Ideas & Strategies
We want to enable parents to have a positive impact on their child's education.
On this page you will find an overview of some of the strategies, teaching ideas and equipment we use at the academy.
Please feel free to contact us to find out more information.
At Churchill Park we teach and support communication in a variety of ways to support the needs of our students. Here are some of our most commonly used strategies...
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS is a system that allows pictures to be exchanged to communicate in a functional manner. It is useful for students who find verbal communication difficult.
PECS Website: https://pecs-unitedkingdom.com/pecs/
PDF document available including most common symbols at the bottom of this page.
British Sign Language (BSL)
BSL is it's own language with its own grammar and syntax. It is widely used in the deaf community.
Useful BSL Websites:-
Sign-Along bridges the gap between BSL and spoken English by signing in the order of spoken English. We especially enjoy the wide range of Sign-Along songs.
Sign-Along Website: http://www.signalong.org.uk/
Makaton is a communication system that uses signing and symbols in conjunction.
Useful Makaton Websites:-
Augmented Alternative Communication (AAC)
AAC is a term referring to an individual using a device to allow communication.
Important: AAC devices are usually obtained through long term loan from Speech and Language Therapy services but are available on the Internet for general purchase.
At Churchill Park we support students to use Eye Gaze...
We also support students to use apps on computers and tablets/iPads to augment communication...
Useful AAC Websites:
Here at Churchill Park Academy we primarily use InPrint 3 software from Widget to publish a multitude of different visual aids.
This video highlights some of useful visual aids that can be created.
Widget Website: https://www.widgit.com/index.php
Useful Visual Aids Website:-
Social Stories (TM)
Social stories (TM) are used commonly at school and at home to address situations where difficulties can occur. They help to clarify expectations in certain situations and are most effective when used alongside practice and role play.
The following videos help to explain what Social stories (TM) are and how to write them.
Useful Social Stories (TM) Websites:-
Please see at the bottom of the page a social story for Pupils new to Churchill Park.
Churchill Park Academy has invested in an independent Occupational Therapist to consult with our staff and parents on supporting our students being ready to learn.
For more information about Occupational Therapist please see the OT School leaflet at the bottom of this page.
Alternatively you can contact us to find out more or visit Norfolk County Councils website for more information on Occupational services provided by the NHS.
Our Occupational Therapist supports our students in a bespoke way individually assessing and tailoring support. There are some broader ways in which the school supports occupational skills which are...
Zones of Regulation
The Zones of Regulation is a framework to foster self regulation and emotional control that we follow and implement across the school under the guidance of our Occupational Therapist. The following video summarises what the Zones are and how it works.
Zones of Regulation Website:-
The following video is some general information on sensory processing, which is a huge barrier for a number of our students.
Sensory Circuits is a short and snappy sensory motor skills programme that helps to set children up for a school day. It enables children to reach the level of alertness needed to
concentrate during lessons.
Unfortunately we are unable to use our own footage of our sensory circuit but here is a video from another school...
Sensory circuits book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sensory-Circuits-Skills-Programme-Children/dp/1855034719
There is a sensory circuit information leaflet available to download at the bottom of this page.
At Churchill Park we use many individualised approaches to teaching our students to read. We want to give parents more information so that the teaching doesn't end when the school day does.
Primarily we follow the Letters and Sounds guidance set out by the Department of Education and Skills at a rate personalised for each student.
Click here for Letters and Sounds guidance
Click here for our Curriculum
Useful Resources: http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/
We also use "Jolly Phonics & Grammar" program across the school. The following video is a testimonial from Jolly Phonics website showing some of the ways it is used and how successful it has been.
Jolly Phonics & Grammar Website:-
Click here for Churchill Park Academy Parents Pinterest for boards including Phonics teaching ideas.
There are a wide variety of phonics resources out there. We especially like the YouTube channel "Mr Thorne's Phonics". Here is one of his videos.
Click here for Mr Thorne's Phonics YouTube channel
For students who are hearing impaired we use "finger spelling" to assist in learning phonics or as an alternative to using sounds.
Click here for Finger Spelling alphabet and more
Here is a video showcasing the finger spelling alphabet.
The benefits of reading together far outweigh the disadvantages such as reading "Room on the Broom" for the 92nd night in a row. Churchill Park promotes reading together to aid development. The following video highlights some of the benefits.
Here are some tips for reading together.
- Begin reading at an early age.
- Make reading part of the routine e.g. bath, brush teeth then story time.
- Try to make reading more interesting by turning off electronics and screens.
- Change your voice and read dynamically, a droning boring voice won't work.
- Stop and explain words that are new or not understood.
