- Foreign Languages *(special schools are exempt from this key learning area)
The Junior Primary School is an exciting and vibrant space at Eastern Ranges School. Lower Primary, consists of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder ranging from Foundation to Grade 3. The early years of education are pivotal for our students as they begin to transition to school life and we lay the foundations for their future learning at Eastern Ranges School.
Our building is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of our early years learners. All classrooms have access to sensory break spaces, outdoor learning spaces and private in class bathrooms to assist with the individual needs of all students.
We recognize the key learning that takes place in the early years of schooling, so we take a direct and individualised focus on communication, play skills and emerging independence with all our students.
We are currently in the process of developing a play based learning space for the Lower Primary students of Eastern Ranges School. This will specifically target developmental play and the vital role this has with the development of communication, interaction and social skills.
Play-based learning enables us to explicitly teach students the social constructs involved with positive and meaningful interactions, within a structured environment designed specifically to target their social learning needs.
This space is collaborative in design with input from classroom teachers, specialist teachers and therapy staff.
Our whole school pedagogy supports the Structured Teaching Framework and our Junior Primary school is no exception to this.
Students begin to work towards their independence from the early years as we introduce them to their individualised schedules to establish predictability within their day. This assists them to navigate their classes and transition with an increased level of independence.
This approach is further enabled in the ways that we present their educational resources. Learning experiences are designed to increase clarity of expectation, clearly define start and end points and reduce levels of prompt dependency which increases students independence in their learning.
Learning experiences are interest based to provide intrinsic motivation for engagement whilst also addressing student ILP goals (Individual Learning Plan) and the Victorian Curriculum.
Access to Specialist Teachers and Aquatics
Junior school students are fortunate to have access to a variety of specialist areas over the course of a school year. Such specialist teachers include;
- The Arts (Visual Arts and Performing Arts)
- Health and Physical Education (Physical Education, Human Relations and Outdoor Education)
- Music (Including Music Therapy)
- Technology ( Design and Digital)
Students will transition to the corresponding areas and be involved with programs that deliver content according to the Victorian Curriculum within their specialisations.
In addition, Junior Primary students have access to our school based Aquatics program on a weekly basis for the entire school year. This is facilitated by our Health and Physical Education teachers and is further supervised by the classroom staff.
We look forward to continuing to provide innovative and exciting programs in the Junior Primary, in order to support our enthusiastic little learners.
The Upper Primary consists of students from years three to six.
In Upper Primary the students are truly familiar with the process of Eastern Ranges School. As with the Lower Primary and Secondary School, Upper Primary students take part in Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music, Health and Physical Education (H&PE), Swimming and Technology.
Components of H&PE include Outdoor Education and Human relations. These subjects are introduced with the expertise of the H&PE staff and are followed up by the class teachers throughout the year. The information, skills and content continues the development of the subject, which begins in the junior school.
2017 sees the introduction of the Vocational Room in Upper Primary. This learning space has been set up to accommodate different learning opportunities, such as a shop, weighing, packaging and assembling. The skills learnt and practiced in this area will be a benefit for the work that takes place in senior school where students begin to focus and plan for post school options.
Students in Upper Primary school have the opportunity to work in like- minded groups within special times such as ‘Skills Group.’ Skills Group is run by the specialist teachers in the Arts and Technology
Structured teaching is part of the students’ daily routine. Students of Upper Primary school are very comfortable moving around the classroom and the school independently and with purpose as they go about their learning schedule.
There are many opportunities throughout the year to share the achievements and the fun with parents and friends when we celebrate a variety of special days, such as Education Week, Science week, Footy Colours Day.
Our year culminates in a “Moving Up” ceremony for the years six students moving up to secondary the following year. This is an opportunity to celebrate the students’ achievements with their family and friends – it a great experience.
Eastern Ranges School (ERS) is a developing toward P-12. At present, students have progressed to Year 11 resulting in the first cohort of students moving to Year 12 in 2018.
