Blossom House Foundation Stage is a specialist provision for children with speech, language and communication difficulties. The children have access to a small group learning environment for all activities, with a high adult to child ratio. The group is led by a teacher, a speech and language therapist, and two classroom assistants who have received internal training to support children with language difficulties and who understand the children’s specific needs. 1:1 support may be provided if it is required, particularly for children who need extra support with their behaviour. The foundation stage group may be a combination of nursery and reception children depending on our current cohort.
The children are provided with a broad and balanced curriculum, including the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which is adapted for children with language and communication disorders and to meet their individual learning needs. It is based upon learning in small, progressive steps with opportunities to gain full mastery of each skill before moving on. The curriculum is delivered by a teacher who is trained and experienced in working with children with language and communication difficulties and who provides multi-sensory specialist teaching. The children are taken on trips outside school where they may have the opportunity to integrate with others, such as trips to the farm, local shops, and the local theatre. Joint placements with mainstream nurseries are possible.
The children receive intensive speech and language therapy input. Speech and language therapy is an integral part of the Foundation Stage curriculum. Daily group on-site speech and language therapy is delivered in school by a speech and language therapist who works with the class throughout the week. Children also receive individual speech and language therapy if required. All language used throughout the nursery activities is modified to account for the children’s needs. There is close liaison between the therapist, the class teacher and all other staff involved with the children. Makaton training is delivered as part of our continual professional development programme.
All children receive three group occupational therapy sessions and two group physiotherapy sessions a week. Both our Occupational Therapist and our Physiotherapist are integral members of the nursery team and are involved in our planning, target setting and ongoing assessment for all the children. They can also provide individual therapy if it is felt to be necessary and/or it is written on their statement.
IEPs are set once a term and monitored half-termly. Parents are given copies of all IEPs. Parents attend a termly curriculum meeting to hear and discuss the themes and topics for each subject. This is also an opportunity to discuss vocabulary that will be used in lessons and can be reinforced at home. Parents are also invited to regular events, to meet others socially, for support, and to participate in learning opportunities. Parents are welcome both to chat informally and to make appointments to meet with the foundation stage manager and other staff as and when required.
When the children are nursery age they attend from 9.15 -12.15. They begin to attend full time school in reception the term they turn five. In the afternoons the curriculum continues to focus on the seven areas of learning in the revised EYFS with input from the teacher and the speech and language therapist.
Blossom House School is an independent specialist setting to which the phased approach in the Code of Practice does not apply. As an educational setting we make provision which is over and above that which could be made in an LEA mainstream setting for a child with a statement. The provision made is in fact over and above that which can be made in many LEA specialist language units.