In September 2013, a Pre-school Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Unit ‘Sonas’ was opened as part of St.Mary’s Junior Boys Primary School.
This unit caters for the needs of children with ASD who are of pre-school age. The pupil-teacher ratio in the Unit is 6:1 and pupils are further supported by two Special Needs Assistants.
In September 2014 a second Pre- school ASD unit was opened.
In September 2015 both classses moved in our new purpose built unit, including two classrooms, a large multi-sensory room and separate astro turfed playground complete with specialised equipment.
When our school extension opened in September 2015, Sonas preschool moved to the new building. We are now located in a purpose built area that caters for a huge variety of our needs. Our classrooms include quiet areas, with an alternative lighting and sound system. We also have a multi-sensory classroom adjacent to both classrooms. This multi-sensory room includes a large ballpool with a slide and steps, a swing, a tunnel for climbing through, a trampoline and various large soft blocks for building and play. We also have access to body boards and yoga mats which we use from time to time. We use the multi-sensory classroom on a daily basis. We love playing in there and it caters for a lot of our gross motor needs as well as helping sensory regulation.
In Sonas preschool we engage in a lot of sensory play. Sensory play allows us to explore different ways to play, stimulate our senses and helps with sensory regulation in the class room. We have a fabulous sensory table in Sonas where we can explore various types of sensory play.
Art in Sonas Preschool
We love art in Sonas and we make lots of lovely pieces throughout the year.
Busy at work
We are busy bees in Sonas. We complete individual schedules every day. We are very good at independent work and we have lovely stations to do our work. We use visual schedules to guide us through our activities and we organise our work stations by ourselves using the TEACCH approach to learning. Our teachers are trained in TEACCH and use this approach by displaying visual schedules in our classrooms.
We are very lucky to have our own playground in Sonas preschool. The surface is soft rubber & astro turf which makes it safe & suitable for playing even on wet days. The playground has a gated boundary which separates us from the larger school population. We often join the older boys at play time and we have lots of fun interacting with them. When we play in our yard we play on our playground equipment which include a playhouse with a slide and monkey bars. As we get more confident playing on these we develop our gross motor skills and we also learn turn taking outside of the classroom.
In Sonas we always try to mark birthdays. Birthday parties give us a chance to interact socially with our peers & mix with boys & girls from both classes. At our parties we sing "Happy Birthday", we share treats with our friends and we sing nursery rhymes. Sometimes we have some dancing too. We always have lots of fun & the birthday boy or girl feel special on their special day.