Ladies Fellowship took place at Thorndike House for the last time this week as the next month’s meeting will be in our own hall. This evening’s talk was entitled ‘School’s Out’ being a talk about life at Abbey Court School by Maureen Thompson, and her two friends, also Teaching Assistants, Tina and Cath.
They represented a total of 29 years service at both the Primary site in Long Catlis Road and the Secondary site and Further Education unit in Rede Court Road Strood. Approx 150 students attend the school which also has a nursery. Each class has 7, 8 or 9 pupils, with one teacher and three or four classroom assistants. This shows that there is a high level of disability amongst these special children. All have a learning disability in addition to other disabilities. Makaton signing is used throughout the school and there are a wide range of signs and symbols, picture aids and helpful individual communication folders to support the children s learning. These were demonstrated to us – one of them being the PECS system. The school is very well provided for in terms of appropriate buildings and facilities including a swimming pool. The aim is for each child to work to their own targets and to enrich their learning by many different experiences. By staff working in their teams great achievements are made. Music is a popular medium of activity but every opportunity is given for outside activities as well. The school has transport and the children are taken on visits to experience different places in the environment.
We were encouraged to join in with a literacy activity called Write Dance, using either shaving foam or crayons. As you will see from the pictures, shaving foam was popular when we were asked to listen to the music and move our hands accordingly in the foam. Much hilarity ensued. Cath, who supports students in the Further Education Unit, gave a powerpoint presentation showing how they learn to prepare food after shopping for it in local supermarkets and then cook it. They do a lot of work to help independent living.
Maureen said that all of them are dedicated to the children who come to be in their care and always strive to enable them achieve. They don’t mind how many times they have to show them how to do things to reach their goals but find it very worthwhile and exciting when they do.
Irene read out some prayers that children had written as the benediction and prayed a special prayer for Maureen, Tina and Cath, the children and their families.
Next month’s meeting is on May 13 and is ‘An artist at work’ with Michael Gibbs. All ladies are welcome to attend at our SA Hall in Church Street, Chatham starting at 8pm. Contact us for more information.