The Port Phillip Specialist School Junior Team work in collaboration with the specialist teachers and therapists to create a program that promotes the holistic development of each individual student. We employ a range of strategies and approaches to work on English, Maths, Personal Learning, Interpersonal Development and P.E., Health and Wellbeing.
Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum
The Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum (VPAC) developed by Port Phillip Specialist School allows the students to learn and develop through Drama, Dance, Music and the Visual Arts. In consultation with the specialist teachers in each of these areas and the therapy team, strategies are selected by each classroom teacher when designing their classroom programs, which are based on the strengths, talents and needs of each individual student. The work of the students culminates in our annual Class Act performance. The students are involved in each step of the process, including selecting the theme for their performance, designing and making backdrops, props and costumes, choreographing dances, scripting lines and the actual performance.
The team recognises the importance of play in childhood development. As well as being provided with opportunities for free-play and exploratory-play throughout the week, students are exposed to play based approaches as part of their programs. The drama therapist and specialist drama teacher work alongside classroom teams to develop and refine the use of play as a teaching and learning strategy with each student.
Communication is central to all of the activities in which the students engage throughout their week in Port Phillip Specialist School. The Speech Pathology Team consult with classroom teachers in order to promote the development of communication skills and lessons are differentiated to ensure each student’s individual communication level and method is catered for. The students from Foundation, Pathways and Transition classes visit the Junior classes regularly and act as communication partners for the younger students.
Each student is observed by a team of therapists and specialists who work with classroom teams to provide a happy, safe and supportive environment. Every program is individualized and acknowledges the strengths, talents and needs of the student. Parents and families are seen as central to the development of the physical environment and learning program and are consulted and informed throughout the process.
The Junior team collaborate to promote the development of social skills. This is done by discrete social skills training, shared gym sessions, encouraging turn taking on the playground, modelling good communication and social skills and providing safe environments in which to practise. The team inform the rest of the staff working in Port Phillip Specialist School of socials skills that are being worked on in order to provide multiple opportunities to rehearse throughout the day.
The ultimate goal of each program in the Junior Program in Port Phillip Specialist School is to enable the students to work and live independently. The students regularly work through familiar activities in their classrooms and are exposed to real life situations through our Community Access Program. The local community provides a ready made learning environment for the students, where they can experience going to the shop or the post office, using a pedestrian crossing when walking to the playground and visiting the library.