Horizons: Maintaining Wellbeing in a Digital World
We are delighted to invite you to our new three-part series where we look at how schools can Maintain Wellbeing in a Digital World.
Collaborating with external Mental Health and Wellbeing Experts we will be hosting these termly seminars in Birmingham and Stafford as we discuss:
Coping with the pressures of an online life
An ecological approach to mental health and behavior
Mental Health and Special Educational Needs?
To find out more and book your place, click here.
Weekly DfE Publication
To help you keep updated with the latest publications from the DfE - please find a summary attached for the previous two weeks, commencing 11/02/2019.
Modelling Better Reading
Stories and poems have memorable characters, exciting or surprising moments, and – often – a lot of fun. They need to be relayed to the listening children with enough enthusiasm and skill to make them meaningful and enjoyable. A good story, well read, will encourage better listening and help forge the bond between teacher and pupil.
If you know the story – ditch the book and tell it directly to the children
If using a book, ensure that it is a big one – large enough for every child to see every picture and key word
Maintain eye contact with the children
Use a range of facial expressions and vocal tones. We don’t have to be Oscar winners to read a story well – we just have to engage with it and bring it to life in a way that makes it a pleasure to read
Insert surprising phrases into the story-reading – ones which aren’t necessarily in the book – to keep the children alert! “And the ghost said ‘SIT UP AT THE BACK’” is a good example of this!
Don’t forget to stop and ask the children what they think will happen next, or why something has happened…but not so often that the story loses its flow
Make connections with shared experiences as the story is related: if someone has had a tumble in the playground, bring that in to a reading of Humpty Dumpty!
If you are holding a big book, make sure you lift it up and turn it so that every child can see each page
Ask the less able children what they can see in the pictures, or to identify specific details
Ask the more able children to suggest what characters might be saying or thinking in the pictures
Pace your delivery! Don’t speak too quickly, or slowly, and leave regular pauses so that you maintain suspense, excitement…and can check the children’s attention levels
If you enjoy reading the story, the children will enjoy listening to it and it will encourage them to become better readers in time
So what is Sensory Processing Disorder? (SPD)
The term SPD can only be considered when it causes significant difficulties for an individual in their daily life. This could be impacting on their cognitive development, behaviour and/or their social interactions.
In addition to the more commonly known senses of visual (sight), hearing (auditory), taste (gustatory), smell (olfactory), and tactile (touch) - there are two other important senses: Proprioception and Vestibular. These two senses, together with tactile are the sensory systems mostly affected by SPD.
Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints, muscles and tendons all over our bodies, including our
jaw and vertebrae. Receptors are activated by stretching movements, compression or traction and so “heavy” work can really stimulate the muscles into providing feedback. Weight bearing activities through the joints of the body trigger the receptors and this information is passed to the nervous system. It is estimated that just 15 minutes of a proprioceptive activity or “hard physical work” can have a 1-2 hour positive effect on sensory processing. Our brains thrive on movement to help us to attend to and process information. We need to keep this in mind when planning activities and ensure we have lots of opportunities for movement. SPD affects one in 20 children so there is a strong probability that each setting will have some children with this disorder.
The tactile system involves the entire skin network including inside our mouths. Nerve endings are present in the lining of the cheeks and gums and on our tongues and many children with SPD are “picky eaters”. The tactile system is also responsible for how we process pain and temperature. Tactile input includes how we feel light and firm touch and helps us to discriminate differing textures including dry to wet and messy play. This will affect how much pressure we need to mark make, construct, and handle tools and equipment. Each child is unique with SPD and will react differently. Light touch can be very painful and unpleasant to some children. Tactile input can be calming to some and over stimulating to others and sensory needs and challenges can change on a day to day basis. Techniques which work one day may not be tolerated the next, so it is important for practitioners to be aware of a number of differing activities to offer children in their setting.
When we think vestibular, we need to think about balance and movement. The vestibules are located in the inner ear and detect motion. There are 3 canals which each detect different planes of movement. These are back and forth movements, side to side movements and up and down movements, rotary and diagonal. All planes need to work together efficiently for the right information to be processed and regulated by the nervous system. Fifteen minutes of vestibular activities can have a 6-8 hour positive effect on the brain. Some children may present as fearful of running or jumping or even walking down a gentle slope. Some will prefer sedentary activities and excel at fine motor activities.
Weekly DfE Publication
To help you keep updated with the latest publications from the DfE - please find a summary attached for the previous two weeks, commencing 04/02/2019.