The West Coast Language Development Centre is an early years school for children with language disorders or difficulties who have average cognitive ability, one of five in Western Australia. The West Coast Language Development Centre (LDC) has an enrolment of 200 students over four sites. The Centre shares a campus with Padbury primary school where there are pre primary and primary LDC students. There are kindy, pre primary and year one students at Glendale Primary School, and kindy students at Craigie Community kindergarten. At our main campus Ridgewood Early Childhood Units, a schools in houses, there are kindy pre-primary and primary classes.
School campuses are shared with a mainstream school wherever possible. The Language Development Centre staff and primary school staffs meet each day. The students play together and participate in a range of programs such as sport and dance and incursions.
All LDC staff members including speech pathologists, teachers and education assistants are committed to improving outcomes for the students in our care. Staff work closely together to set goals, teach, assess and report and there is a high level of collaboration. New staff are selected on merit and the Centre provides ongoing induction and professional learning in the area of oral language development for all staff.
Students attend the Centre on a full time basis for one to three years depending on need. The Centre teaches all learning Areas, English, Maths, Technology, Science, Society and Environment, Health & Physical Education, The Arts which are taught in all schools in Western Australia. The only learning Area not taught is Languages Other than English. There is a focus on the oral language and comprehension of concepts in each Learning Area. The Centre has a focus on visual supports and frameworks to support learning and memory. Class sizes are small with support for students in oral language sessions. The Centre's priorities for 2007 are Syntax and Pragmatics and Social Skills.
Enrolment is by a referral process which requires students to be assessed by a speech pathologist for kindy students and by a speech pathologist and school psychologist for pre primary and primary students. All referrals are assessed by a panel. Not all students who are assessed as suitable are offered a place. This may be because we receive more referrals than we have places to offer or that the child may not have a primary language disorder.
The school Council is made up of staff and parent representatives from all campuses. Parents are an integral part of their child's education while they are at the Language Development Centre. Parents are involved in annual case conferences, parent workshops, morning and afternoon teas and learning journeys. The Centre believes that parents are key to their child's ongoing learning both while they attend the Language Centre and when their child returns to their mainstream school.