providing consultancy, support & training to primary and special needs schools home

Pupils with autism have difficulty understanding emotions and reading the emotions in another persons face. They may repeat an action because they found the response by another child or adult interesting or become unduly distressed and unable to calm down if they are crying. I do a lot of work focussing on helping pupils understand, read and interpret emotions include work on emotions as part of Forest School sessions.

In this example we started with a familiar song “Chick-a-boom, chick-a-boom” with me leading initially. Pupils were then encouraged to think of different ways of leading the rhyme (angry voice, sad voice, happy voice, frightened voice). During this session each pupil wanted to take a turn leading the rhyme. We then talked about how coming to the woods has made us feel. Frightened - change in routine, setting; angry - did not want to join in; happy - not in class, more freedom; sad - sometimes felt cold, did not want the session to end. I modelled the emotions and showed symbols and pictures of faces to support their understanding. The group were then given the task of collecting natural materials and using these to create a face to show how they felt at Forest School. Supporting adults talked to the children about the face they were making and the emotion they were feeling (e.g. what made them feel sad, angry? Could we change it? What was the best thing they had done? What in particular made them feel happy?). Below are examples of some of their work.

An example of a Forest School activity for SEN children

This session was planned using the SPCIES methodology to ensure that all aspects of the childrens development and growth were covered.

Social: self-esteem, decision making, sharing (space and resources), turn taking (during feedback)
Physical – gross and fine motor skills
Intellectual – emotions vocabulary, design and construction of face, imagination, problem solving, independence
Communication - creative expression, decision making, speaking and listening skills, emotions vocabulary.
Emotional – individual points of view respected, sense of achievement, empathy and respect of others emotions, creative expression, perseverance, dealing with emotions through play.
Spiritual – Beauty of nature, individual points of view and feelings, respect.