There are 7 pupils in Senior 1 class. It is a moderate class, which caters for a wide variety of needs. All the pupils work both individually and as part of a group. Each pupil is progressing at their own individual level.
We invest a lot of time in and put a lot of emphasis on developing independent, social and hygiene skills, road safety, healthy eating and physical activity as well as covering all the academic subjects.
Every Friday morning we visit Lynch’s restaurant as a whole class social outing. This provides a great opportunity for the pupils to develop and enhance their social skills and Language and Communication skills through interacting with their peers and with school and restaurant staff members. It is also a great opportunity to develop and practice good hygiene skills, while eating, develop and practice independent skills by using fork and knife correctly, and ordering and paying for their own food. The pupils also get to put their maths skills from the classroom into practice while paying for their food. The pupils also practice good manners while ordering, eating and paying for their food.
Every morning after assembly, Senior 1 begins the day with a 10 minute walk (weather depending). This is a fantastic opportunity to integrate many parts of the Curriculum together in such a short space of time including physical outdoor activity, road safety, Geography, Social skills, Language and Communions and independent skills. This is a very enjoyable and energising activity. The fresh air and exercise helps enable the pupils to function more effectively and efficiently, and increase concentration as the school day progresses.
The pupils in Senior 1 also get the opportunity to go swimming on Mondays, cooking on Tuesdays, PE on Tuesdays integrated with other classes and soccer on Wednesday afternoons in the community centre. The pupils also enjoy playing basketball, go-carts and bikes, gardening, OT, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Pupils also work individually on the computer. They work as part of a group on interactive whiteboard, construction boxes, board games, card games, bingo etc to further develop and enhance social skills, turn taking skills, and co-operative skills. The pupils work individually in pairs and as part of a group during their academic work and deskwork.
Senior 1 and ASD 5 won the Tidy Towns Garden Competition for having the best school garden for the 2018 Tidy Towns Competition.
We also encourage healthy eating as a class. Senior 1 made a fantastic effort when the Food Dudes came to the school. There is a lot of emphasis on continuing and maintaining healthy eating habits at school and at home throughout the entire year. Pupils in Senior 1 also get the opportunity to go horse riding once every 2 weeks to Liskennett Farm in Granagh Co. Limerick. They get to experience riding the horses around the outdoor sensory walk. If it is raining, the pupils get to ride the horses around inside the indoor area.
Senior 1 also takes charge of the annual Couch to 5K Challenge. The class integrates with all the other middle and senior classes throughout the school. The challenge caters for all levels. Depending on each pupil’s level one group completes 1K, a second group completes 3K and the final group completes the full 5K. We all walk at a pace that keeps everyone together as a team. We gradually increase the challenge from week to week over a 6 week period, twice a week.
The couch to 5K final is in week 6, which involves walking from the school to the town park, a full lap of the town park and the return walk back to school. There is a finish line when we arrive at school. Every pupil that took part gets a medal. After the medal presentation there is a party and a disco. The couch to 5K is a great opportunity for integration between classes.
Health and Leisure students from the IT in Tralee spend a 10 week block in the school and are very helpful throughout the 6 week challenge. There is a big emphasis on Road Safety at all times during the challenge. Every pupil and adult must wear a high vis jacket at all times. We also bring plenty of water, especially during the warm days to keep everybody hydrated. If the weather is warm we also insure pupils are wearing appropriate clothing and sunscreen applied.
Senior 1 has a very active and balanced timetable focusing a lot on independent skills, social skills, hygiene skills, physical activity, road safety, healthy eating, communication and language while also covering all the academic areas during deskwork.
We strive to teach as many general life skills as possible in order to enable each pupil to function as independently as possible as they become adults. There is also a strong emphasis on creating a very positive classroom atmosphere and a warm, friendly, supportive and welcoming learning and working environment.
Kevin O Callaghan