BLUE SKIES AND ST. PETER APOSTLE JNS, NEILSTOWN
St. Peter Apostle Junior National School in Neilstown is one of eight primary schools involved with the Blue Skies Initiative.
Taking a “whole school approach”, which works on the principles of positive reinforcement, St. Peter Apostle has embraced the Blue Skies ethos.
The school currently runs a number of Blue Skies programmes including Small Group Dina, Parenting Courses, Early Start Classes and a universal oral language programme which has been facilitated by the Blue Skies Initiative.
As part of this programme a qualified Speech and Language Therapist attends the school and trains staff in different initiatives which help young children to hit their developmental goals and prepares them for school life.
Staff at St Peter Apostle have been trained in these programmes and currently facilitate a number of courses and classes at the school.
Principal Ann Tobin explained: “There are four or five different layers to the Incredible Years. The first stage of the training is Teacher Classroom Management and that involves the whole class approach where we work on the five rules – eyes on the teacher, mouth closed, ears open, hands on lap, feet on the ground.
“The second stage of the training is Classroom Dina, there the teacher can take out some of the puppets and focus on a behaviour that is encroaching into the learning environment. The emphasis again is on the positive side. The third part of it then is a small therapeutic group. Within that group they focus very much on the language of behaviour and feelings.”
These programmes have led to an improvement in behaviour and interaction between students at St Peter Apostle according to the principal.
The Blue Skies Initiative also facilitates parenting courses to ensure that these behaviours can be continued at home as well as in school.
Ann added: “Parents play a vital role in managing their children’s behaviour and we try to include them as much as we can – and that is another part of the Incredible Years Programme.”