Transition planning is a significant part of Secondary School. As a result, curriculums have been developed that cater for the diverse needs of students. For students in years 7-10, the Victorian Curriculum will in general guide the development of individualised learning plans. For years 11-12, curriculums will be based on a pathways model, systematic instructional methods (structured teaching), and a positive support system (School-Wide PBS).
The pathway options for years 11-12 are:
- VCAL stream: VCAL units supported by VET courses and work experience.
- Applied Learning stream: modified VCAL units delivered through Pastoral programs, projects, work experience and volunteer work.
- Contemporary An evaluation will be carried out periodically to determine improvement areas in each of the curriculum areas.
Speech pathology at Eastern Ranges School works to assist our students to access the curriculum. Our two full time speech pathologists work within a consultative model within the classroom to provide support to staff. This enables classroom staff to continue to support communication in a functional and meaningful way throughout the day.
Support is also provided though:
- Direct classroom consultation to classroom staff including: modelling recommended strategies, Individual Learning Plan support, support, etc.
- Parent meetings
- Device trials and maintenance
- Professional development sessions
- Development of assessment and teaching resources
- Contribution to curriculum and policy development
The Speech Pathology team at Eastern Ranges School support the scope of current recommendations from Speech Pathology Australia. Speech pathology service provision for individuals with ASD should be flexible and dynamic with a focus on achieving functional and meaningful outcomes.
The primary role of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Ranges School is to support and enable students to participate throughout the school day, to the best of their ability. To achieve this the Occupational Therapists consider environmental factors that affect individual students learning, as well as their interests and motivations.
At Eastern Ranges School the Occupational Therapists work collaboratively within the classroom with teaching and support staff to develop strategies that support students to achieve their learning goals, as well as to access the curriculum. The Occupational Therapists provide consultation to staff in the following areas:
- Sensory processing and self-regulation– To enable students to be in a ‘ready to learn’ state throughout the day.
- Play skills– Including imaginative play and social skills.
- Fine motor skills– To encourage manipulation of small objects and tool use (e.g. scissors, pencils and cutlery)
- Pre-writing and handwriting skills– including tracing/copying shapes, prewriting lines, letters and numbers.
- Gross motor skills– Necessary for the classroom such as core strength, coordination and motor planning skills.
- Self-care– School related personal care tasks such as toileting and eating.
The Occupational Therapists occasionally run group programs for students with similar needs (e.g. fine motor/writing, regulation, play, gross motor and fussy eating groups). The junior playroom is up and running! All of the junior primary students have access to this space and it is a great place for therapists to target not only imaginative play skills but also social skills, fine motor and gross motor skills too. We are in the process of extending play programs to the other sub schools.
The Occupational Therapists also assist classroom staff to develop individualised therapy room programs, for students who need more support to stay regulated in the classroom and to achieve their learning goals. The therapy room contains a range of sensory equipment including swings, tunnels, therapy balls and a trampoline with a crashmat.
At times, the Occupational Therapists participate in case meetings with families and teaching staff to support shared goals. Support is also provided to leadership, classroom and other specialist/therapy staff through Occupational Therapy run professional development sessions and through collaboration around school wide initiatives, curriculum development and resourcing.
Music Therapy at Eastern Ranges School works to support our students in all areas of development and the curriculum. The Music Therapy program has a flexible service delivery model, determined by individual student goals and the school wide focus.
Music Therapy Services may include:
- Parent/child music based therapy sessionsUsing music to motivate students to communicate and/or play
- Using music to assist with emotional regulation
- Using music to assist with specific motor movements
- Music composition and Song writing
- Professional development sessions
- Development of music resources
Music Therapy at Eastern Ranges School is run by a Music Therapist who has training in Neurological Music Therapy Techniques and is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association. Music Therapy is the planned use of music to actively support students as they strive to improve their functioning and wellbeing. Music Therapists incorporate a range of music making methods within and through a therapeutic relationship.
The Eastern Ranges School Visual Art program offers our students an opportunity to explore skill development and creativity in a structured environment.
