Meet Our Team
Come on a Bear Hunt with Pauline and Melanie!
WHAT IS AVAILABLE AT THE FAMILY CENTRE
Family Learning Library
A library of resources specifically for children with complex needs
Parents have open access to school. They are able to view the equipment within the library and hire it out for a fixed period of time. Toys are also trialled with parents, and if successful, parents will then have the confidence to go out and buy the equipment for their child to have in their home.
The Family Learning Library provides parents with the opportunity to trial equipment and toys for interest and motivation value.
Parent Connection Group
This group runs for 12 weeks, its main aim is to help parents talk through their worries, issues and concerns regarding their child’s behaviour. Since it has been running what has been the most prominent development is the way the parents connect with each other, the help, advice and support they give to one another. This has helped empower parents, build their confidence and help them feel they are not alone even when feeling isolated. The parents also learn new ideas from the course content which is taken from the Incredible Years Programme, this programme is devised to prevent and treat children's behaviour problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence. The group is run by Debbie Tingley and Mel Cummings, held every Tuesday morning. A lot of parents want to access the course more than once as it proves to be so useful to them.
‘Get Cooking’ healthy eating (NHS)
At the family centre we are involved in the Healthy Eating Programme alongside the NHS Dietitians. Debbie Tingley is qualified to teach level 2 ‘get cooking’ programme that is run over 10 weeks, she is supported by Mel Cummings. The parents have theoretical and practical lessons and receive a certified qualification from Agored Cymru once the course is completed. This takes place every Tuesday afternoon and gives the opportunity for the parents of all three schools an opportunity to learn new skills, gain a qualification and meet new friends. Due to the positive input of parents, this course has run successfully for the last 4 years.
As part of our Family Services provision we offer open ended counselling which is free of charge. The counsellor is Debbie Tingley, she has a BSc Hons in Counselling, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Children and Young People. You can access counselling for a number of reasons, to help with bereavement, relationship breakdown, anxiety, stress, exploring issues, depression, dealing with feelings of sadness, negative thoughts, understand yourself and your problems better etc.
This is run once a month, it provides an opportunity for parents to meet, enjoy a cuppa and some cake. There is usually a topic to start a conversation; however, sometimes parents start their own. This has proved successful with some parents really connecting with each other and continuing a friendship beyond the coffee morning.
The Family Centre visit the homes of pupils that are too sick to attend the schooling environment or are on long term sickness. Activities of a sensory nature are taken to provide the child with some stimulus input and to ensure that the curriculum is still being accessed to a certain extent. It is also a way of supporting the parent at what can be a very lonely difficult time for both them and the child.
We are also in close contact with the Special Needs Health Visitors for Cardiff and the Vale. They make referrals to us of children they think may have developmental delays or additional needs. We call to the home to introduce ourselves to the parents and offer our services and emotional support and to give information as and when the parent may need it.
Mother and Toddler Group
The children who attend this group benefit from sensory play activities. The sessions that we deliver are Touch Therapy, Tac Pac, Sensory stories and messy play. This is also a great experience for the parents to network together, build relationships and share ideas and information to help each other in what is a very emotional and difficult time for the families.
Access Play Project
This is a toy lending library with adapted toys with appropriate switches and access equipment necessary. These toys are on a loan for a period of time.
The family centre has put on many courses for parents and carers to attend for free, these include:
English as a second language (EAL)
This is a ladies only class that is run on a Friday morning. Pauline Thomas is the teacher, and has built a fantastic relationship with all the ladies that attend. Two of our ladies have progressed with their English language so well that they are now currently training in the school to become Teaching Assistants and two others have left and gone on to a more advanced class within a college setting.
We also take the ladies on educational excursions in order for them to learn more about our culture and heritage. These places included, Cardiff Castle, St. Fagans, The Natural Museum and Barry Island.
Our ladies are able to attend our classes as we provide transport and a crèche to make it easier for them.
Some of our parents with E.A.L find it hard to fill in important documents such as passport forms, medical documents, and housing forms. Here at the Family Centre we assist the parents with this to make life a little easier for them and to benefit the child’s welfare and wellbeing.
This class is run every Thursday morning, it has been running for a number of years, this year opening up to the three schools. We source an outside sewing teacher who has helped the parents start sewing from the basics, they are now making garments such as clothing, aprons, bibs, bags and laptop covers. The class makes items for the Christmas Fayre.
Rubicon Music and Dance delivers outstanding dance and movement classes that enrich the child’s creativity and confidence and emotional wellbeing. It encourages their ability to follow instructions, take turns, usage of fine and gross motor skills, and general concentration along with building social skills and social interaction.
Children from other schools access the Rubicon session as part of an outreach programme. This is to ensure that the child is being fully inclusive of an alternative curriculum that is best suited to their individual needs.
Sleep Therapy Workshop
Many of our parents have expressed concern over time of their children’s sleeping habits, or rather lack of sleep in general. This is a major problem with our children as it triggers other negative behaviours due to over tiredness and irritability.
Basic ICT For Parents
A community link with The Adult Learning Centre has been set up for parents to access basic ICT skills and training. Parents were asked what courses they would be interested to enrol in, if any. The response led Pauline and myself to research who we could approach to fulfil the parent’s wants and needs. ICT came top of the list as many of our parents were worried that children were able to access sites on the computer that were inappropriate and parents felt that they had no parental control over this. They also wanted help with sending and receiving emails and researching their child’s diagnosis to enable them to gain better understanding of their needs.. We devised a schedule of topics that would benefit each individual parent and delivered this along the representative from The Adult Learning Centre.
The course was such a success that we run it over 22 weeks. All the parents passed the course and gained an Agored Cymru recognised qualification in ICT.
First Aid For Parents
We successfully organised two First Aid workshops for parents. One was for ‘chocking hazards’ and the other for ‘resuscitation’. Both workshops proved to be popular and very successful. St. Johns Ambulance are more than happy to call to deliver more workshops as and when the parents are ready. This has shown to be very useful to the parents at home in the event of an emergency. The parents received a certificate to certify that they took part and fully understood procedures and practice in the event of an emergency.
Epilepsy Training For Parents
A large percentage of our parents have children that suffer with epilepsy, either from birth or recently. We contacted Epilepsy Cymru to arrange a workshop for the parents to attend. The workshop was consisted of explaining what epilepsy was, how to manage it and ways of controlling it, what to do when the child had a seizure, medications available along with different diets that have helped control it. This was very helpful to the parents as they learned more about the condition and reasons as to why their child was suffering with it. They also sat and discussed between themselves what they have experienced with their own child and how they dealt with the situation on a daily basis.
This is run by Melanie Cummings every Wednesday afternoon from 1.15 to 2.45pm. Parents have been making cards, home deco, and ceramics.