The Junior Department strives to create the optimal environment for each child to progress to their full potential. We aim to develop an essential grounding in Mathematics, Literacy and Life Skills and to encourage independence through cookery, sports and cultural activities. Our goal is to enrich each child’s self-image and to foster a love of learning within an environment of acceptance, respect, honesty, compassion, understanding, and fun.
HOW TO ACHIEVE OUR MISSION STATEMENT
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand”. Chinese Proverb
Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that each child is set up for success. Our teaching methods are specifically aligned to the needs and abilities of each child. Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are set up for each child, with the help of the parent and our dedicated team of educators and therapists. We revisit the IDPs twice yearly to ensure that the ever-changing needs of each child are met and to ensure optimal academic, emotional, social, and personal growth. Our dedicated therapists spend time with our children in both Speech and Gross Motor groups. We pride ourselves on our collaborative approach as it allows us to have an holistic impact on each child who enters our classrooms.
AUGMENTING DEVELOPMENT WITH SA SIGN LANGUAGE
Sign language has recently been accorded official language status in South Africa for the purpose of learning and teaching. Our Junior Department staff are trained in the use of SA Sign Language because early exposure to signing has been proven to help infants and young children develop their language and reasoning skills. Research has shown that sign language speeds up speech development and reduces frustration in children by giving them the means to express themselves beyond what they may be verbally capable of. This, in turn, offers psychological benefits such as improved confidence and self-esteem.
Our junior learners range in age from 6 to 11 years. Our classes are kept small in order to facilitate as much face-to-face teaching time as possible. We run two streams within the Junior Department, the Skills for Learning Stream and the Functional Academic Stream. This allows us to offer each child an environment which is most conducive to their immediate needs and to allow them to develop in a supported and positive way; movement between these two streams is fluid, depending on the requirements of each child.
Therapy plays a vital role in the overall progress of our children. The Junior Therapy Team includes a Speech and Language Therapist who sees the children twice a week in small groups, as well as an Occupational Therapy Assistant who engages the children in group brain gym sessions and gross motor sessions. In these small class groups attention is given to, amongst other aspects, developing positive age appropriate personal social skills, perceptual skills, vocabulary, and motor skills.
Unity College facilitates pull-out therapy on campus for private individual sessions with an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapist and for Physiotherapy.
Our junior learners participate in one subject orientated outing per term. The outing will either be based on the theme covered during the term or a shopping outing where we go to our neighbouring stores to reinforce the social skills we have learned. Some of the skills reinforced on our outings include money handling skills, greetings, appropriate social behaviour and skills of independence. We also enjoy one or two mornings a term at the Northgate Ice Rink where our children either brave learning to ice-skate independently or enjoy being pushed around the ice on chairs. Outings are a tremendous highlight in our phase and great fun is always had by all!