Learning Support

'Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn'. - Benjamin Franklin
Cowan House > Learning Support

Why Some Children Need Learning Support

The Learning Support Department continues to grow as the needs of the children are taken into consideration. Our philosophy is: ‘To support each child to be the best they can be.’ In any teaching environment there will always be children, older or younger, who are not coping with one or more aspects of current requirements. Causes are multiple. They might include: poor health (resulting perhaps in absence when important classwork is presented); neurological ‘wiring’ known as dyslexia or dyscalculia; physical disabilities such as poor eye sight or defective hearing; emotional issue; concentration difficulties such as ADD or ADHD; various visual perceptual or hand-eye co-ordination lapses; language and auditory processing difficulties. Children whose mother tongue is not English may experience difficulties in dealing with the most fundamental of the required language skills.

At Cowan House we are blessed to offer the services of three Remedial Therapists; Kerryn Bullough, Janet Anderson and Tammy Raw. We also have three Speech and Language Therapists; Petro Fowler, Nicole Stroebel and Ilana Botha as well as three Occupational Therapists, Helen Fitschen, Emma Wijnberg and Lyndal Nicholson.

TYPES OF LEARNING SUPPORT:

Remedial Therapy

Most difficulties in children may be attributed to lack of readiness. The individual was not ready to deal with the basic skills when they were first presented in the earliest grades, and it is here that the services of the remedial specialist should be sought. It is most important to ensure that any obstacles to progress in language and/or mathematics are identified and dealt with as early as possible. Remedial therapists work on gaps in the child’s foundational skills, specific training in reading and spelling, handwriting improvement, language development and written expression as well as numeracy skills. We provide academic support where problems are encountered in the class curriculum and study skills to support each learner’s specific learning style.

The dedicated specialist identifies and deals with specific difficulties, usually on a one-on-one basis. They consult regularly with class teachers to ensure that every step taken is appropriate and, hence, that the skills taught are mastered and applied by the pupil to his or her learning tasks.

TYPES OF LEARNING SUPPORT:

Speech and Language Therapy

 People often think of speech and language therapists as the professionals to call if someone has a lisp or is stuttering. While this is the case, their scope of practice is much broader. Speech and Language Therapists are qualified to support students with difficulties in any area of communication. Apart from helping students to be easier to understand by improving their speech clarity, Speech and Language therapists can help students to improve their understanding and use of language. Oral language skills provide a foundation for later literacy development. Children with language difficulties may struggle to learn how to read and write. They may have trouble in using language to problem solve, share their ideas and maintain social relationships. Understanding others and following instructions could be challenging for these students. Learning and remembering new vocabulary or concepts may also be hard for them. Speech and Language therapists support the development of pre-literacy and literacy skills including phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, spelling and written expression. Students with communication difficulties often struggle academically and find it difficult to keep up with their peers. Once a child has been referred to a speech and language therapist, an assessment will be done to determine specific intervention goals to improve communication, social and academic skills.

TYPES OF LEARNING SUPPORT:

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Through Occupational Therapy, barriers to participation are identified and children are equipped with the necessary skills to participate in life at home and at school to their full potential. Your child may be referred for an OT assessment if they are having difficulty with some of the following: handwriting and fine motor skills, concentration, sensory processing, coordination of movement, reading, spelling, copying etc. A comprehensive assessment will determine the underlying difficulties, and a treatment plan is tailored accordingly.

Therapy takes place predominantly during individual sessions. At Cowan House, OT groups are also run in the preschool to optimise development, with the aim of preventing the need for intervention as well as early detection of difficulties. Mini OT groups are also available for children in any grade, needing extra input on various skills. In the intermediate and senior phase, OTs also consider life skills such as stress management, time management, communication and assertiveness skills, managing peer pressure, managing anxiety, anger management etc.

What Are The Different Areas Of Learning Support

Learning Support

Most difficulties in children may be attributed to lack of readiness. The individual was not ready to deal with the basic skills when they were first presented in the earliest grades, and it is here that the services of the remedial specialist should be sought. It is most important to ensure that any obstacles to progress in language and/or mathematics are identified and dealt with as early as possible. Remedial therapists work on gaps in the child’s foundational skills, specific training in reading and spelling, handwriting improvement, language development and written expression as well as numeracy skills. We provide academic support where problems are encountered in the class curriculum and study skills to support each learner’s specific learning style.

