Oaklynn is a specialist school and resource centre that caters for students with learning difficulties and disabilities aged 5 to 21 years. We hold student learning and wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. We understand that students with learning disabilities need a curriculum tailored to their specific needs. Oaklynn teachers work in partnership with its own therapy team to personalise each student's learning plan to meet the needs, skills and interests as determined by the family/ whānau and student. Oaklynn School is located in New Lynn, has 4 classes at the Base School and satellite classes in 7 local schools - Arahoe Primary, New Lynn Primary, Chaucer Primary, Glen Avon School, Avondale Intermediate, Green Bay School, and Green Bay High School. The satellite model provides students 'the best of both worlds' where students are located in local schools and are supported by specialist teachers and therapists. Oaklynn also has a New Zealand's first special school tertiary learning centre for 18-21 year olds called OakTEC. This learning environment is located in New Lynn business centre and students use the local community as their 'classroom' accessing the local facilities such as Les Mills gym, the library, mall and businesses for work experience. Oaklynn also runs a Specialist Teacher Outreach Service that supports ORS funded students in 15 local mainstream schools. The schools value this service that focuses on building the capability of the team around the child along with supporting the individual student. Kōtuitui kāhui ako provides Oaklynn the opportunity to be a fully engaged with the local education community. Special school staff are at risk of being isolated from the wider education community and so Kōtuitui provides our staff with a network of other educators who they can learn with and from. Oaklynn also sees itself as playing a pivotal role in supporting schools in the area of Learning Support. Supporting students who are learning within Level One of the new Zealand curriculum (whether they be 5 years old or 21 years old) is our 'bread and butter' and we have a lot to offer our colleagues. We are hoping that being a part of Kōtuitui will open doors for our students and their teachers.
This is my Oaklynn in-school Community of Learning team:
I work with our tertiary aged learners in Oaklynn’s transition unit called OakTEC. A main focus at OakTEC is to put prior learning into practice in the community in preparation for life beyond school.
Recently I participated in the School Leavers’ Toolkit consultation hui where the group were asked to examine the baseline content descriptors in relation to the skills, knowledge, and capabilities identified to successfully navigate transition out of school and into employment, high education, or training. Being involved in the initiative highlighted the lack of differentiation in curriculum and assessment tools for students with learning support needs who are moving towards finishing their schooling.
While the inquiry focus hasn’t been narrowed down yet, curriculum and assessment tools in relation to learning support, particularly for older students, is an area of real interest to me.
I'm a member of the Outreach team at Oaklynn Special School. As an Outreach teacher I work in mainstream schools with ORS funded students and their teams (teacher aides, class teachers, SENCOs, MoE therapists, MoE psychologists and other agencies) to support meaningful and inclusive learning.
Being trained as both an Early Childhood and Primary teacher I am passionate about child development and the neuroscience around learning and behaviour. My areas of interest include Student and Whānau Voice, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) , Autism, Special Education, Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC), Inclusion, Play Based Learning and Stuart Shanker's five step Self-Reg process.
My inquiry question is focused on authentically and meaningfully capturing culturally responsive student and whānau voice within our curriculum at Oaklynn Special School.
I work with our junior students in Oaklynn’s satellite unit based at Chaucer School. Throughout the past 13 years working as a Special Education Needs teacher (spanning four schools in two countries; covering primary and intermediate children), I have constantly been involved with developing assessments and environment-specific planning for primary and intermediate children.
Throughout my career, I have always strived to give my students with special needs as many learning opportunities/experiences as possible in order to engage, motivate and prepare them for the future. I have always aimed to provide an appropriate, balanced, challenging and creative curriculum which is essential in developing children's skills, knowledge and understanding. During my daily teaching, I strive to be as creative and as imaginative as possible. I constantly engage, motivate and promote class participation through sensory exploration, hands-on, questions, presentations, individual and group activities. Essentially, my approach has been to apply the New Zealand Curriculum, Te Whariki (Early Childhood Education Curriculum) and Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in a way that is tailored to the needs of each pupil.
In my daily practice I integrate concepts from Kaupapa Māori and expose my learners to Te Reo Māori. I also implement aspects of Te Whariki which focuses on New Zealand children growing up as “confident learners, strong in their identity, language and culture”. I aim to emphasise this from its bicultural foundation and create a curriculum which allows my learners to learn at their own pace; supported by adults “who have their best interests at heart”.
I am very interested in working within (or creating) a progressive and culturally sympathetic curriculum and assessment framework at Oaklynn School. Specifically, I strongly wish to be involved with creating a meaningful curriculum for our learners with special needs which is culturally inclusive and congruent with the whānau/family aspirations for their child(ren).