Foundation Phase (FP) Barriers Project: Occupational Therapy (OT)

As a result of annual Occupational Therapy (OT) screening at Good Shepherd Primary, all Grade R and 1 learners participate in an OT programme designed by a local based Occupational Therapist. This programme has been designed to be cost-effective and replicable on a large scale through the utilization of 70 Rhodes University Bachelor of Education second year students (teacher assistants).  It is designed to address the following challenges which can cause barriers to learning: body consciousness, fine & gross motor co-ordination, form constancy, position in space, visual sequencing, visual-motor integration, visual closure, visual figure-ground, visual discrimination and number concept.  Furthermore, GADRA Education has acquired a range of OT resources to be used at the school.

A 10-week Occupational Therapy (OT) series of physical education activities is carried out with all Grade R and 1 learners, and is scheduled to run from 24 July – 16 October. Before the commencement of the OT series at Good Shepherd, the B.Ed second year students were provided with a 2 hour training session on School Readiness. The training specifically focussed on Occupational Therapy (OT) development concepts such as gross motor skills, fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills. The OT programme has built in an assessment component for the students, which requires detailed reflections of learner development. This information will be passed onto the relevant teachers at the end of the 10 week programme, for their attention should follow-up be required.

To date 5 out of 7 scheduled sessions took place every Tuesday from 08h30 – 10h00, with each class taking part in the activities for 1 hour. Each student (teacher) is allocated with OT equipment at every session to carry out physical education activities with their allotted learner. GADRA Education’s Primary Education Coordinator, Sylvester Jeffries, supervises every OT session to ensure that student (teachers) fully participates with the learners in the physical education activities.