The program is run according to the Victorian Curriculum which encourages students to explore visual art materials and techniques, gives students opportunities to experiment with art forms, make choices and to discuss their work and the work of others.
Students have exposure to a wide variety of art skills in the areas of painting, drawing, textiles, construction, collage and printmaking. Students are able to access the programme at all levels from sensory experiences to basic art skills and through to more challenging ones.
The Visual Arts programme focuses on creating two and three dimensional artwork, allowing students to explore a huge variety of materials and techniques. Students work on skill development, fine motor skills and spatial concepts as well as an understanding of the basic elements and principles of art making. Students have the opportunity to explore the sensory component of art making through play and investigation. The program gives all of our students the chance to engage with art making at their individual level.
The school has a large well equipped art room which allows flexibility in its set up. Students can work alone, in a small group or with a staff member all in the same room. Students work independently on tasks and projects which are designed for their particular level. They also work one on one, or in a small group, with the teacher to learn and practise skills.
Eastern Ranges has a number of display boards around the school where students’ artwork is displayed to celebrate their achievements and encourage observation and discussion.
Alongside teaching the Victorian Curriculum, the art department currently runs a senior elective in drawing, supports the VCAL program and collaborates with Performing Arts and Technology to deliver skills groups and one off projects. We aim to connect with the wider community and this year senior students participated in an excursion to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the David Hockney exhibition.
Eastern Ranges Visual Art programme encourages the idea that the art making process is more important than the final product and that everyone’s art work is worthy of recognition. The program encourages self-expression, creativity, independence, communication and confidence and recognises the unique contributions of ALL our students.
Performing Arts at Eastern Ranges School is one of the specialist subjects offered to every student from Foundation to year 10 across the school and offered with reference to the Victorian Curriculum.
Students experience different creative mediums such as drama, dance, music, games and song.
The classes are prepared around the Victorian Curriculum. Performing Arts covers a range of different areas within the curriculum in particular personal and social capabilities.
In dance, students use the body as an instrument and movement as the medium for personal, social, emotional and physical communication. Students explore a variety of genres and have the chance to use props and costumes to deepen engagement.
Students practice choreographic, technical and expressive skills whilst working towards a performance. Students are engaged in prop and costume making, script writing, stage hand and performing roles.
In drama, students explore verbal and non-verbal communication, recognising and expressing emotion and engaging their imaginations through dramatic play.
Drama requires students to engage with others and work together, building on cooperative skills such as turn taking, listening and play making.
Drama assists in the development of creative self-expression, decision making and problem solving, an understanding of self and builds self-confidence and a sense of worth and respect for others.
There are many forms of drama that the students explore such as mime, improvisation, role plays, puppet plays and masked drama.
The Health and Physical Education Department at Eastern Ranges School (ERS) provides opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of movement and physical activity through a range of school based activities. We aim to improve coordination, fitness, fundamental motor skill development and knowledge of sports and games during weekly PE lessons, whilst ensuring that all students are having fun! Though H.P.E we promote good sportsmanship, healthy lifestyle choices and encourage the participation of all students across the school.
Primary aged students access the Warm Up room at the commencement of their class. Here they work on balance, coordination and crossing the midline through a variety of activities. Secondary aged students access the Fitness Centre to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, coordination, local muscular endurance and flexibility. Students use equipment such as the treadmill, cross trainer, stepper machine, exercise bike, rowing machine, weights and boxing equipment. Students participate in physical activities that develop health related and skill related fitness components, and create and monitor personal fitness plans (Victorian Curriculum, HPE).
ERS also offers an interschool sport program that runs all year round. Students participate every Friday afternoon against other schools in the South-East Special Schools Sports Association. Some of the sports include:
- Tee Ball
- Cross Country
- Lawn Bowls
- Indoor Cricket
South-East Special Schools Sport Network aims to “Provide a wide range of quality interschool sporting opportunities that promotes physical and social development for secondary students with an intellectual disability”. The Association is divided into two divisions to better cater for the needs of the students and schools involved. ERS takes part in both the Competition and Development Divisions and therefore able to meet the learning needs of all of our students here at ERS.
