Apricot Tree Centre is to be the ultimate special needs education and family support facility.
The Centre's short term objective is to expand the education side to be of service to more children and their families.
The Centre’s medium to long term objective is to create the Apricot Tree Live-In Centre which will incorporate residence, on site
therapies, 24 hr care, sheltered employment and everything a person with special needs will require throughout their lives.
Apricot Tree Centre is committed to the stimulation and development of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Apricot Tree strives to provide the highest quality service enabling these children to reach their maximum potential.
There are currently four classes at the Apricot Tree. Learners are grouped according to ability rather than age.
Teacher Monique’s Class.
The focus in Teacher Monique’s class is to establish the pre-requisite skills for learning and foster the learner’s joint attention. Learners are exposed to a multi-sensory learning approach, where movement and tactile exploration is encouraged. Lessons incorporate objects, photographs and communication symbols to encourage learning.
Teacher Angie’s Class
The focus within Teacher Angie’s class is to establish an alternative and augmentative communication system. Learners are exposed to a multimodal alternative and augmentative communication. As such vocalisations, Makaton signs, gestures, low tech and high tech communication devices are incorporated into the lesson plans and an alternative and augmentative communication system is established and tailor made for the each leaner.
Learners are encouraged to use their communication devices to participate in thematically based lessons and to complete social routines.
Teacher Candice’s Class
The daily routine within Teacher Candice’s continues to develop each learner’s pre-requisite skills, which they have acquired and further develop the alternative and augmentative communication system which each learner is utilising. In the class functional literacy and numeracy skills as well other academic skills are promoted at the level of ability of each learner. Communication symbols, letters, sight words and basic reading skills are taught within thematic activities and activities of daily living. Numeracy tasks are applied to activities of daily living and learners are encouraged to utilise their numeracy skills for tasks such as shopping or ticket sales. Work skills and independent living skills are introduced and learners are encouraged to become more independent.
Teacher Taryn’s Class
The life style centre was established to cater for our young adults. The focus of the life style centre is to equip our young adults with the life skills they require to live as independent as possible. These include sheltered employment, personal hygiene, baking and using their free time constructively.
We work on an IEDP (individualised Education and Development Programme). The IEDP establishes specific attainable goals and is designed to enable the highest level of development. The IEDP is formulated within a multi-disciplinary team, which includes the parents, doctors, therapists, facilitators and teachers. The IEDP is set up at the beginning of year and implemented within the classroom. The teacher accommodates and tailors the lessons to each student within the class and adjusts the lesson according to the student’s physical and cognitive ability.
Activities are included in the classroom which relate to establishing learning and learning readiness. Learners acquire these skills as a foundation to formal academics.
Formal and functional academics
Functional academics are included in the curriculum, which allow the learners to succeed in real-life situations at home, school and within the community. These include reading, writing, thinking and reasoning and numeracy,
Gross motor activities form an integral part of the daily schedule. These physical skills are important for the leaners growth and development and include balance, posture, and movement and ball skills.
Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles controlling the hand, fingers and thumb and allow learners to complete the tasks such as writing, drawing, buttoning, grasping and manipulation of objects. Activities which are included in our curriculum are specifically tailored to each child’s physical capabilities.
Alternative and augmentative communication is included in all aspects of the school curriculum. At the Apricot Tree we utilise Makaton signs, Boardmaker PCS symbols and the GRID. We are fortunate to have access to iPads, big Mac communication devices
Life skills form a significant part of the leaner’s IEDP as such learners are exposed to and explicitly taught practical skills that are needed to take care of one-self. The learners are encouraged to be as independent as possible and the life skills are adapted to allow for each individual learner to succeed.
Social Emotional Development
Social emotional development refers to a learner’s ability to understand their feelings and the feelings of others and regulate their emotions and behaviours to allow and encourage for positive relationships to form between peers. The IEDP includes skills that are necessary for emotional growth and positive social interactions.