News from Home is a communication program that ELBS has recently integrated into its curriculum. In March of 2014, we sent families a survey to gauge their interest in utilizing a device that would facilitate communication between school and home regarding their child’s therapy sessions, daily events, or other activities.
Of course, there was a great deal of interest, and that year we had 25 students participate in our first News from Home program. Today, 86 children and their families are using News From Home!
To explain how this works, students use a single hit, pre-programmed device (see picture above) to help their therapist, teacher, or other classroom staff record a short message about the student’s day or therapy session. In return, a parent or other family member records a message about how the evening at home.
News From Home is often used during circle time, morning meeting, or other group activity setting. It is yet another way for the students to engage socially with their peers. You should see the smiles on the children’s faces as they listen to the message from their parent! For children who are verbal, this is also a great way to work on their language skills.
Teacher Julie Moore comments:
News from Home is one of the favorite activities for both students and staff. As 90% of our students are nonverbal, it is such a wonderful way for them to share what they did the night before. As a teacher, I personally love this because it expands the communication between home and school, an integral part of a child’s education.
We also have great positive feedback from our parents:
News from Home is a wonderful addition to the already excellent communication flow between BNI and teachers/therapists and parents. We are able to ask the boys “What did you do at school today” or “What did you do in OT today?” They are able to answer us now, with the push of a button. We look forward to it every day. (Hayley, mom of 2 ELBS students)
Parents are essential member of a child’s team. As a result of including them in our daily communications, we have only strengthened our ability to “make dreams come true” for our students!