School support groups
While adjusting to virtual school schedules and wondering how children will succeed in a learning environment void of person-to-person contact, Building Blocks is happy to announce in-person groups to support virtual learning! Our groups will feature 2-4 children with 1-2 professionals (OT/SLP or OT&SLP) 1-2x/week. We look forward to providing our kids with much needed in-person opportunities to develop and enhance skills they are learning virtually. We are open to families forming their own groups with other children looking for extra support in the areas of fine motor, language, and social skills development.
What kinds of groups will run?
- Joint OT/SLP group – This group will feature up to 4 kids led by an Occupational therapist and Speech Language Pathologist. The groups will focus on fine motor, language, and social skill development. The small numbers will allow for more targeted skill work to support the virtual learning from school.
- Fine Motor group – This group will feature 2-3 kids be led by an Occupational Therapist. The group will focus on fine motor and sensory integration. In-person therapy allows for more feedback and tactile support to assist children in their fine motor development.
- Language/Social group – This group will feature 2-3 kids and be led by a Speech Language Pathologist. The group will focus on expressive, receptive, and social language skills. We all witnessed our kids “tuning out” last Spring on virtual platforms. This group will provide a chance for kids to participate in games, social play, and targeted expressive/receptive language activities with peers. Please visit our Groups page for more specific information.
How will we ensure safety?
Building Blocks Therapy has many safety protocols already in place for in-person therapy services. Protocols include child and therapist temp checks, health form to be signed prior to starting sessions, staggered scheduling, and a strict cleaning protocol. You can read about our protocols here.
During our groups, children will wear masks (read more about our mask policy here) and be spaced out in the rooms. Depending on the time of day the group is scheduled, we have 3 possible rooms that accommodate multiple children and therapists in a socially distanced manner. Our longer group will take a 15 minute walk/break outside in our courtyard in Falls Church. Kids will receive their own materials box in order to reduce sharing of tools and manipulatives.
How are social skills addressed when kids are separated by 6 feet?
Addressing social skills while remaining socially distant requires extra creativity. Our revised summer camp in July provided us the opportunity to practice and implement successful activities for in person groups. Examples of “working together” while remaining separate include:
- creating something for a friend – while apart, one child builds/decorates/draws something for their peer who gives instructions (e.g., “I want yellow hair; ” I want 3 wheels”).
- Building a story together – each child gets a puzzle piece or sequence card to start. They need to negotiate the correct order and then independently walk to the middle and place their card down.
- Designing a mural – using a roll of paper spread across the room, each child has their own space/square to draw/write/glue on. When completed, it’s a beautiful mural designed and decorated together.
These are just some examples of ways our children can still create, problem solve, and share together while remaining 6 feet apart. So much of our social skill development involves peer-to-peer negotiation, compromise, and problem solving. With virtual learning and less in-person engagement, we are losing a critical piece to overall development. It is our hope thru these groups that we can fill in this missing piece during this challenging year.