Learning Support Staff
The Board of Trustees provides additional teacher staffing and teacher aide resourcing to support children with their learning at Elmwood Normal School. The Learning Support staff members currently working at our school are:
Lynette Williamson – Learning Support Teacher
Gaye Banks – Teacher Aide (Learning Support)
Sarah Redmayne – Teacher Aide (Learning Support)
Cate Stevens – Teacher Aide (ESOL)
Susan Hird – Teacher Aide (ORS)
Anna Schmidli – Teachers’ Representative on Learning Support team
Bridget Hill – RTLB representative on Learning Support team
Maree Harris – Deputy Principal (SENCO)
Parent Information Sessions
Parent information sessions are held each term on various topics. Please click on the following links to view the information from previous sessions:
Characteristics of Dyslexia
Elmwood Dyslexia Power Point Notes
Parent Communication contact
The Learning Support team works with both small withdrawal groups of children and in classes providing support for individuals or groups of students.
Children who participate in Learning Support programmes have been referred to the Learning Support team by their classroom teachers. Students are assessed by a member of the team with the results from the assessments being discussed at the fortnightly Learning Support meeting. Children are either accepted into the programme, with parents receiving written notification of inclusion in the programme, or if the referral is declined, recommendations for classroom programme adaptation are made.
Range of programmes offered
Our Learning Support team offers a range of programmes, which may vary from term to term depending upon the current needs of the students. Programmes offered at Elmwood include the following:
Oral language support – designed to increase the spoken word knowledge and foundation of young children
Phonological awareness – designed to increase children’s knowledge of sounds and letters
Soundcheck – a programme designed to build correct sound to print connections, or letter / sound relationships
Early Words – a programme designed to support children with the acquisition of the all important high frequency words to kick start their early reading
Reading support – offered across a range of year levels to support students develop their decoding skills and understanding of print
Agility With Sound – offered with students from Y4 to support their acquisition of reading skills
Writing support – offered across a range of year levels to support children develop their writing skills
Spelling support – specifically targeting children’s recording of sound to print
Mathematics support – in-class support of students with the acquisition of mathematical concepts, particularly focusing on the number strand
Motor skills programme – designed to help with the development of gross motor skills, co-ordination, balance, cross-patterning and building up muscle tone
Handwriting programme – designed to assist children with developing their fine motor skills to support the acquisition of handwriting skills
Link with RTLB
Our school works closely with the Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Service from Cluster 35 administered from Casebrook Intermediate School. This group of specialist teachers accept students on to their roll, when they have been referred from our school to the service for extra support. The RTLB Service comes into classrooms to support the teacher by making observations of the child in the room, taking specialist assessments, talking with the child’s parent(s) and teacher, and making recommendations for the classroom teaching and learning programme and suggestions for additional support at home. The RTLB Service is part of a vital support network for the school as we look beyond our regular resources to support students who present with more challenging needs.
Supporting your children with their learning at home
Ideas to improve conversational skills and develop oral language foundation:
1. Try not to use too many questions. Instead, try and make statements and see if they can join in, e.g. “I went shopping today and you went…”
2. Encourage your child to ask you questions: Ask directly, e.g. “Ask Mummy, what did you do today?” Encourage follow-up questions, e.g. “I went shopping today. What can you ask me?” What did you…?”
3. If your child has poor eye contact, remind them that they must look at your eyes when you are talking. Keep reminding them by saying, “Eyes,” or “Looking.”
4. Use a home / school diary. This will give you and your child a visual representation (to help aid their memory and recall) of what has happened during the day.
Writing Tips for Parents
Jill Eggleton is an international Educational consultant based in New Zealand. She is the author of numerous children’s books, poetry and teacher resources on literacy development.
Jill recently held a teaching workshop in Christchurch on ‘Lighting the Literacy Fire’, which a group of Elmwood teachers were fortunate to attend. Some of the teaching tips for writing were relevant for parents assisting in this skill development at home and are noted in the summary below.
To be able to write you need:
A good sight vocabulary
Mastery of how to form letters
Good oral language development – is the key to writing
How to get thoughts on paper – is the basis of all writing
Explicit oral language needs to be a part of every day writing as writing flows on a sea of speech!
Developing strong skills in oral language is critical to a child’s writing success in early learning and beyond.
Talking to your child and encouraging him or her to talk to you are extremely important. Listening and speaking are a child’s introduction to language and literacy. Activities such as talking and singing will teach your child the sounds and structures of language, making it easier for him or her to learn to read and write.
What good writers need:
Experiences – family outings, trips, special occasions, memories
Provide experiences – Have a selection of articles, pictures for your child to write about e.g shells from the beach, feathers from a bird, gloves, funny glasses, torch, mask, coloured stones etc.
Imagination – make up stories, read stories everyday
To use their senses – look with seeing eyes, use language to describe what they see, what they feel etc.
Tips for Parents:
Make sure your child sees you writing – a grocery list, a journal while travelling. Show you use writing for a variety of purposes.
Show your child personal, business and consumer letters you write as well as receive.
Organise a notice or bulletin board for written messages for all family messages.
Look for opportunities for purposeful writing and encourage your child to write at every opportunity e.g. grocery lists, thank you cards, postcards, notes to the Tooth fairy, phone messages, or send e-mails to friends and family, etc. Make writing an enjoyable and positive experience.
Encourage your child to keep a scrapbook of family holidays to write captions or brief descriptions underneath the photographs.
Provide interesting stationery, journals, pens and stickers to encourage writing.
Be patient writing develops slowly with practice.
Praise your child’s efforts at writing. Be primarily interested in content. Emphasise your child’s successes. For every error your child makes, there will be lots of things done well. Remember that good writing means more than “correctness.” Focus on the meaning more than the mechanics.
Learning Support Teacher
Links to useful interactive websites
Here are some great websites, which will support your child with their learning at home.
www.FunBrain.com (great website for reading, writing and mathematics at all Year levels)
www.starfall.com (a great website for learning the alphabet, word families, and then ‘It’s Fun to Read’ is useful for children reading from Orange onwards)
www.sunshineonline.co.nz (Reading for emergent, early and fluent readers) Parents and children are welcome to use the Elmwood login (Username: elmwood; Password: sunshine)
www.amblesideprimary.com/ambleweb/mentalmaths/countersquare.html (an interactive hundreds board which is useful for learning to skip counter and work with numbers to 100)
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/mathgames/placevalue/value.htm (a really useful website for strengthening children’s understanding of place value)
http://www.topmarks.co.uk/place-value/place-value-charts (another useful website for developing place value knowledge)
http://www.novelgames.com/en/spgames/mathlines/ (a useful website for helping children learn their number bonds to 10)
http://www.mathplayground.com/number_bonds_30.html (another useful website for learning number bonds to 30)
http://www.prototec.co.nz/maths.html (a really useful website, without all the bells and whistles, to support children with learning their basic facts, especially number unknown e.g. 6 + ? = 10)
http://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button (a great site to visit for learning the multiplication and division basic facts) (a spelling game, like Boggle)