At Eastern Ranges School the Outdoor Education Program includes learning at school both in the indoor and outdoor classroom and time engaging with the broader community in both natural and built environments.
In Junior Primary School, students take part in Outdoor Education on a weekly basis. Both classroom staff and specialist staff are involved in the delivery of the program. Students learn important topics for successful community engagement such as safely crossing the road, holding hands when necessary, identifying community signs, dressing appropriately for the weather, being sunsmart when outdoors, sharing play equipment with each other and the community and transitioning between unfamiliar environments. Students participate in both walking excursions and bus excursions and are expected to pack their excursion bags pre departure and unpack their bags on return to school. Students identify and explore natural and built environments in the local community where physical activity (such as playing, walking, running) can take place (Victorian Curriculum, HPE). Students participate in outdoor games and activities to examine how participation promotes a connection between the community, natural and built environments, and health and wellbeing (Victorian Curriculum, HPE).
In the Upper Primary school and Secondary School, Outdoor Education, students have the opportunity to participate in full day excursions with the Outdoor Education teacher, classroom staff and volunteers. The benefits and goals of the program are individualised and cover numerous areas of the curriculum and growth for participants. This Program aims to prepare students for overnight camp experiences in the future, increase community awareness and connection, and promote confidence, social skills and working in teams.
The Outdoor Education Programs has the following Victorian Curriculum links:
- Health and Physical Education: being healthy, safe and active. Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and wellbeing and creates connections to the natural and built environment.
- Personal and Social Capability: identify and express a range of emotions in their interactions with others, recognise personal qualities, achievements and strengths. Recognising that attempting new and challenging tasks are an important part of development.
- Critical and Creative Thinking: students generate ideas that are new to them and make choices after considering personal preferences. They apply questioning as a tool to focus or expand thinking.
- Science: describe how different places meet the needs of living things and the observable features of living vs non-living things.
- Geography: define place and identify and describe features of places and changes at a local scale. Students to identify how people are connected to different places and explain the value of places to people.
Students take part in Outdoor Education excursions with the specialist teacher and classroom staff. This allows for thorough reflection, debriefing and learning after such experiences. Classroom staff are able to make links to the excursion for future teaching in all areas of the curriculum. For example, when visiting a bushland environment students may see birds, insects and native wildlife. Students are then able to go back to the classroom and further research a species they have seen, do a research project on that species and present to their class group.
In 2017 a Camps Committee was formed with representation of all areas of the school. The Committee meets regularly to discuss camp experiences for students across all sub-schools- Junior Primary, Middle Primary, and Secondary. The team is working hard to create ongoing camp experiences for each year level. This includes sub-school-wide day adventures to new places, overnight school sleep outs, day-camp experiences and overnight camp stays. In future times parents can expect consistency in what will be offered at each level of their child’s schooling.
It is exciting and growing times in the Outdoor Education and Camp Experience world, what a great time to be a part of an exciting journey!
The Aquatics Program at Eastern Ranges School runs for students from Foundation – Grade Six. The program runs all year with students participating once a week in a half an hour session.
The aquatic program has a major focus on water safety and students learn and consolidate skills such as safe water entries, rescue techniques, rescue strokes, floating and the use of floatation aids. Furthermore, students learn basic swimming strokes such as freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. In Middle School, students have the opportunity to access the local community swimming pool to work on both water safety skills and stroke development, as well as generalising their independent dressing skills in a new environment. The program also allows students to work with the swimming teacher and classroom staff to develop independent dressing skills and build confidence in and around the water environment.
Students are assessed based on Swim and Survive standards from Royal Lifesaving Victoria with further assistance, resourcing and collaboration with Autism Swim. Autism Swim allows our swimming teachers to access expert professionals to help in designing individual swimming lessons for specific student needs.
