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  • Haut-Lac International Bilingual School

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Press release: The British School of Geneva’s newly-launched programme, The Ark, is unique in Geneva: an English-language centre for autistic teens, part of a mainstream school, teaching the English National Curriculum as well as the life skills these students will need as they prepare for adulthood.

Launched in September 2020, this specialised unit is dedicated to providing English-speaking teens with autism an opportunity to develop their academic, social, personal and employability skills. Students in The Ark follow a curriculum based on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is reviewed each term.

In addition to delivering the English National Curriculum, BSG is registered with ASDAN, whose programmes and qualifications help young people develop knowledge and skills for learning, work and life. Based on students’ levels and needs, ASDAN modules taught could include such topics as Expressive Arts, Preparing for Adulthood and Living Independently.

The daily schedule in The Ark is designed to best accommodate students’ learning, sensory and social skills needs. Accordingly, morning sessions are geared toward developing English language and Mathematics skills from a functional perspective, and advancing in other academic subjects including French.

Afternoons, the focus is on expanding practical skills with the aim of achieving greater independence and employability. Activities, each conceived with a specific goal and delivered to best suit the level and learning profile of each student, include cooking, social skills outings in the community, managing a small budget, and shopping trips using money.

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The Ark’s dedicated space was designed to address the learning needs of our students, with particular attention paid to providing a suitable sensory environment. The school has two classrooms: one with traditional layout for teaching a small group, and the other in which students can work at TEACCH stations for more independent sessions and learning consolidation activities.

This centre also has a kitchen in which students practise cooking and related life skills, as well as a messy play area, and a sensory room for breaks and quiet time. Importantly, as The Ark is not rigidly structured around the timetable of the broader school, teachers have the flexibility to adapt and shape students’ days as required.

BSG is committed to both inclusion and reverse inclusion. The Ark is an integral part of BSG, and students enroled in this programme enjoy breaks and lunches with their mainstream peers, and participate in school-wide events and activities. Some students in The Ark may choose to join mainstream lessons, if and when it is appropriate. Happily, The Ark welcomes select students from across the school to participate in life skills sessions and other small group activities, such as cooking and crafts.

The Ark is an integral part of the British School of Geneva and adheres to the same standards of excellence, student safety, care and respect as the school as a whole.

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The Art Centre for Autism
BSG The British School of Geneva
Av. de Châtelaine 95A
1219 Châtelaine, GE
022 795 75 10