- Discuss key events using open questions e.g. What will happen next?
- Let the children choose the books even if it's the same one for a while, it will change eventually.
- Once children can read, have them read to you before you read to them.
- Get the family involved! Grandparents, siblings and other could be guest readers when they are around.
Click here for a recommended reading list that covers ages 5-14
Click here for our Curriculum
Click here for Churchill Park Academy Parents Pinterest for boards including Reading teaching ideas.
High Frequency Words
High frequency words include words like "on" and "the" and make up nearly 50% of all text. Therefore we strive to enable our students to read these words fluently.
Often these words are learned by memory due to some of the words not following the rules of phonics, for example "I" and "is".
One particularly useful website is Sight Words which gives lots of information regarding high frequency words and offers lots of printable resources.
Click here to visit Sight Words
Included a the bottom of this page is a printable copy of the first 100 high frequency words.
At Churchill Park we use a number of teaching techniques to teach our students to write. We are also always striving to overcome any barriers that might slow writing progress. Usually our teaching is adapted per student but there are some strategies more broadly used due to their effectiveness.
Click here for our Curriculum
Click here for Churchill Park Academy Parents Pinterest for boards including Writing teaching ideas.
Handwriting without tears (TM)
Handwriting without tears (TM) is an American writing program that we have adopted in school to assist letter formation. Here is a video explaining some of the benefits.
The following video show the program "Wet, Dry, Try" App in action.
Included in the program is a host of practical activities to go alongside the app which you can view by clicking here: Handwriting without tears equipment
Handwriting without tears Website:-
Numicon is a set of shapes that relate to a number and attempts to turn numbers into real objects in order to aid a child's mathematical understanding. Here at Churchill Park we use Numicon to teach number awareness. The following video provides an overview of Numicon.
Numicon at home kit:-
Counting songs and games
Counting songs can prove one of the best ways to learn how to count especially for younger children.
Click here for a selection of counting songs on YouTube.
Here are a couple of favourites...
If these are perhaps too young for your child then we also like Math Antics. Here is one of their videos.
Click here for Math Antics YouTube channel
Click here for some counting games ideas.
Click here for our Curriculum
Click here for Churchill Park Academy Parents Pinterest for boards including Mathematics teaching ideas.
The term "working scientifically" refers to developing understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
Here is a video to encourage thinking like a scientist.
Some tips and ideas for working scientifically:
Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways
Observe closely, using simple equipment e.g. cooking, helping in the garden, using measuring cups and jugs
Perform simple tests e.g. playing in the bath, making bubbles, what happens if?…does it float does it sink?
Identify and classify e.g going on a nature walk or mini beast adventure, sorting all the cutlery in the drawer, looking for different pebbles, stones, twigs, leaves and grouping them/.
Using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions e.g. using our senses- sight, smell, touch hearing, taste to make observations, should we wear a jumper today?
Gather and record data to help in answering questions e.g. Tally charts and tick lists.
Click here for a list of experiments to try at home
Click here for our Curriculum
Click here for Churchill Park Academy Parents Pinterest for boards including Science teaching ideas.
Attention Autism is an exciting approach to teaching prerequisite skills to formal learning. It is focused on developing attention skills and then maintaining and shifting attention appropriately.
Many of our staff at Churchill Park have attended training workshops lead by the developer of the programme and renowned autism specialist Gina Davies.
Here is a video where Gina breaks down the programme.
This video is the programme in action.
Attention Autism Website:-
Intensive interaction is a technique used at Churchill Park to engage 'hard to reach' students in interactions. It aims to develop the fundamentals of communication usually learnt during the first year of someone's life.
Intensive interaction Website:-
We have two Drivedecks at Churchill Park. Drivedeck is a piece of equipment that enables people with mobility issues to access independent movement from one point to another. It is primarily used as a teaching and assessment tool to safely engage in developing skills that could lead to accessing more sophisticated mobility options in the future.
Here is a video showcasing the Drivedeck...
Smile Smart Technology Website:-
Please see bottom of page for App list.
Please note some of the apps on this list are free and others are paid apps ranging in price. Churchill Park Academy in no way insists on anyone using any of the apps on this list, these are merely suggestions of apps we use frequently.
The NSPCC and O2 have teamed up to bring a wealth of information about online safety for children and young people.
They offer a wealth of information about setting parental controls, talking to children about online safety and an advice line.
Click here for Online Saftey Advice and Guides
We also cover online safety extensively in our Curriculum
We take online safety very seriously especially 'Cyber Bullying'. Please see the letter at the bottom of the page for more information about cyber bullying.