The Kickstart Learning Centre has all the facilities and resources needed to engage and motivate students and enable them to make the most progress possible in their sessions.
The classroom is a bright, welcoming space where students can feel relaxed and secure. It is fully equipped with all resources needed for sessions. There is a particular emphasis on using practical equipment, most of which students will be familiar with using in school.
There is a computer with child-friendly mouse and keyboard if needed and large screen for easy viewing.
Students are encouraged to work in a way that is comfortable for them, which might be lying on the floor, sitting at the table, sitting on the beanbag chairs or standing at the desk.
The height of the desk can be adjusted depending on the student and the table top can be tilted at different angles if needed. There is a standard computer chair, which can be used with or without a sensory cushion promoting active sitting and a Varier Move Stool which allows the student to move effortlessly and constantly if needed due to the curved base. There is also an inflatable gym ball which helps the student to improve their stability and balance while sitting on it due to the constant engagement of the core abdominal muscles.
There is a comfy area including soft cushions and beanbag chairs which is perfect for creating a relaxed atmosphere to chat in.
It is of utmost importance that each student is comfortable and this often includes the consideration of sensory stimuli. Some students don't have any sensory issues, but some need more sensory stimulation than others and some need much less and so it's a priority to establish a student's needs in this area. General sensory needs can be catered for with changeable lighting and heating and students are encouraged to express their sensory needs in any way they are able.
There is a sensory blackout tent which students can choose to work in if they wish or they can also go in there to calm down if they're feeling over-stimulated. The beanbag chairs can be used inside the blackout tent and soft cushions and light up toys can be provided if required.
There is also a large colour-changing bubble tube in the classroom. This can be used at any time to help a child concentrate or as a relaxation aid.
Some of the sensory resources and strategies that I use are:
weighted lap pads, shoulder pad and weighted blankets
sugar-free chewing gum, hard boiled sweets and strong mints which are thought to integrate the thinking process with the nervous system promoting better concentration
music and white sound
noise reducing headphones
There is plenty of outside space which is often used during sessions, particularly during the warmer months. There is a grassed area and a large decked area. There is a comfy outdoor seating area with large umbrella for protection from the sun and a separate table with umbrella so students can work outside if they wish.
There is a dedicated martial arts training area, including safety mats and safety padding. There is a range of martial arts training equipment, such as kick pads, focus pads, boxing gloves and a full size grappling dummy. There is also a large free-standing punch bag. This is used for short exercise breaks, but it is also incorporated into learning activities where possible.
There is a range of other exercise equipment for students who aren't keen on martial arts. This includes balls, skipping ropes, beanbags, gym ball, hoops, speed ladder, cones, foam roller, hula hoop etc.