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Primary Bridges

We have 8 children, a teacher and 2 educational assistants in the classroom this year.  In addition, we have weekly speech and language support, weekly occupational therapy support and the support of a school psychologist as needed.  Children are integrated into Gym classes with other children of the same age.  One of the EAs accompanies them.  Our Integrated Arts Teacher also supports the children in our classroom.  She provides additional art, drama and music experiences to enhance the students' learning.
For each child in the Primary Bridges Program, an Individualized Education Plan will be developed and shared with guardians twice yearly.  The plan outlines the child’s current levels of performance and specific goals for new learning.  Curricula are adapted to meet the needs of the individual child.
Our program emphasizes reading, writing, mathematics, social skills, and personal safety.  Children learn about their amazing brains and FASD throughout the year.  Themes are presented that incorporate Science, Social Studies, Health and the Arts.

Language Arts: 

 Our Language Arts Program in a comprehensive program.  Children are involved in real reading and writing tasks for an audience each day.  Spelling and rules regarding grammar are incorporated into their daily work.  Good literature, teacher demonstration, and conferencing are used to support the children in their learning.
                                                          
Numeracy:

Daily math provides on-going assessment, direct instruction and daily practice in the topics of Number, Patterns and Relations and Shape and Space.  There is an emphasis on developing mental math strategies and memorization of basic arithmetic facts.   Our classroom has a wealth of concrete materials to assist the students in their understanding.  Dreambox and Smartboard activities are also incorporated to support daily learning.            

Themes:

Science/Health:                         
Growth and Changes in Animals
Properties of Solids, Liquids and Gases
Air and Water in the Environment     
About Us and How We Learn
Explore ways to be safe, have a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition and incorporate active living.
                                                    
 Social Studies:
Our Community
Our Canadian Community
Connecting with Others in another Community
The 7 Teachings   

There may be shorter themes that arise due to interests and inquiries that happen to emerge through our daily classroom life. In October, we will be involved in a Learning Through the Arts Project with other primary classrooms.  A visiting artist will help us to learn about The 7 Teachings and sustaining our environment through visual arts, storytelling and drama.  From January until March, we will be involved in a weekly yoga class with Cathy, Spack, a certified yoga instructor.

Technology is used to support classroom learning.  Each child uses Dreambox (numeracy support) and computer programs to support literacy.

Field trips, visitors, cooking, sewing experiences and arts and craft activities will be planned to support curricula areas.  

We play outside each day, weather permitting.

There will be a short homework task most evenings and a communication book that will go home with your child daily.
 


In the program, the children learn about FASD at the level that is developmentally appropriate.  The domains of the brain are likened to tools in a toolbox.  These conversations include talking about individual strengths and challenges.  For things that are tricky, we try to develop strategies that will lead to success. Children with FASD do learn, sometimes in different ways.  We celebrate out " fat thinking" and :"wow" moments by colouring in a dendrite on our brains.




Tiles of a darker colour have been inlaid into the flooring tiles leading to the classroom door.  Children with FASD often want their own space.  They may have a strong response to being bumped or touched and so these tiles are visual reminders of where to stand when lining up.




The Primary Bridges program has a Smartboard, Apple TV, document camera, computers and nine iPads to support student learning.  Our children often have a strength or a keen interest in technology.




An assortment of timers used in the classroom so transitions can be made easier.



Visual timers and daily agendas support the children during the day.  There are no surprises - children know the order of the learning activities and the time allotment for each.  This allows for easier transitions for the students.




Ten weeks of Yoga instruction is provided yearly.  "Yoga for Kids" program uses a multi-sensory approach to teaching children, Yoga helps with body awareness, self-regulation, attention, stress management, motor planning and cooperative learning skills.



Our classroom has a "bunny hole."  This is a spot for a child to go if he/she is feeling overwhelmed.  It can be thought of as a calming spot or a personal space spot.




There are a variety of hand held listening helpers in the classroom.  Some children find it difficult to focus and listen when the teacher is talking.  The basket of ear protectors are available for children to use when they are involved in a quiet activity and want to block out any background noises.  Our children often have difficulty filtering out extraneous stimuli.



Children with FASD need to be immersed in oral language and print to support their early years learning.  There are many visuals in the classroom.  However the rule is that when materials are not being used to support the student's learning, it should be covered so that it does not become a distraction.



The classroom has a variety of sitting tools such as rockers, bean bags, ray-lax chairs.  Some of the seating surfaces are hard - others are soft.  Being able to select the seat that works for the child is allowing him/her to make some choices that make it likely that he/she can succeed at his/her learning task.​



Children with FASD have many strengths and gifts that need to be recognized and encouraged.  The Bridges Program builds many opportunities for children to be involved with areas they love and have abilities in.  In the classroom, daily movement breaks often involve singing, arts, crafts, cooking and sewing.



Thereband straps are tied on the legs of classroom chairs to allow for that extra bit of movement that allows our children to be more alert.



Visuals are used in the classroom to reming children about routines, sequences and where things belong.  Often a primary behavioral characteristic of children with FASD is difficulties with memory.  This is an easy environmental adaptation.​

You will be invited into our classroom several times a year to celebrate with your child.  Thank-you for all that you do to support your child and his/her education.


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