- the environment is free of major and minor environmental hazards (electrical plugs are covered and scissors safely stored out of reach, play areas in the classroom and outside play equipment is arranged and maintained to avoid potential safety problems
- the classroom design and placement of team members allow all students to be monitored at all times
- team members teach and encourage student independence for personal hygiene tasks such as washing hands and using the toilet
- students are able to independently access materials such as books and schedules and have a personal space to work
- the classroom is divided into well-defined spaces for individual and group activities and quiet and leisure activities
- materials can be organized, used and stored safely
- physical structures and boundaries exist to ensure that students' understand the activities that take place in specific areas
- real items that would be used in natural environments are used whenever possible
- there are enough materials for all students to participate
The right classroom environment is important to all children. The right classroom environment makes all the difference in the world to children who have sensory, communication and socialization challenges. Research into creating a learning environment that supports children with autism has determined important points to consider. To make sure that my classroom meet evidence-based standards I used the APERS self-assessment tool when setting up my classroom. APERS stands for Autism Program Environment Rating Scale - Preschool and Elementary version. It was designed by the National Professional Development Center on ASD in 2011.
I can't believe that I have been given such a beautiful, clean light-filled space. The room faces south and west. It has its own attached bathroom, a kitchen unit, a separate SmartBoard room accessed from inside. It is right beside the outside doors where the bus will drop off the students. (I found out later that this was the original school office and staff room.) It has just had new flooring and bathroom fixtures installed. It has its own furnace and thermostat! Having just come from a cold, dark, north-facing classroom which faced a concrete wall, this is a little piece of paradise!
Everything in the classroom has a place and a purpose. It sometimes takes a lot of trial and error furniture moving (unless you have good spatial awareness or use furniture cutouts on grid paper!) I always come into school early to move things around and get the best pick of left-over shelving units and desks. Sometimes there is fierce competition. The custodians in this school are the best and helped me out a lot. Thank you Mark and Al!
Although it is tempting to stay in this lovely light-filled space, I intend to make good use of the entire school. All the spaces are spacious, clean, beautiful and functional.
I think I'm ready to meet the rest of the staff and most importantly, my students!
This is my second year as a District Behaviour Support and Intervention teacher with the New Westminster School District. My focus is on students who are having serious challenges with self-regulation across many domains - biological, emotional, cognitive, social and prosocial - at school, at home and in the community. My role is to provide support to teachers and teams to create an environment for success for the student.