Virtual classes for sailing programme
A sailing programme for children with autism has changed course and relaunched online so it can continue over the Covid-19 crisis.
The BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme, set up by the Endeavour Community Sailing charity, will run its virtual classes for the rest of the school year.
Jennifer Pitcher, Endeavour's community engagement, development and partnerships manager, said: “When the news of shelter in place was announced, we considered what resources would deliver the most value to the young people who engage in Endeavour's programmes.
“After careful consideration and consultation with autism spectrum disorder teachers, it was determined that we would create a virtual learning curriculum to offer a series of hands-on activities that students could do at home that relate to what they would learn if they were physically at Endeavour.”
The No Limits programme uses hands-on learning to teach public schoolchildren with ASD lessons on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics — known as STEAM.
The lessons teach pupils about weather, buoyancy and other sailing fundamentals at their own pace.
The youngsters use interactive videos and online video calls.
Activities that can be done home are given to parents and used to engage students alongside the virtual classes.
The No Limits programme started in April 2017 for Autism Awareness Month as a way for children with ASD to learn and get access to sailing.
The course is run at Paget Primary, West Pembroke Primary, Prospect Primary in Devonshire, Dellwood Middle School in Pembroke and The Berkeley Institute, also in Pembroke, for children aged six years old and older.
Ashleigh Lowe, an ASD teacher at Berkeley, said that the programme helped develop team spirit among teachers, pupils and their families.
Ms Lowe added: “Even in our virtual learning environment, the Endeavour team has provided STEAM activities that stimulate high levels of student engagement, increase student confidence and willingness to perform new sensory tasks.”
Tom Harcombe, Endeavour's east programme manager, said that working with pupils and their schools had been an “inspiring and humbling experience.”
He added: “It has been a great way for students, teachers and our Endeavour instructors to feel connected through learning during these uncertain and challenging times.
“It has been incredible to see how excited the students are to engage in the activities with our Endeavour team.”
Moriah Wheddon, Endeavour's west programme instructor, said: “We love reuniting with the students who participate in the BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme.
“It is amazing to see the kids' faces light up when they recognise us as we have developed positive relationships with them during their time at Endeavour.”