In Term 1 I was working as an ORS Teacher with child A every Monday afternoon and some morning blocks. Child A required a high level of involvement from multiple agencies as the goal for her was to prepare her for a life beyond Russell Street School with compliance and independence. This became the focus of my inquiry.
How could I help her achieve this when I was working with her?
The first thing I had to do was build a positive relationship with her. She required a balance of fun and friendship combined with firmness. This came quite easily as my love and appreciation of silliness appealed to child A. Child A had a good relationship with Tracy (Teaching Assistant) and Brenda (her classroom teacher) so I took time to talk and observe them to see what worked for them and added my own Bridget style in.
One of our goals at the time was to keep child A in the classroom which proved difficult as just before I started working with her the strategy to get her to comply was a physical action (scoop and guide) and now it was a hands off policy. I tapped into Alices's interests which at the time was Paw Patrol. I sourced Paw Patrol figurines, lookout, games and made painted rocks to motivate child A to stay in the classroom. This was successful most of the time and we would spend 90minutes role playing and chatting (language was a goal). This play would provide opportunities to promote friendships and relationships with peers (Evidence on Child A's Seesaw). On the occasional times she would leave the classroom without permission I would keep a safe distance but make sure she did not think it was a game of chase and ignore her and often other students would help by making what was happening in the classroom seem so exciting. If child A could not get others to engage or any attention she would return to class on her own- SUCCESS!
I only worked with child A for a short time each week so wanted to be clever and smart with my time. There were times where I would work with child A in a morning block at the same time as Tracy was allocated to work with her. In collaboration with Brenda I planned and organised an EOTC to the Esplanade. This was a success in the fact that she complied while out of the safety of the school grounds and she had fun. we returned to school early than planned as she wanted to return 9 (mainly as she was worried about Lucy -her doll) and we wanted to keep it successful. On reflection of this trip I thought how it would be beneficial to take a friend so it seemed more natural, fun and balanced. I planned the next EOTC and filled out RAMS and this time we took Lucy and a friend from class. This trip to Te Manawa was more successful as child A didn't want to leave Te Manawa and was actively engaged in play and conversation with her friend the whole time. Taking Child A out of the school grounds required that we had successful strategies to get her to comply so we could keep her and ourselves safe.
These trips along with a schoolwide trip to the Lido provided an opportunity to make social stories and photo books to provide a home/school link, language growth and so she could refer back to a fun, successful experience. I used photo's from our trips and used simple language to create laminated, bound books. I made a copy for school and a copy to keep at home (Evidence on Child A's Seesaw). Her parent's feedback that the books provided a platform for conversation at home that they could revisit.
Working with child A provided opportunities to develop working relationships with Mel (SENCO), Prue (RTLB), Brenda (classroom teacher), and all the Teaching Assistants in Team A. We all had the same aspirations for child A and with so many people working with her it was essential to have regular meetings to discuss what was working, what wasn't and where to next. I also attended and IEP and a meeting to discuss interventions looking at Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.
Midway through Term 2 I was relocated from child A to child I who has very different needs. At the time it was uncertain if this was a permanent or temporary move so my inquiry stayed the same. It has now been finalised that I will not return to work with child A this year but instead work with child I for the rest of the year one afternoon a week. I now get to choose a new path for my inquiry for the rest of the year.
Do I inquire about:
Play in the classroom and go down the learning story path (Thursday afternoons)
Developing agency through art (Friday)
6 year net (Mondays)