Today all the students went out to the special olympics sports day, a public event including mentally disabled kids and even adults. They played multiple simplified games and sports (bowling, football, basketball, even had a bouncy castle) all the students were assigned 1 on 1 with either a family member who came today, or one of the EA’s. They all enjoyed the events and behaved well, though they did run off a few times due to excitement. This was a very rewarding experience that taught us to be more patient and empathetic with others, allowing us an inside perspective on how mentally disabled children learn and develop. We really wish we could’ve stayed for longer as we had to leave just as we had bonded with the children. I hope we can go visit again!
Jessica and Annika
Today a group of volunteers came to the school and taught the kids how to play Bocce. Students from different ages got a chance to participate in a mini-tournament with the help of the volunteers and the teachers. Since the game is very slow, it was hard to keep the student’s attention on the task. After lunch, my class rehearsed for their Christmas performance; they were all dressed up in cute costumes, singing and dancing along to a song. They then had PE on the large field, where they had to do different activities such as running and climbing the stairs. This was a little bit tricky for me as some of the students wanted to hold my hands while they were running. However, I had to be careful with how much I was helping them as they had to be more independent.
Written by: Pina Brandner
In the morning my class separated up as some of them had swimming in the morning, however, since they go in groups of 3 and 2 some of them stayed behind for the morning circle(sing good morning song and the weather song and count how many students came to class). While some students were swimming we did art we decorated the fishes that will be used for the Christmas assembly, this was fun as the kids got to express their imagination. After we finished art and all the kids who had swimming finished, the kids bought money to should, and we went to the eating launch. As it was set up as a little shop so the kids can learn how to sell and buy things, after this, the kids had their snack time. After we separated the class again as some kids went to the multi-sensory room while others stayed in class, this was changing for me as one of my was having a bad they today and he didn’t want to listen or do anything. As his very young I wanted to baby him but I couldn’t as they have to learn how to be independent, after this, the kids had lunch, and then some went to play time while other went to the library to play and listen to music. After lunch we did Christmas rehearsals dance as the kids will be firefights it was very challenging as the kids were not listening at any of the teachers, however, in the end, we managed to calm them down a little.
Written by: Nadege Rangira
The first two days were predominantly about observing the behaviour and actions of my fellow students at Jockey Club Sarah Roe. Over the two days, I supervised the children during their playtime, played basketball with them, taught them how to do squats and planks through demonstration, supported them to develop basic writing skills and listened to their speech development during their speech therapy sessions. Despite being involved in various activities, I did not feel as comfortable with the kids, as their actions and behaviour were unusual and indescribable. I communicated this to my teacher and she said that you get used to it, because there is not much that can be done to tackle smaller issues, given the current situation of students. And hence, I felt that today I was able to feel more and more comfortable and increased levels of participation + communication with the kids.
Earlier today was slightly different. I was assigned a significant grunt work such as sticking velcro or laminating sheets of paper. I felt that it was redundant to my development, however I couldn’t take away the fact that my contributions better equipped/support children to learn the given the contact. My contributions were also helping the environment, as the fine-tuning adjustments I made enabled the material to be reusable.
Later, I worked two students to change the cushion covers of the ground floor. I noticed that I further developed the ability to stay patient, as the students would unintentionally ignore me, however my behaviour was still very neutral. I was able to engage in increased communication despite Jimmy’s (a student at JCSR) inability to speak English fluently. This was done through through actions or facial expressions. Jimmy was reactive and able to grasp how I wanted him to conduct the particular task.
Before the end of the day, my class was involved in some yoga to relax their brains and bodies. Me, with the passion to sports and stretching, was able to help out students with their body positions, allowing them to make the stretch more effective. To what I felt, my involvement was most significant here compared to any other day/activity, given that I was more comfortable with the children and they were more comfortable with me being around too.
The first two days at Jockey Club Sarah Roe School was a very good experience and eye opener to the hardships of mentally or physically challenged individuals. I helped supervise the students during class work and playtime etc. We also helped support their needs such as taking them to physiotherapy, hydrotherapy etc. There were many challenges working with the students, due to being placed in a class with mainly physically disabled and non verbal students it was very hard for me to judge what the student wants. However over the two days I slowly managed to grasp an understanding on each students reactions to directions and words. I realized that although a lot of the students in my class were non verbal they could still give you feedback and attempt to communicate with you via hand gestures sounds or movements. Aside from working with children I also did a lot of preparation for student class work, eg. laminating worksheets and making folders for student activities. I realized over the past two days how fortunate i am to not have to face these limitations in my everyday life, I have also found it super rewarding to help these children, this is certainly something that i would do voluntarily in the future.
I have been allocated to work as an EA (educational assistant) throughout the week in the “Sapphire class.” The teacher began class by introducing me to the students.
The first subject, Physical Education, commenced roughly at 9:45. In PE, the focus was on running, and as a class, we ran around the KGV football pitch several times to develop the aerobic endurance of students. I was assigned to run with a boy named Josh and a girl named Katy. Josh injured both his knees while walking to the pitch. He was disappointed because he was excited to race with me and to show me how fast he could run. On the other hand, Katy ran well and impressed her teachers especially her PE teacher, Mike.
After this, we did an activity known as “circle time” whereby students shared their weekend experiences with their teachers and classmates. It was fun listening to their “awesome weekend” (as the students call it). I also shared about my weekend experience with them. At 10:40 there was a 20-minute break, and then we moved on to African Drumming. Students had a lot of fun here as the instrument fascinated them. While there, I also picked up the basics of playing this drum which was quite amusing. Then it was lunch time, where I was assigned as a ‘staff on duty’ at the playground. The students were so friendly that they kept playing and talking with me.
Reflecting on today, Day 1 has undoubtedly been an engaging, educational and fascinating experience. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to teach and build a friendship with such amazing students who are not only friendly but unbelievably creative and kind. I look forward to learning more about my students throughout this insightful week.