Reach & Match Holistic Play-based Program Supports School Readiness and Core & Expanded Core Curriculum
“The Reach & Match kit is an awesome way to teach many levels of learning to all ages of students. The Reach & Match Kit is an awesome tool that can promote team collaboration between those working with students and children with special needs. It is also a tool that can be used to “bridge the gap between the separate skill sets that each player brings to the team”. The teacher, the students with visual impairments, the physical therapists, the occupational therapists and the O&M specialists can all use their own creativity to meet the specific goals that they set for their students.”
An APH Scholar and vision consultant for Montana School for the Deaf and Blind Barbara Peterson shared her application of Reach & Match with us at the Access Academy webinar Creative Learning to Meeting Educational and Therapy Goals Using the Reach & Match on 30 March 2021.
She has offered some very valuable advice on Reach & Match application that she learnt when she collaborated with related services on the educational team. Her presentation was divided into four segments and each addressed a different area:
1. Early Learning – a physical therapist worked with a family to utilise the Reach & Match for their infant toddler at home.
2. Orientation & Mobility – an O&M specialist worked with a preschool student to utilise his cane with Reach & Match at school.
3. Physical therapy – a physical therapist utilised the Reach & Match to teach postural control and locomotor skills with older students at school.
4. Occupational Therapy – an occupational therapist utilised Reach & Match to teach tactile exploration and attention and memory skills with older students at school.
I was thrilled and inspired to learn about Barbara and her team’s creative application of Reach & Match for children of different ages and learning needs. Her sharing provided very useful insights for users to understand the flexibility and innovation of the Reach & Match.
Bridge Core and Expanded Core Curriculum with Reach & Match
The Reach & Match Inclusive Learning Program was underpinned by 7 Learning Outcomes including Braille & Print Literacy, Cognitive Skills, Sensory Integration, Body Concept, Orientation & Mobility, Language Enrichment and Social Interaction. The design of these Learning Outcomes was aligned with the Core and Expanded Core Curriculum including Literacy, Mathematics, Orientation & Mobility, Sensory Efficiency and Social Skills. Below are examples of Reach & Match activities that can support children in developing these CC and ECC areas:
– Pre-braille activities through exploring the Reach & Match components including different materials, textures, shapes and sizes, etc.
– 26 Braille and Print Alphabet Tiles assist the development of letter recognition and fine motor skills and basic spelling.
We believe that learning involves children’s whole-body movement would be helpful to strengthen their learning and memory. Jenny Griffiths, an inclusive education advisor from our partner organisation Callan Service in Papua New Guinea shared how Reach & Match supported her students with disabilities to learn the alphabet:
“The feedback from the pilot case was amazing because it is play-based; it is pre-numeracy and pre-literacy training. One of the teachers from Arawa has been working with children in the 4-8 age group for a couple of years trying to teach them the alphabet and they have been staring at her blankly, but through using this play-based approach, they have learned the alphabet within 3 weeks. They have loved it, it uses games, exercises [and] is fun whilst being age-appropriate.”
– Sorting, matching and counting are basic forms of algebra in Mathematics, e.g., children learn to sort the shapes and identify the patterns with the Reach & Match tiles
– Sequencing and memory training: Sequence is a basic Maths skill that creates and identify a pattern, e.g., the teacher can create a sequence in shapes (or sounds), and ask the student to create the same patterns.
3. Orientation and Mobility
– Finger manipulation: pick up a specific tile, track the path using the finger.
– Wrist twisting: fit different shapes into its pockets, shake the tile.
– Gross motor skills: learn about crawling, walking, jumping, leaping through the Reach & Match games.
– Orientation concepts and language development – e.g., wall, floor, roof, in, out, left, right, up, down, under, over, etc.
4. Sensory Efficiency
– Sensory Integration: Reach & Match provides activities that specifically support sight & visual skills, hearing integration and touch integration, body movement.
– Visual tracking, visual Discrimination, tactual readiness.
5. Social Skills
– All 16 Reach & Match games allow group play and that support social interaction, active listening, active participation, turns Taking, cooperation skills and teamwork.
Another encouraging feedback shared by our partner Save the Children that we were working on enhancing school readiness for children with disabilities in the Solomon Islands, project officer Jason Ross said:
“The design provided so many opportunities for all children to be engaged in games and activities. Children who have a visual impairment participated fully in alphabet games alongside sighted children due to each tile having the Braille component. Another young child who could not walk was the group leader. He confidently placed shapes into their correct place as his teammates ran towards him as part of the shuttle relay race. The children have had an incredible time and will no doubt benefit enormously from the Reach & Match toolkit going forward,”
Reach & Match New Development
We are very excited to share with you that we have developed a series of program training videos that include about 40 activity animations and over 20 lesson plans, which include game instructions, additional ideas, teachers’ strategies and evidence of learnings. These videos will be very helpful and accessible for teachers to understand and apply the activities immediately. Additionally, we also provide Live Training Webinars for groups, it is a tailored support service for program design and implementation using the Reach & Match for individual organisations.
To learn more, watch APH’s Access Academy webinar on Creative Learning to Meeting Educational and Therapy Goals Using the Reach & Match or visit the Reach & Match website.