The Animus curriculum has been developed with the following principles in mind:
Every student has an entitlement to an inclusive education that values the unique individual that they are. Our curriculum takes a holistic approach that considers each young person’s complex needs. Working in partnership with others enables us to offer a breath of experiences that will give each student the opportunity to learn and develop throughout their lives.
We recognise that our curriculum must focus on the things that matter to each individual student as progress can only be made by students who are engaged in their own learning. Therefore learning is approached in an individualised, flexible, creative and holistic way that enhances the young person‘s engagement with the world and allows them to achieve their full potential.
The education we offer all our students is based on the view that our students must be empowered so that they can make decisions that will have an impact on their learning, family and community. This will help their self-esteem to grow as they see that their opinion and actions are important and can change things.
We recognise that we need to balance the needs of the individual with the world around them to become part of a community. This also means bringing the world to them so that they can experiment and explore the world around them fully. Our curriculum recognises and prioritises the development of the senses as fundamental in enabling our students to understand and interact with the world around them as well as with each other.
We aim to ensure that through our curriculum all students’ emotional and physical wellbeing are actively promoted and supported. Giving them a sense of belonging and enabling them to develop and maintain positive relationships throughout their life.
Each student is assessed with their personalised needs by both classroom staff and other professionals including OT’s, Physiotherapists and SaLT, who are all involved in the care and development of the student. After this has been done each student has personalised goals written which are done in partnership with home and other professionals. The Individual Medium Term Plans (IMTP) goals focus on the four key areas of our curriculum:
All our relationships are defined by how we communicate with others, both consciously and non-consciously, verbally and non-verbally.
Students with Complex learning Needs struggle with communication and are at the earliest stages of development both as pre intentional and intentional communicators. Our learners do not learn this skill with ease and fluidity. Communication is a very complex process for them. It is vital that staff working with these students know them well as understanding their behaviours is vital to progress being made in this area. Communication is central to all aspects of our student’s development and we work in close partnership with home and other professionals who know the students well. This along with language skills is essential in supporting development in all areas of literacy across the curriculum. To aid the students in this holistic process based activity we use different methods where appropriate.
Cognition (thinking and understanding) and problem solving (acting upon understanding) is how we gather information from the world around us a how we convert this into information to use. Our learners are at the early stages of cognition and problem solving. They will need to experience an activity with frequent repetition over long periods of time and learn in a responsive environment. Alongside this they must be given opportunity to problem solve as independently as possible. They will typically be most likely be learning the skills that a Neurotypical learner learns in the first years of their lives such as attention, memory, object permanence, cause and effect. A learner at this stage will often use their senses to explore and make sense of the world around them. A sample of the skills that individuals will be developing that are appropriate to their intellectual and physical impairments are areas such as rooting, grasping, mouthing, visual inspection, shaking, examining, showing and naming, Perception, action.
Independence is what we want our learners to achieve, although we recognise that interdependence is a fundamental characteristic of social interactions and that our learners often rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. Along with independence comes a sense of achievement which empowers our learners and raises their self-esteem. Our learners are generally following the earliest developmental steps towards independence. These included making a choice and personal care: eating, drinking, toileting, getting dressed and undressed, washing. They will require in all areas of their learning adult support and it is important that this support encourages independent development and reduces the risk of learned helplessness.
Transition is an incredibly important part of our students and their families’ lives, whether this is traveling into school, attending hospital appointments or leaving us for adult life. All areas of transition are supported whether this be in their daily routines, through to preparing for adulthood via social care or Continuing Health care.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
The physical/ motor disabilities our students have can often be another barrier to early conventional child development. The physical needs of the students are central to their lives and are integrated into a holistic curriculum as for many of our students they will take up a large proportion of the school day.
This aspect of the curriculum has to be carried out in close working partnership with our Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and home. The students may not always enjoy or chose for this therapy to take place but it must for the wellbeing of the student. As we recognise the importance of bi-directionality of mind-body and will support the students with the tools that are needed to cultivate a feeling of safety. As much as possible it is approached in a holistic way into the everyday experiences and activities in the curriculum. Many of our therapeutic activities have a strong focus on this area and our students will take part in them (if appropriate) as often as possible in their individualised curriculum/ timetable. Although all experiences will offer opportunity for physical development and mental wellbeing.
Good physical health and active life’s is important to learning and mental health for all young people.
Student centred planning
All planning is centred on the individual with each student having a personalised timetable and an Individual Medium Term plan (IMPT) which is given to parents and professionals. We believe that this individualised planning will allow the opportunity for the student to be more fully engaged in their learning. This approach will offer them a growing opportunity to apply their knowledge in a range of environments and with different people, helping prepare them for the future. This will also empower them as people and allow them to develop their independence.
Animus offers the students a wide range of experiences/ therapies such as sensory story, cooking, music, art, community visits, rebound, technology, swimming, music therapy and adapted bikes
All Animus classes will be doing Story Massage.