In recent weeks I have had several parents asking what support the school provides for students with additional needs. This is something we don’t generally share with parents on a class by class basis as we need to be careful to protect the privacy of individual students and families, however I thought it might be helpful to share a general picture of our approach to this important topic.
The teaching assistants in the Primary School provide general assistance to the teachers in their day-to-day teaching tasks. In addition to this, we employ teaching aides across the primary school to support specific students (or small groups of students) with their learning needs. The teaching aides work under the direction of our Learning Support Teacher, Marlis, and in collaboration with the Class Teacher. Marlis works with the teachers to develop Individual Learning Plans for some children. She also works with small groups, in the classroom and individually with students to support their needs. We also work closely with an Educational Psychologist, who undertakes assessments and provides advice when needed.
In the High School, our Learning Support Teacher works to develop Individual Education Plans for students with additional needs. She provides advice and support to teachers and also works individually with students. From time to time, we may have teaching aides working to provide Learning Support in some individual classes if there is a higher individual need. In addition to this, our Wellbeing Workers provide support to students across the school.
The teachers discuss students with additional learning needs regularly in Faculty meetings so that all teachers can provide advice, assistance and support. We take a very strong team approach to supporting all of our students and, as such, are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our approach and adjusting the support we give.
Rudolf Steiner said that one of our chief tasks as teachers is to work to ‘solve the riddle of the child.’ Each child comes to us with their own needs, their own strengths and challenges. We work hard, in partnership with parents, to understand what the child needs from us and how we can best meet their needs.
If you have any questions about your own child, please do talk to the teacher or guardian. We are always happy to listen, share what we are doing with your child and work together to support your child’s learning and development.
I would like to finish this week by welcoming Geraldine Devas to our staff. Geraldine is a Wellbeing Worker who will be working in the school, with Annie, every Friday. She brings a wealth of experience to this position, as well as a solid understanding of the philosophy underpinning our education, having been a parent at this school years ago and also working in Steiner Schools in Queensland and Victoria. It is wonderful to welcome Geraldine to our school.