Communication is core to the curriculum at Northway. We work constantly towards using every opportunity to develop speaking and listening skills not only in discrete literacy or Speech and language sessions but throughout our daily routine. We use a range of communication forms and encourage our children to use a communication form which is personal to them and that they feel comfortable with.
Our reading is developed through the love of stories and making stories come alive by using a range of sensory stories, story sacks and drama. Alongside this we use Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) big books, ORT Interactive stories and ORT individual reading books. We also adapt ORT stories and create colourful semantic books which support our early readers. We use a mix of THRASS and Jolly Phonics to support the learning of phonetics using songs and rhyme to encourage enjoyment and engagement.
Writing starts with mark making and getting messy at Northway. Using and manipulating a range of tactile materials is important in the process of our children’s writing and the development of their fine motor skills. We use ‘Handwriting Without Tears’ as a writing scheme which focuses on the pre-writing shapes and getting these secure with our children before moving onto forming letters and writing sentences. Making writing relatable to our children is key and again we do this by using topics or experiences that our children are excited and engaged by.
Language, communication and social interaction are fundamental when expressing needs and building relationships. We therefore believe in promoting communication and choice making opportunities at all times. We work closely with speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to support children’s communication skills throughout the curriculum
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to a range of strategies and tools to use alongside or instead of spoken language so that individuals can communicate effectively for a range of reasons. At Northway each pupil is supported to develop individualised AAC skills. We value all types of communication and support children to use methods including non-verbal communication (gestures, facial expressions and body language), objects of reference, vocal communication, sign language (with a focus on Makaton), low-tech picture communication (including symbols and photos) and high-tech devices. Staff work in partnership with families to develop a system (or combination of systems) which best meets the pupil’s individual needs.