The Brooke School mentoring program is a long standing program run weekly from September through to April to provide Science lessons to a small group of Brooke school students from years 7 or 8.
The sessions are run by Mrs Large our SEN Learning Mentor and supported by Mrs Gardner our Science Technician. The Brooke students are supported either 1:1 or 2:1 by year 12 or 13 students in the Lawrence Sheriff 6th Form community.
Each week we provide a range of fun, science-inspired, arts and crafts activities. Such activities include the children making their own working rockets, a mobile of the Solar System, making their own alien spaceship to develop their learning about the Solar System in a fun and achievable way.
When it comes to why we joined, many of us firstly chose to volunteer because we either had nothing else we preferred to do on a Wednesday afternoon, or because it looked good on our CV’s. But, as the weeks has gone by, all of us now agree that we have formed special working relationships with our Brooke School partners, and have had a lot of fun doing it.
Whilst the Brooke school students have learnt a lot about science, technology, engineering, and maths, as well as having developing their social skills and building new trusting relationships with us, we as mentors have also learned a lot from our counterparts.
In terms of developing their learning, the Brooke School teachers that come to support their the students have said, on multiple occasions, that their students are progressing well because of the program, and exhibit new and promising traits during the session. They have been increasing their engagement in certain tasks and also speaking more and more as they form a better relationship with us.
They come to the sessions with individual targets to meet in terms of their own personal learning and social interaction goals, and many students have met and even surpassed these targets, which is absolutely fantastic! Whilst the program helps the Brooke School students with social interaction, it also helps us learn how to interact with people with specific learning difficulties which we may not have had experience with yet in life.
Whilst some may consider the activities that we do in the program as being simple and unproductive, they are in fact perfectly suited for the students and are easy enough for first time mentors to adapt them to the student’s needs. From this we learn to complexities of such a task whilst still being able to deliver in a professional fashion... Not that fun isn’t had at every stage of the process, resulting in us becoming friends with our partner.
As there may have been some trepidation amongst us before the program started, because of our overall lack of experience interacting with children with learning difficulties, we were all quickly put at ease by spending time with them.
We would all recommend getting involved in the program to New Year 12’s, not only for its blatant qualification merits, but for the amazing experience you will inevitably have.