January 26th, 2019
Welcome to the
Winter Semester - 2019
“To the Circle, a Few Cozy Thoughts”
...a time to hibernate
for hot tea
and a warm fire.
...a space to think
up new paths
that ‘will’ us to dream
and new learning.
...to look for the Sparrow
so sweet and so small
to bring joy to the white
of the cold and the shining
of all that is right.
2019 is starting off strong in Literacy! Everyone is jumping right in with the 5W’s to read, “When the Snow Comes!” Applying the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How, everyone shared their comprehension of the story by writing down their ideas. More importantly, each Literacy group is learning the “responsibility” to listen carefully to each other and offering support when meeting challenging words.
With only two weeks under their belts, the “responsibility” of taking books home from the Library every Tuesday has been earned! To encourage conversation when at home, ask the Client to share the book they chose from their Book Bags. They are given one week to read their story in their own chosen way. Returning the book at ‘Library on Tuesdays’, Clients are encouraged to share a short oral summary to their group. Home support is gratefully acknowledged to share interests and consistently practice reading skills.
A few Clients have exercised their “Rights” and are not quite as keen on borrowing from the Library; at least not quite yet! Highlighting that “Readers make the Best Storytellers” in all forms of communication, it is hoped that everyone can share the benefits from our well-stocked Library!
Literacy is also incorporated into all forms of communication everyday. Listening skills, speech and conversations through all mediums, iPad research and the Electives component conducted every other Thursday encourages self-confidence to participate in all our Rotations for Clients to be the very best they can be!
Literacy in Electives are threaded with a variety of visual, tactile and group exercises. Group participation has been exceptional!! Clients consistently show respect for each other with pats on the back and words of encouragement!
Lots of fun will be coming their way with exploring new ideas and books to come! Chat it up at home and ask, “What book are you reading this week?”
Clients will continue with the practical concepts of Time and Money. We will delve deeper into the two subjects, highlighting different yet new parts of each to align with the theme of Rights and Freedoms and our responsibility of these to “Others”.
We have done a few lessons and activities on Time Perception; physical representations for ‘seconds’ to show how much time has passed and how it seems to ‘fly by’ when it actually hasn’t.
We will also cover scheduling and the responsibilities that come along with that.
For Money, we are looking at budgeting, savings, and staying responsible with our money. Along the same line we will look at what Rights Clients have with the money they’ve earned and their responsibilities in spending it; what kinds of things they could spend it on and the tools that they can use to spend it ie.,Credit Cards, Debit Cards, online banking and cash. There will also be two “Stores” this Semester to keep up the challenge and pace for the Clients to practice their saving and spending. The first one will be open for business on Feb. 7th.
Technology has been utilized sparingly, which will be a trend this Semester. It is a fantastic tool to be used in select scenarios, but will not be a dominating factor in this Semester’s lessons. We briefly used the iPads last week to use the timer for scheduling and time perception, and used it for the Prep Games on Thursday to keep us on time. Clients are also asked to put away their earbuds and other electronics in the morning before Circle, and instead engage with other Clients, read a book or colour, doing any number of activities in the To-Do center, or helping the Educators finish setting up for the day.
DPA has been great so far. We have not been outside due to the fact that winter has come in full force, and for the Clients safety we have done some great activities inside. The first week consisted of various group-based activities, such as grouping after the music stops and I say a number. The Clients then have to group themselves as quickly as possible into a group of the said number. This encourages teamwork and engaging with each other more directly, and moving away form the usual peers in their Rotations. We have also done some very successful chair yoga sessions that the Clients love, led by Erica.
Continuing with the very relevant topic of food and nutrition from previous semesters, we have begun our science rotation for this semester with a focus on ‘food and farming’. As we explore ‘others’ around us, it is important to gain an understanding of the role that others play in providing us with all of the nutritious foods that our bodies need. After some fun discussions about our favourite foods, clients worked on classification skills by tracing foods back to their source; plants and animals. Moving forward, we will be learning more about the farming process and all of the behind the scenes work from others that gets the food on our plates! Of course, we will also be applying this knowledge to some fun taste test and cooking activities throughout the semester.
Art: New Semester Means New Portfolios
New portfolios are created at the beginning of each new Semester and are used to assemble and house all Art or Craft Projects completed during the Semester. Instead of bits and pieces making their way home inconsistently, the packed, organized portfolio goes home with the Client on Celebration Day!
The Winter Semester Portfolio, beginning with Side #1, had Clients tape or mask off the numbers 2019, then decorate the surrounding card using the mediums of their choice. The masked numbers are then stripped of their tape, revealing a year that “Pops”! Lists of all the major Civic Holidays this Semester filled in Side #2. We have lots of joyful events to celebrate which will help brighten some of those challenging Winter Days!
Art, Art History and Craft Projects tried out in our Electives Rotation every other Thursday, can be easily connected to “Freedom of Expression”. Every project begins with a clean, open vision, ready to be filled by the Client’s own choices.
Taking a plain, new paint stick, then painting or decorating it to become a Rhythm Stick for our Rhythm Circle; a work of Art provides fun with music, linking choice and participation.
Sharing a self-designed paper tube sculpture vibrantly painted up to become your own new creation is a real room brightener to bring joy to “Others”! Many exciting projects ahead!
Throughout the Semester, Clients are encouraged to complete their projects independently; within their own ‘Time and Space’. We offer guidance, support, tips and tools to getting there with less stress and self-empowerment towards an increased self-confidence. There is no right or wrong with Art and every Client is an Artist!!
Skills-at-Will was designed to assist Clients in understanding social interactions, practicing better habits of their own self-care and well-being so that they may benefit within a more comfortable life-style with increased communication. This can then lead Clients to presenting a more confident and empowered self awareness offering their own special abilities into a social everyday community; to be accepted with the respect they deserve with all the Rights and Freedoms available to everyone. From this comes an understanding of the ‘will’ within each of us to explore our potential to always want to learn more!
This Semester Skills-at-Will will focus on 3 Canadian Rights and Freedoms; Freedom of Expression and Thought, Freedom of Equality and Freedom of Association. We will take time to explore and understand each concept as it relates to the Clients and “Others” around them.
To date, we have focused on the Freedom of Equality, learning how our needs can be different or the same and how when these come together can support us all being “Equal”.
Further into the Semester, Clients will be encouraged to explore and the choose a specific Right or Freedom and how it will relate to a goal that they choose to work on for themselves.
“The power in all of us comes from the power in each of us!”