When I’m not on some sort of break…

… I actually do quite a lot for uni.

I am back “downstairs” in the school group this term, upon request. I wanted to go to school group because I enjoyed it the first time and because I thought it would be the best placement with regards to my ankles (we sit during the children’s lesson which gives my ankles a break.) So far I am very pleased (Americans read ‘happy’) with being back in school group. I had a difficult time in my last placement for various reasons and I so was a bit trepid about going back into placement after my 6 week break and surgery. It’s been fine though, I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It is lovely to see the kids again. The other day one of the girls asked why I left and if it was because I didn’t want to work with them anymore! I felt bad and explained that we had to change group each term. She was very pleased to hear this, gave me a big hug and said thanks for coming back J

This semester our practical exam is the Individual Programme. This is a combination of the Standing Programme and the Individual Programme. I led my first last week. By the end (it’s a 50 minute programme) I was exhausted! The Standing Programme is what it sounds like, tasks in a standing position. The Individual Programme is quite different from the other programmes because you don’t follow a specific task series; you create the tasks for each child based upon what you think they need to work on. For example, A and C are working on the precision and quality of their walking and balance, so I had them walk over boxes, inside hoops, up wedges, and on lines. Simultaneously I had T crab walking and M creeping on the mats. The difficulty in the Individual Programme is to cater to each child whilst maintaining a “group feel.” So even though everyone was going to do different tasks at the wall bars, I had them go there at the same time so that they were doing the activity as a group. When you are leading you are in charge of who does what, when they do it, where they do it, how they do it, who facilitates and how much, how the theme is implemented, etc, etc! You need to be facilitating but also moving around the room to make sure you are able to observe each child so that you can base your next programme on what they achieved during this programme. Overall I had fairly good feedback for it being a “first go.” I am usually very critical and almost never happy with a programme (bit of a perfectionist?) but will admit to being happy that my first attempt didn’t crash and burn. Now I can take this experience and hopefully improve the next attempt.

I have to show off my little arrows as I was quite pleased with how well they worked. Each child got a pair of these lovely arrows to put on their shoes. They are just made of foam and clipped on with bobby pins:


Most of the kids have difficulty placing their feet parallel to one another. Some turn them in, some turn them out, and some manage to do both! I gave each of them a pair of arrows (letting them choose the all-important colour) to wear throughout the standing and individual programmes and reminded them constantly to have a look to see where their arrows were pointing.

I was very happy with how well this focused their attention and changed their movements. They hear “point your toes forward” so often that I think sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. I thought of my own experiences in physiotherapy and gymnastics and remembered how much easier it was when there was something more than my own body to concentrate on. They were seeing and hearing something different, which gave them a new perspective, motivation, and a challenge. Plus, it’s just more fun to point an arrow around the room than just your feet.

So at the moment, my life is a lot of placement and a lot of programme planning but I am really enjoying it. I think this is my favourite programme so far because you really have to think to design each task and you get to choose what the kids will practice that day. It’s more responsibility, but it is nice to have. It’s great to be able to put the knowledge we are gaining into practice!

In addition to placement we have 2-3 lectures each week at NICE and 1 in Walsall (research methods, which I am loving! Such a nerd..) Adds up to a busy week! This post is the result of having the week off for half term. I have used most of it to get ahead in my Crown online class (I am working full time toward a degree in psychology- which complements CE very well!)

I will try to explain the Individual Programme in a bit more detail at some point. But that’s the gist of what I’m doing across the pond this term!

Xx Jalyss


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