber@edgemeadprimary.co.za

4. LEARNING SUPPORT IN ACTION

Learning Support is offered to all Grade 1 – 4 EPS pupils who find any aspect of their academic work challenging. This may be done in class or small groups of pupils are withdrawn, depending on the need of the child.

Each Learning Support Therapist and Teacher is involved in their grade’s planning and assessment processes and is up to date with the concepts the pupils are covering in class.

6. EXAM CONCESSIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

In extreme cases, where a Specific Learning Disorder (formally known as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Aphasia, Central Auditory Processing Disorder etc) has been formally diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist, the SBST Coordinator can apply for exam accommodations.

Accommodations include additional time, spelling exemption, handwriting, adaptation of questions, amanuensis, braille, computer, Dictaphone, enlarged print, oral examination, reader, planning aid, tape aid and video.

All applications to the Metro North Education Department (MNED) need to be accompanied by a recent psychometric assessment by an educational psychologist. The Department of Education makes the final decision as to whether accommodations have been approved or not. The school cannot make any changes to assessments or exam conditions until we have received confirmation from the MNED. All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs Bouwer. lbouwer@edgemeadprimary.co.za

7. SOCIAL WORKER

The aim of the Edgemead Primary School’s Social Work Services is to provide children and their families with specialized life-skills, emotional, social and counselling support.

Social Worker Responsibilities

a)      Provides a comprehensive school social work services to parents, learners and school teaching staff, addressing barriers that limit a pupil from receiving full benefit from their educational experience.

b)      Responds to referrals from the school administration, parents, teachers, the Remedial team and others by providing direct services and by assisting families in accessing appropriate community resources.

REFERRAL PROCESS (“3 Before Me Rule”)

Step 1: The Class teacher identifies the presenting issue or problem which affects the pupil’s learning progress i.e. emotional, social and or behavioural constraints.

Step 2: The Class teacher then notifies the parent of the situation. Then both the Class teacher and parent(s) or guardian, attend to the issue.

Step 3: If unsuccessful in resolving the matter both the parent together with the child’s Class teacher consults with the grade’s HOD (Head of Department). The trio intervenes, if unsuccessful, then the matter is referred to the Social Worker.

Step 4: The Social Worker will upon receipt of the referral form and or through SBST, conduct parent interviews to acquire socio-developmental information as needed for special education referrals.

Step 5: The Social Worker drafts and implements plans for dealing with the presenting issue.

Most common presenting issues are depression, family hardships, including divorce, separation, bullying and homelessness. The social worker further establishes prevention programs and crisis intervention plans to help affected learners.

TYPES OF CASES THAT ARE REFERRED TO THE SOCIAL WORKER

  1. All abuse cases,
  2. Cases of allegations of abuse and corporal punishment against staff members that need to be referred to Employee Relations – Head Office.
  3. Absenteeism / School Phobia
  4. Behavior problems
  5. Bully Behavior
  6. Drugs
  7. Emotional Problems
  8. Financial Problems
  9. Family Violence
  10. HIV/AIDS
  11. Health – including STIs and STDs / Sight and Hearing problems / Oral / Medications that needs to be administered at school
  12. Teen Pregnancy
  13. Trauma
  14. Suicide
  15. Self-Mutilation – cutting
  16. Sexuality
  17. Assist where possible with social grants applications and reports

All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs Siganda nsiganda@edgemeadprimary.co.za

8. EXTRA LESSONS

Extra lessons are offered to certain pupils by their specific class teachers (Gr 1 – 7) and by HODs in the senior phase. Children will be identified by their class teachers and parents will be notified in writing as to whether their child will be included in the extra lesson group.

Extra lessons take a didactic approach where concepts, which may not have been understood in class, are consolidated, and revised after school hours. This is a service offered by the teachers at no charge to parents.

9. RAINBOW ROOM (not operating during Covid)

The Rainbow Room Literacy Programme is available to learners in grades one and in exceptional cases in grade two and three. Children who are in need of extra literacy support, including phonics, reading, writing, letter sound and visual recognition, are identified by their class teachers. Consent to attend is obtained from the parents and a motivation is forwarded to the Rainbow Room coordinator. The children who attend, each have their own trained tutor volunteer and work on a one on one basis once a week. The coordinator is employed by the school and is a full-time staff member. This programme takes place during school time with no extra charge to the parents.