The skills and techniques learnt in the Aquatics Program will assist students in future camp experiences that have a focus on water paly activities such as surfing, canoeing and beach swimming.
Eastern Ranges School are currently offering Foundation VCAL to a group of senior students. The VCAL Program is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and is based on a practical learning approach. VCAL consists of four learning strands; Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development Skills and Work Related Skills. Through this hands on learning approach students gain skills and knowledge relevant to work and life. Students gain practical work-related experience, develop their personal development skills as well as the traditional Literacy and Numeracy skills.
Typically students spend some days in the classroom and work on various projects as a group as well as completing Student Workplace Learning placements. Students have been involved in projects such as a fundraising Sausage Sizzle, Transition Expo, Doggie Treats (business model), ERS Café, School Annual Magazine, TV Web Show, Music Mural and The Coffee Project. VCAL at Eastern Ranges School is proud to involve the local community in its programs and we believe that a successful partnership in VCAL involves school, home and our local community.
For the student to successfully complete the VCAL certificate they must meet all the criteria in ten units of study in VCAL. A unit of study can be either:
- one VCAL unit
- one VCE unit
- 90 hours for VET modules or units of competence and/or Further Education (FE) modules.
There is a particular criteria of certain units that are required to complete the certificate. Students are able to access parts of the VCAL curriculum and be immersed in the learning without completing the certificate in its entirety.
The Transition program covers all students in years 10, 11 and 12 at Eastern Ranges School.
Karen Gieschen (Transition Coordinator) and Sheona Lord (Transition Assistant) work closely with all curriculum areas – VCAL, Applied Learning, and Victorian Curriculum to assist teachers in obtaining best learning outcomes for all students.
Programs we are directly involved with are:
- School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATS) – these are offered to eligible students in areas such as horticulture, warehousing, community recreation, aquatics and food processing. We work closely with staff from atEast, and a consortium of secondary schools in the Outer East to provide students with opportunities to gain valuable experience at work whilst studying a certificate course.
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses. In 2018 ERS are offering 13 VCAL students the second year of Certificate 11 in Public Safety. This course is delivered onsite by Magenta Training and involves both theory and practical learning. We are also thrilled to have formed a partnership with Swinburne Institute of Technology to deliver Certificate 11 in Horticulture on the school premises. We currently have 14 students undertaking this course including two SBAT students.
- Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) is a vital part of the VCAL curriculum and students are placed in appropriate workplaces to gain employability skills and learn about the world of work. Students complete group placements at Waverley Industries, Yarra View Nursery or The Bridge Works. They also do individual work placements in a wide variety of industries including hospitality, warehousing, retail, community services and horticulture.
- Exploring Post School Options – students from the Applied Learning classes have been accessing day services in Ferntree Gully, Wantirna and Dandenong with the aim of transition to post school options.
- The Depot – Transition staff support classroom teachers and students in their work in the ERS Depot – this involves providing pre-vocational tasks for students across senior school to undertake including recycling, paper fill, delivery of cleaning materials, collection of school banking, laminating, shredding, and maintaining kitchen and Depot supplies.
Karen also assists parents to complete their Disability Support Pension and other associated entitlements paperwork. This can be a daunting task that takes considerable planning and organisation.
Parents of our Year 12 students have been touring post school options to explore choices for their graduating young adults. Visits have included YourDNA, Creative Futures, Knoxbrooke Community and Knoxbrooke Achieve, Nadrasca, Burke and Beyond, Melba Services, Monkami Inc, Interchange Outer East and Homesglen TAFE.
We have also organised visits from NDIS personal to assist parents with the complex journey of navigating NDIS for their children. Parents have worked 1:1 with support coordination staff to formulate goals in readiness for their pre-planning meetings, and also attended Parent Information Sessions to learn more about this process.
Our Transition EXPO is held in Term 1 with a large number of post school options and associated services setting up stalls in the PLC. It is great to have the assistance of our Senior Students to run this popular event.
Parents and students are invited to contact Transition staff to discuss the post school options available and view the many brochures we have in our office.