The introduction of the Level 1 Learning Programme has been a great success for Tara. Its establishment allows for a more student-centred approach in that a specific programme relevant to her identified needs and strengths can be worked towards as part of a certificate based curriculum. This curriculum allows her school to recognise her achievements with certification like the rest of Tara’s mainstream post-primary peers. The school opened its special class with Tara’s move into post-primary education and it is great that her school can now provide an education programme that is structured and focused on enjoyment, inclusion and participation. When Tara entered first year, we ran the Level 2 Learning Programme. Unfortunately, this was at a level that was not fully achievable for Tara. Through differentiation, she was able to work towards her needs alongside some of the learning outcomes, but overall it was just not fitting towards her level of learning. In contrast, the Level 1 allows for the link with Tara’s IEP targets while allowing her to build on her other skills towards the generalising pathway of the continuum of progression.
As with the L2LP, collaboration between teachers is necessary. This can be a little more challenging in a mainstream setting. A means for sharing evidence and continuous communication is necessary. A continuous review of progression is imperative to insure targets are worked towards and achieved.
The L2LP students in the school enjoy the use of a hard copy of their portfolio as the majority of evidence can be stored in this folder. However, the collection of evidence for the L1LP is primarily video- and photograph-based. While a hard copy portfolio has been used and works well, an e-portfolio may be a better approach in order for the full viewing of the student’s accomplishments. This form of portfolio would also allow for ease of access and portability as well as reducing storage.
Overall, the level of learning and the ability to fully link IEP targets with the L1LP makes it an immensely positive curriculum program for Tara. It allows her to build on what she knows while providing her with a meaningful learning programme.