All enquiries in this regard must be submitted to Mrs Twell jtwell@edgemeadprimary.co.za

10. READERS ARE LEADERS

Readers are Leaders is a computer-based software reading programme that all children use regularly during their school computer lessons. This programme addresses the skills required to read fluently as well as developing the basic reading skills necessary for all academic subjects, namely: speed reading through eye exercises, comprehension, concentration, and memory development.

Children who have been identified by their teachers as needing support in the form of literacy, are invited to attend an extra half hour session, either on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday 2:30 – 3pm.

All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs McGee tmcgee@edgemeadprimary.co.za

11. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (PRIVATE)

Occupational Therapy is one of the most holistic of the allied medical therapies. The mental, perceptual, physical and emotional aspects of the child are taken into account during treatment.

The nature of Occupational Therapy is the treatment of children utilizing an individualized program specifically focussed on the learner’s delays. It is therefore essential to assess each learner individually prior to treatment.

Assessment: The assessment includes an evaluation of your child’s sensory-motor and visual perceptual development that has a direct influence on academic achievement. The Initial assessment takes 2 -3 hours to administer, depending on the child’s work speed.

Treatment: Once therapy has started, Sessions are normally once weekly. Homework is given on a weekly basis to complement therapy and assist progress. In treatment, a Sensory Integration (SI) therapist uses her knowledge of Neurology   (Brain and nervous system), Kinesiology (Human Movement), Developmental stages, Medical Pathology and modern research to determine which children would benefit from SI Therapy. This includes children with learning problems resulting from certain neurological factors.

Therapist’s Profile: Nadia completed her B. Occupational Therapy degree at the University of the Free State. She has a special interest in Sensory Integration therapy (SI), and is a SI Qualified Therapist.  She has been working in Private Practice since 1997. Her work experience also includes 4 years in a Remedial School environment. She joined Edgemead in January 2008. In addition to SI therapy she makes use of neuro-developmental and brain gym techniques as well as Visual perceptual stimulation in therapy.

When to refer:

Signs indicating possible problems:

1. Muscle Function (Child cannot maintain posture at desk / endurance is poor / Restlessness, unable to sit still.)

2. Poor Balance

3. Poor Crossing of the midline (Move page from side to side / Poor left-right discrimination / Cross dominance / Alternate hands while writing)

4. Poor Gross motor coordination (Clumsiness / Unable or hesitant to perform climbing tasks / Poor ball skills / Inability to perform skipping rope activities)

5. Poor Motor Planning (Difficulty performing new tasks / Slow working speed / Behaviour appears to be disorganized / Timing and sequencing of movements poor)

6. Fine motor difficulties (Difficulty handling Scissors / Difficulty with shoelaces and buttons / Poor colouring in work / Poor pencil grip / Untidy handwriting)

7. Visual Perception difficulties (Poor body concept / Difficulty copying name / Poor sense of direction / Struggles with perceptual tasks e.g. puzzles constructions  Handwriting difficulties e.g. Poor spacing letter formations reversals) / Inaccurate copying from blackboard

8. Tactile processing problems (Overreacts to painful stimuli / Avoids manipulation activities and messy play / Aggressive behaviour and fighting / Avoids certain food clothes textures / Appears irritable and fidgets frequently / Poor co-operation in group activities)

9. Concentration difficulties

All enquires in this regard must be submitted to Mrs van Rooijen nadiavr8@gmail.com

12. SPEECH THERAPY (PRIVATE)

Speech- Language therapists assess and treat speech, language and communication difficulties in individuals of all ages.

iCommunicate: Kim Marsh Speech Therapists’ is the Speech Therapy practice that is based at Edgemead Primary School . The practice also provides hearing screening upon special request.

Assessment:

The first step to starting your child’s treatment program will involve a comprehensive assessment. This includes an assessment session of approximately 1 hour, discussion of a future therapy plan and full, written assessment report.

Treatment:

Therapy sessions will then be planned according to the child’s needs and requirements. The therapy sessions are generally 30 minutes long and these sessions occur once a week at the school. Homework is given each week in order to aid in your child’s progress.

When to refer:

If a child is presenting with difficulties with the following skills:

Receptive language: The understanding of language

Expressive language: The use of language

Articulation: Difficulties saying specific sounds (e.g. saying ‘wed’ instead of ‘red’)

Auditory perceptual skills: It is the child’s ability to recognize and interpret what he/she is hearing. Listening skills are vital in the acquisition and development of literacy (reading and writing)

Literacy: Reading and spelling skills

Stuttering

All enquiries in this regard must be submitted to Kim Marsh kim@i-communicate.co.za