ACORNS is for any child requiring additional support to access a mainstream curriculum.
Acorns is a place where children are encouraged to develop socially, emotionally and academically in a safe, supportive and non – judgemental environment. It will provide additional opportunities for children to build resilience and forge positive relationships with adults and peers and to improve their engagement with learning. Working with key staff across the school, Acorns staff will develop a programme for each child that addresses specific, identified needs. Our ultimate aim is to help all children recognise and work towards achieving their academic, social and life goals.
Typical mentoring activities may include: • Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (eg work on social intelligence, self – esteem, friendship, anxiety, etc) • Anger Management • Art Therapy • Eco/Outdoor – Therapy • Lego Therapy
Whilst my role as Learning Mentor at Blackley Academy is a new one for me, I have worked in education for approaching fifteen years. I began as a teacher in a primary school in Oldham, where I worked for three years, before moving to a position as a teacher at Key Stage 4 in an Independent Special School. It was in this role that it became apparent, that as well as teaching young people, at the same time an ever increasing part of my role was mentoring (often without even realising it!). As it transpired, this turned out to be something that I was keen to develop and potentially make a career of.
Speaking to other mentors, I also came to realise that there was also the possibility of incorporating some of my interests into the role of Learning Mentor. Since childhood, I have held a significant interest in the ‘great outdoors’, whether in the guise of hill – walking, natural history, photography and/or horticulture. In fact, prior to working in the education sector, I was employed as a Countryside Ranger at Hollingworth Lake. One naturally figures, that if there is an area that conveys such enjoyment for me, then there is the potential that it can bring enjoyment to appropriate others too. Especially when studies show that nowadays, not only are children finding themselves increasingly far removed from the fundamentals of the natural world, but how getting close to nature can also bring an abundance of health and mental benefits.
Chris Jepson- Brown
Click to read about ACORNS at E-ACT Blackley Academy.