Term 4 Woodvale Social Clubs: 5-10 year olds Mondays and Wednesdays
Kelly Cavanagh, Team Leader Social Clubs
We have seen some wonderful progress from all our club members in the Woodvale groups this term! For our Woodvale groups, a typical session begins with a few action songs on the mat to get everyone moving have having some fun. Snack time follows, and then we send some time exercising using the Exercise Buddy program. For further information on the Exercise Buddy program go to Exercise Buddy App
Outdoor play then follows which may include games of hide and seek, cricket, basketball and obstacle courses. Dinner is then enjoyed together where we work on table manners before a social skills activity and some free indoor play.
Craft follows and we finish each session with 5 minutes of relaxation with music on our yoga mats. The structure of the sessions remain similar from week to week to help the children become familiar with the group format.
We use a variety of visual supports including individual schedules, group schedules and individual choice boards to encourage independence during each session. We also use a token reward system where all group members earn tokens which are exchanged for a ‘reward’ of their choice such as playing with their favourite toy, time outside or a prize.
This term we have worked on personal space, emotional regulation, winning and losing and what it means to be a good friend. The children have had a heap of fun creating flying saucers, bubble snakes, bug boxes for our enthusiastic bug catchers, friendship bracelets and much more during craft! Our lesson plans are developed specifically for the current children attending to ensure all group members get the most out of their time with us.
All group members are progressing through our specialised Life Skills Curriculum which is embedded into each and every activity they participate in. Skills they have mastered this term include instruction following and some fundamental functional communication.
It has been amazing to watch their confidence grow each session as they use these newly acquired skills. We are just so proud of all their achievements this term and we have thoroughly enjoyed watching friendships develop over this time.
We look forward to a new year filled with more fun and learning!
Term 4 Balcatta Social Club: 11-14 year olds Thursdays
Georgia Brealey, Lead Facilitator
Our Thursday Social Club was jam packed with fun and games for Term 4! As most of our club members were either entering High School next year or transitioning into a new year with new teachers and new classrooms, our theme for this term was transitions. We chose to focus on meeting new people, introduction and conversation skills and coping with new challenges and change.
Our structure every week includes a team building game, whereby participants engage in fun activities that harness and develop their communication and bonding skills. These activities include a Human Scavenger Hunt, where participants are given a sheet with instructions to ‘find people’ who fit that quality, for example, ‘find someone who has a brother’ would require participants to ask each other if they have a brother, and put their name down if they have. As the weeks went by it was fantastic to see these skills develop and to see the participants learning so much about each other while working on their conversation skills.
Another favourite is our MnM game, whereby participants pull an MnM out of a bag and answer the question corresponding to that colour. The questions for this game stemmed from emotion and transitional elements, such as ‘tell us one thing you are nervous about next year’ or ‘tell us one thing you are excited for next year’, this game participants a chance to name their emotions and their transitional worries, and share common experiences with each other.
As always we incorporate an exercise activity in each session to keep club members moving and active. This year charades was a favourite; using charades cards with scenarios surrounding meeting new people, dealing with conflicts at school and working through calm and confident solutions for all scenarios. Our clever club members also enjoyed acting out the right way, and the wrong way for these scenarios, with some hilarious results! We have begun to also incorporate yoga and meditation after our exercise activities, to work on our balance and coordination, and to practice slowly switching our minds off, and to focus solely on our breathing as an integral part of self-regulation.
This term we also completed a number of craft activities, focusing on self-reflection, fine motor coordination and creative thinking. This term we designed our own superheroes and created our own superhero masks, made anxiety reducing lava lamp jars and delved into some fine motor Christmas craft by making 3d Snowflakes. These activities are always a hit with our club members, it is great to see them showing off their creative flare and working through challenging tasks by using appropriate self regulation tools and problem solving strategies.
This term my co-facilitator Kurt and I have both been blown away with the progress of our club members, and super proud of the skills and friendships they have developed. This has been a great first step for our club members moving forward into the next stage in their lives, we look forward to having them return in the new year to begin the next stage of their future development.
Term 4 Armadale Social Club: 3-5 year olds Fridays
Kurt Barbarich, Lead Facilitator
Being one of the newer social club groups, Term 4 was the first complete term the Armadale sector has been a part of. Our kids, who are between the ages of 3 - 5 years old, have been a bundle of joy to work with this term and we all had a blast for the three hours every Friday (me especially).
Throughout the term our focus has been on building proficiency in engaging with peers (such as sharing and group play) as well as generalising some of the skills taught during AES’s one-on-one sessions to a group environment.
Due to their age it has been necessary to make a few adjustments to the typical structure of the sessions we have been running coming into this term to best cater to their needs. This ended in the sessions being fast-paced and full of activities to keep the kids enjoying themselves.
We began with a number of action songs to get the kids together on the mat to encourage interaction in a fun and accessible way. Then, after our first snack time, we engaged in some structured play, usually including playdoh and drawing or a group game such as What’s the Time Mr Wolf and Duck Duck Goose. This is also a time the kids get to have their own free play using a large variety of equipment.
After this we would use the yoga mats and have the kids follow a workout schedule before going outside where there are two big playgrounds, climbing equipment, a piano, a massive sandpit, and a cubby house full of kitchen props. Once finished and the kids were back inside having finished their dinner, we introduced a craft activity and then depending on how long this took another organised play activity such as reading a story or playing dress ups would be introduced.
Finally, after a quick clean up and giving of rewards, the kids would enjoy a break lying down on the mats and listening to calming music.
Each activity listed above is used as a tool to create opportunities for learning. For example snack time is useful for teaching manners and requesting, structured play allows for sharing and play skills, craft works on fine motor skills while outdoor play works on gross motor, and even the clean-up at the end begins to teach responsibility.
This is then paired with a range of visual supports, similar to the Woodvale groups, such as individual and group schedules, a token reward chart, and compics for sequencing (detailing tasks such as washing hands) and communication. These are also used in conjunction with the Life Skills curriculum in place as a way to prompt these valuable skills such as answering when their names are called, following instructions, and communicating their needs.
As well as getting to take home exciting prizes they get for completing their reward charts, the kids also had plenty of craft items by the end of the term, including Christmas baubles, salt dough snakes, straw rockets, and more!
All the kids progressed amazingly with their abilities to interact with each other and the new environment they were placed in. Every week I was able to notice some sort of improvement from each of the kids and was something I truly looked forward to each Friday.
I am so impressed by how much they have achieved so far and can’t wait to see them all back next year to continue this fun-filled journey.