The 1st Comenius Visit to Lakeside, UK.

9th -13th November 2011
Our first Comenius visit with SAC – Lakeside School Welwyn Garden City, UK

Staff from our partner schools in Belgium and the Czech Republic enjoyed a warm welcome in assembly with songs, photos and greetings from the whole of Lakeside School. Students and staff learnt words of greetings in Dutch and Czech.

Visitors then enjoyed sensory stories about a Bear Hunt, Fireworks, and a visit to a Hotel, learning about the need for multi sensory materials to be used within a story to stimulate and engage our students.

Judith led a whistle-stop tour of our school, before giving visitors an opportunity to spend time in the Sensory Zone and Omni Vista. These particular areas of our school were fascinating, as staff had not encountered these before. Visitors were keen to find out more about these areas, and staff in Belgium explained they were soon to have a small Sensory room themselves.

Our speech and language therapist Cheryl shared her expertise in communication aids, over a working lunch, made by Extended Education students. We learnt from the Czech visitors of the many opportunities available on the Ipad 2 for communication. We are looking forward to sharing a list of suitable Apps.

Judith then took visitors to Applecroft, our local Primary School which also has a Specific Learning Difficulties Base. Visitors were able to explore resources and speak to staff and students about their work and school.

Our Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award students assisted by the PTA kindly organized an Afternoon Tea to greet the visitors. They served a cream tea, and made them place mats with views from Hertfordshire. It gave staff, parents, and governors an opportunity to learn more about our partners, and their schools. A display about their schools and local area was available too.

For a traditional British evening out staff and visitors visited Henlow Dog Racing. This included a huge meal and an unusual experience for our visitors! Certainly one to remember, may be not to be repeated!

Friday morning the whole school had opportunities to work with our visitors. Through these session both staff and students experienced a range of different cultural experiences from Belgium and the Czech Republic including new words, food, music, dances, stories, songs, art and making new friendships.

All too soon visitors left classes to learn about Intensive Interaction and the MOVE Programme, both of which are an important part of our communication development at Lakeside. The team leaders: Tanis, Lenka and Kris took this opportunity to discuss the SAC project and future plans.

A huge Ploughman’s lunch was prepared by Seniors 2 and staff and visitors had a chance to chat informally.

The afternoon culminated in a large whole school assembly where students and visitors showed their achievements to the rest of the school. Everyone enjoyed an afternoon of celebration and cultural exchange. From the smiles, enthusiasm and entertaining activities the launch of the SAC project was a great success, with opportunities to develop the theme of Stories and Communication through out the next two years with our partners.

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