The dedicated specialist identifies and deals with specific difficulties, usually on a one-on-one basis. They consult regularly with class teachers to ensure that every step taken is appropriate and, hence, that the skills taught are mastered and applied by the pupil to his or her learning tasks.

Pre Primary Language and Literacy

Speech and Language Therapy

People often think of speech and language therapists as the professionals to call if someone has a lisp or is stuttering. While this is the case, their scope of practice is much broader. Speech and Language Therapists are qualified to support students with difficulties in any area of communication. Apart from helping students to be easier to understand by improving their speech clarity, Speech and Language therapists can help students to improve their understanding and use of language. Oral language skills provide a foundation for later literacy development. Children with language difficulties may struggle to learn how to read and write. They may have trouble in using language to problem solve, share their ideas and maintain social relationships. Understanding others and following instructions could be challenging for these students. Learning and remembering new vocabulary or concepts may also be hard for them. Speech and Language therapists support the development of pre-literacy and literacy skills including phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, spelling and written expression. Students with communication difficulties often struggle academically and find it difficult to keep up with their peers. Once a child has been referred to a speech and language therapist, an assessment will be done to determine specific intervention goals to improve communication, social and academic skills.

Learning Support

Occupational Therapy is a profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Through Occupational Therapy, barriers to participation are identified and children are equipped with the necessary skills to participate in life at home and at school to their full potential. Your child may be referred for an OT assessment if they are having difficulty with some of the following: handwriting and fine motor skills, concentration, sensory processing, coordination of movement, reading, spelling, copying etc. A comprehensive assessment will determine the underlying difficulties, and a treatment plan is tailored accordingly.

Therapy takes place predominantly during individual sessions. At Cowan House, OT groups are also run in the preschool to optimise development, with the aim of preventing the need for intervention as well as early detection of difficulties. Mini OT groups are also available for children in any grade, needing extra input on various skills. In the intermediate and senior phase, OTs also consider life skills such as stress management, time management, communication and assertiveness skills, managing peer pressure, managing anxiety, anger management etc.

Language and Literacy Class Groups

Language and Literacy class groups are conducted in the Grade R to Gr Three classes for an hour per week. From the beginning of their Gr R year, students learn about the sound structure of language. They become aware of the fact that stories are made up of sentences. Sentences have words in them. Some words rhyme. Words contain vowels and consonants. Words can be divided into syllables. Words have beginning, middle and end sounds, which we pronounce in a certain way. We represent these sounds on paper using letters. Students also learn that words can have different meanings. By systematically allowing students to learn, practice and apply their knowledge about sounds, letters and word meanings, they learn how to write and read.

Students spend more time in front of screens than ever before and it is vital to ensure that children remain aware of, and practice good listening habits. Elements such as focus, waiting for full instructions, and identifying key words in auditory information are introduced during class groups. 

Older students learn listening comprehension strategies, which enable them to identify the main idea of a passage, describe, give their opinion, think about someone else’s perspective, predict, play listening detective (infer) and visualise by formulating a picture in their minds when hearing information. Interesting topics are discussed, which allow students to think critically about various matters as varied as owning exotic pets and pollution. By increasing students’ world-knowledge we are also improving their reading comprehension skills as it is important to activate prior knowledge about a topic to aid understanding and retention of new information. 

Apart from learning how an informational text is structured, students also learn about the different parts stories have. Initially students analyse text by identifying the character, setting, problem and resolution. Over time they learn how to retell, summarise and write their own stories and information paragraphs using the skills addressed during class discussions. Students use “talk for writing” where they rehearse aloud what they want to write about, before writing. This is a powerful strategy which makes writing easier.

The main aims of our Language and Literacy groups are to teach students, in fun and interactive ways, how to think critically about information they hear and read, to be more confident writers and to truly develop a hunger for knowledge so that they might read for pleasure.

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Cowan House

11 Dennis Shepstone Drive, Hilton, 3245, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

033 343 3261

info@cowanhouse.co.za