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  • British School of Geneva - BSG THE ARK - Preparing autistic teens for life - International school with English curriculum

violin

In April of last year, the British School of Geneva became part of International Schools Partnership whose network of schools is recognised across local communities and the global education sector for amazing learning. ISP’s key principles, as highlighted on their website, include:

  • Treat everyone with care and respect; we look after one another, embrace similarities and differences and promote the well-being of each other.
  • Begin with our children and students; our children and students are at the heart of our business. Simply, their success is our success.

The Ark Centre for Autism
Launched in September 2020 at the British School of Geneva, 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.

This specialised unit is dedicated to providing English-speaking teens with autism an opportunity to develop their academic, social, personal and employability skills.

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.

David Duffy, the new music teacher at The Ark
New this year at The Ark: music is an important part of the curriculum thanks to weekly visits from David Duffy who brings with him a selection of instruments, his marvelous singing voice, and good humour.

A charismatic performer, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, David takes great pleasure in sharing his love of music through teaching children and adults of all levels, on a variety of instruments (violin, vocals, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, saxophone, piano, and drums) and in various styles (Irish Folk/Tradition, Country/Bluegrass, Classical, Pop and Rock). Having always been passionate about the therapeutic value of music for those living with illness and disability, fatherhood has brought him an even deeper appreciation for the power of imaginative and mindful practices to allow children of all ages to appreciate and enjoy music. David has an uncle with autism and he has had a big influence in his life as well.

David’s technical ability is matched only by his enthusiastic and personable approach, the unique combination of which allow him to instil technical and transferable skills in his students, whilst developing a positive, lifelong association between music and joyful expression.

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The Centre
In addition to developing English language and mathematics skills from a functional perspective, and advancing in other academic subjects including French, there is a focus 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.

The Ark’s dedicated space was designed to address the learning needs of students. The centre has two classrooms, 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.

British School of Geneva
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 adheres to the same standards of excellence as the British School of Geneva as a whole, including student safety, care and respect.

International Schools Partnership is committed to maintaining this specialist education for anglophone autistic teens in Geneva to build on the successes already achieved, and continue to provide a rich curriculum and nurturing learning environment to this exceptional group of young people.

TheArkBSG2

The Ark Centre for Autism
BSG - British School of Geneva
Av. de Châtelaine 95A
1219 Châtelaine, GE
022 795 75 10
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https://britishschoolgeneva.ch