Introduction - short extract
The Easy‑Access English course is a version of the Universal Preschool Course designed specifically to meet the needs of SEND Pupils (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
The Easy‑Access Version can be used alongside the Standard and PLUS versions of the course in integrated classrooms. It has been developed from the same core materials to provide activities specifically designed to meet SEND learning requirements.
This is the Starter Level that represents material for the first year of the three year course.
Starter Level with the Baby Beetles characters The course supplies a year of weekly lesson plans for teacher‑led learning in a flexible format to meet different timetables, such as 10‑15 minutes per day or 45 minutes twice per week. Each weekly unit offers 10 activities that focus on a different ability area.
Benefits for the SEND pupil In addition to the multi‑sensory engagement that pupils enjoy, they benefit from significant developmental benefits through contextual contact with the additional language of English through play at home and at preschool.
Weekly lesson plans provide 10 activities each of which focuses on a different ability area
The course develops new skills by drawing on pupils' abilities instead of focusing on their learning challenges. Each activity is labelled with a rainbow arch that identifies the main ability required to complete it, so teachers can choose items for their lessons according to the capabilities of their group. Notes indicate which tasks or games are most flexible and adaptable to mixed ability classes.
Lesson Plans and Activity Ideas for a Rainbow of Abilities
The Easy Access version tries to meet the challenge of offering activities for pupils with a rainbow of capabilities.
Each unit of the Starter Level with the Baby Beetles characters provides a rainbow of activity options. Some units offer several ideas per activity to allow for different circumstances. The aim is to present an activity for each day of the school week across the ability spectrum. Not all pupils will be able to engage will each activity, so supervisors or teachers are advised to read through all the options and to select those that will work best with the children in their care.
The materials are prepared on the understanding that each child with a learning need or disability has unique requirements. Each child’s personal circumstances and conditions are slightly different, so the activity suggestions are necessarily generalised into categories or bands.
Differentiated approach in the Easy Access version
The three starting points for the preparation of the core materials in Easy‑Access activity units are:
- multi‑sensory access
- varied ability response
- differentiated benefit goals
The materials for the teachers include all the resources of the Standard course (posters, flashcards, films, songs, game ideas) plus additional online resource sheets and tailored Teacher's Lesson Plans, written especially for Easy Access English.
The role of glove puppets
in addition to the multimedia resources for pupils and teachers, a full set of character glove puppets is required for interactive learning with the pupils. Extra sets can be ordered if pupils need to hold a puppet each to help them to participate in the learning process.
Character toys help too
The character toys are useful playmates that encourage children to sing the English songs as they hold and play with the characters. Even very young children find it easy to hold an arm or antenna in one hand, while the full, round beetle shapes are cuddly and comforting.
Optional Pupil's Book and useful worksheets
The Pupil's Book is optional for children with limited fine motor skills. However, the printable worksheets are useful teaching and learning tools that can help pupils engage with language learning through context.
Home pack online
Where children are gaining benefit from and enjoying the materials, carers can invite parents to subscribe to the course through online access. There can be advantages for children having exposure to core content individually at home as well as with the carer and peers in collective activity groups in preschool.
The home pack contains:
- Films and songs
- Colouring book
- Access to the online activity recording system
- Online communication system with teachers or carers
- Bedroom poster
Daily exposure to English at home as well as at school will improve a child’s ability to learn and remember.
The home pack is delivered through an app that can be accessed through any tablet or smart phone. It is recommended that all pupils on the course have access to the home‑learning materials.
They are simple to use. Parents or pupils can just press play!
An introduction to the Baby Beetles characters
Children relate well to the Baby Beetles because each one has features typical of preschool children.
Over time, children generally find a favourite! The level of complexity of the language grows gradually from character to character. The course starts with Zoom, then Ring Ring, then Splish Splash and finally Tick Tock.
Zoom is the most energetic Baby Beetle so most of his songs include actions. This means that the children should be allowed to stand or sit to watch these films. More active children may want to start moving to the music and copying the actions of the Baby Beetles from the first viewing, so they should be allowed to do so. Some children will prefer to sit and watch before they join in. They should be allowed to do that too. You can of course encourage them to join in, just in case they are sitting, waiting for permission! Zoom’s vocabulary is based on the few simple nouns and verbs that describe the toys and activities that are most important to him.
Ring Ring is the Baby Beetle ‘communicator,’ so most of his songs include words about feelings and about the Beetles that are most important to him – his family and friends. Children generally relate easily to the emotions expressed in this character’s simple phrases. Be prepared to allow the children to express their own emotions and to be happy or sad, show affection or mime crying. Such reactions show that they are emotionally engaged with the songs and have understood the message that they convey. These songs can help young children to build good social skills.
Splish Splash’s songs describe the natural world we see around us. Her songs are about using the senses to recognise our environment. These songs match nouns with action words and so are a great opportunity for working with groups on awareness of sounds, colours and the environment through listening, hearing, looking and seeing in ways that match her songs. You can also use toys or downloaded pictures from the Baby Beetles website of trees, flowers and so on to decorate your class or playroom.
Tick Tock’s songs are about the activities we do every day: getting up in the morning; going for a walk; playing with friends and getting ready for bed. He likes to do everything at the right time and in the right order. Concepts of time, sequencing and organisation are more abstract, which is why Tick Tock’s songs use the most words and phrases. To keep the ideas as simple as possible, the songs are a mixture of action songs and story‑songs. Children are reassured by routine and will be reassured by Tick Tock’s bright yellow colour and familiar daily activities.
The Easy Access version is built around the core Standard Universal Preschool Course syllabus that will be accessible to almost all children. However, carers are invited to review the syllabus and focus more time on the elements that each pupil can access best.
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