It was with mixed feelings that we took leave today of our colleague Eileen Irvine, who has been appointed to a position in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
Eileen has been working as a Classroom Assistant in Jordanstown School for four years and has contributed immeasurably to our pupils, particularly her 1:1 pupil.
She has a skill set that will be difficult to replace, but we are delighted for her that her talents have been recognised by the Health Trust and we have no doubt she will make an outstanding contribution there.
Eileen will take up her new position next week and while we will miss her, we wish her every success in her future career.
The Ulster Society for Promoting the Education of the Deaf and the Blind
The Annual General Meeting
will be held via zoom on Monday 8 February 2021 at 5.00pm. Please email the school,email@example.com for the zoom details.
Members and Friends of the Society and School are cordially invited to attend.
If you require the services of a BSL/ISL interpreter or Lip Reader, or the Agenda presented in Braille or an alternative medium please inform the school immediately. Telephone number 028 9086 3541, email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordanstown School was delighted today to welcome David Roberts of Sustainable Schools, as part of his Journey of Hope from the Shetland Islands to the Scilly Isles.
David is making his journey using sustainable transport, visiting projects all over the country which are working to protect the environment.
The staff and pupils of Jordanstown School worked together to create a Butterfly Haven, and we were very fortunate to have David’s expertise to guide us.
Each class planted a small flower bed with flowers and shrubs which attract butterflies, but we learned that we also need to make sure that the butterflies have somewhere to live and breed. The next step will therefore be to grow some long grass and nettles!
The pupils also started work on crafting minibeasts from wood and plastic bottle tops for decorating the Nature Reserve. Large plastic bottles were also recycled to create small painted butterflies.
The school presented David with a native Irish oak sapling to bring over to his native city of Liverpool. He will present it to St Vincent’s School to plant in their grounds.
All in all it was a wonderful day full of laughter and learning. We wish David well as he makes his journey on from Jordanstown School through the rest of the United Kingdom to the Scilly Isles.
Jordanstown School is involved in an Erasmus project with a range of leading schools for the Visually Impaired across Europe. Our partner schools are:
Centre IRIS, Solvenia, GOA, Prague, Visio, Holland, Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, Lega del fildo d’Oro Onlus, Italy
The project is called SMILE too which stands for Social Skills Make Inclusive Life Easier. As the name suggests, the aim of this 3 year project is to share knowledge about the development of social skills in children and young people who are Visually Impaired with the aim of developing resources for educators to support social skills in this population.
“Sighted children observe and imitate people’s social behaviours, learning from any visual cues given. This is known as incidental learning. If these opportunities aren’t available to a child, understanding and development of appropriate social behaviour can become fragmented. Having appropriate social skills is crucial to a child’s everyday interactions. They enable the child to interact with others, establish friendships and later develop personal and work relationships”. RNIB website 8 November 2017
It is well documented that the development of social skills relies heavily on observation and imitation. Children and young people with visual impairment often do not have this advantage. Much of social interaction is non verbal and social cues and body language may be abstract concepts to the child with Visual Impairment. The development of social skills needs careful consideration as it differs considerably from that of their sighted peers.
Children who are visually impaired can find it difficult to acquire social skills that are vital for developing relationships and understanding social situations throughout their lifetime. It cannot be assumed that they will develop social skills automatically like their sighted peers. This has an impact both in school and in the wider world.
The staff involved in the SMILE too project are experienced and qualified teachers of the Visually Impaired. They are also involved in outreach work and support children in mainstream and other special schools. We are keen to involve staff and give them the opportunity to meet colleagues across Europe who face the same issues and exchange knowledge and good practice
This creates meaningful and lasting links with organisations similar to our own and includes Jordanstown School in a European wide perspective on socialisation for Visually Impaired children and young people.
These two lovely girls, sisters Victoria and Alice Murray arrived at our offices with their mother Linda yesterday to assist us in the communication and preparation of care packages for deaf people.
They then delivered the care package and communicated the help the Armagh Covid-19 RC can provide to the community.
Victoria and Alice are both deaf and showed a great level of social conscience to utilise their skills in this particular way. We were all truly humbled by their volunteering to assist us weekly in this regard.
We understand the seeds of friendship were sown today with the recipients of the care packages. An outstanding contribution from two teenagers to help those in need during this crisis.
We are also delighted to announce that our Class 4 teacher, Miss Stroud, has won a special award, the Commercial Connections Cup. In informing Miss Stroud of the award, NDCS said:
‘You were nominated by a number of parents as a professional who over many years has been passionately involved in all aspects of support for deaf children
Commercial Connections introduced the prize to reward professionals who really make a difference to the lives of deaf children and young people. This year your dedication and encouragement has played a vital role in ensuring they achieve their full potential in school.’
Congratulations to Miss Stroud – a very well deserved award!