Green Class

Teaching Approaches

Green Class Curriculum 

Physical and Sensory Needs

Outdoor Environment




At Surbiton Hill Nursery we are passionate about supporting children with Special Educational Needs. All our staff are well trained in many techniques to enable all children to thrive and make progress. We use Makaton, Pecs, and Visual timetables as some of the ways to aid with communication and learning. We have experienced staff who have supported and worked with children with a range of needs and believe in an inclusive approach.

Green Class is our Special Resource Provision for nursery age pupils who have Social Communication Needs, including Autism, Moderate Learning Difficulties and Severe Learning Difficulties.  Green Class provides places for up to 10 pre-school age children. 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. The unit provides a communication-centred environment that supports the children in all areas of their learning. There are an additional 8 Supported Places and these children are able to spend time in both mainstream and within the Green Class to have opportunities for specialist interventions. Children in outreach placements are supported by a trained nursery nurse with a ratio of 3 adults to 5 children under the direction of a Specialist Teacher. All places are allocated by the Local Authority through a panel.

The Green Class team consists of a teacher in charge, a specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT), an Occupational Therapist (OT) and early years educators. By combining equally the disciplines of teaching and speech and language therapy the team is able to plan and deliver a highly specialised curriculum.  Each child follows an Individual Education Plan based on his/her developmental needs across all areas of the Foundation Stage curriculum.



In Green Class we follow the SCERTS Model.  The SCERTS programme is broken down into 3 areas which focus on “SC” – social communication, “ER” – emotional regulation and “TS”- transactional support.

Social Communication enables us to focus on how children are communicating and set targets for small steps of progress, concentrating on encouraging children to interact with others and use different methods of communication.

Emotional Regulation focuses on using adult support to enable children to maintain sensory regulation throughout the day and reduce anxiety.

This distinctive model provides a framework that focuses on relationships with adults and adaptations to the learning environment to support those children within the Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The SCERTS model is a toolkit to help aid children with communicational, social and emotional difficulties and further develop these skills.


Teaching Approaches

Green Class uses range of strategies and teaching approaches are used to support children with communication development including:

  • The TEACCH Approach – provides a structured approach to learning often using visual resources.  Strategies used include the use of visual timetables, work stations and specifically zoned areas in the classroom.  The structure of the day/week remains consistent and children are notified in advance of changes.
  • PECS and ALD boards – using visual aids to develop spontaneous requests for children to begin to comment and share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Attention Autism groups – to support young children with autism to begin to attend an adult directed group using motivating objects, to develop eye gaze, initiation skills and imitation skills.
  • Intensive Interaction and Non Directive Play – adult’s copy children’s sounds and actions.  Intensive interaction tries to create a communication environment that is enjoyable and non-threatening to the child.  The approach is taken from the way that we first start to communicate with naturally developing infants, where interactions are short and involve noises, touch and eye contact.  Interactions are brief but can grow over time.  Here our children begin to develop an understanding of the reciprocal nature of communication.
  • Colourful Semantics – We use Colourful Semantics in class to help children understand the structure of the language.  Colourful Semantics is a Speech and Language Therapy technique which uses colour coding, to help children learn the important elements of a sentence and how to join them together.  It focuses on question words i.e. who, what doing, what and where.


Physical and Sensory Needs

Children’s physical and sensory needs are met in variety of ways including

  • Sensory Circuits – a short motor skills programme carried out on a daily basis to help calm and regulate children and enable sensory integration.  Activities include bouncing or rolling on a peanut ball, massage and deep pressure.
  • Sensory Play – It includes any activity that stimulates children’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, or hearing. Children engage with a range of dry and wet textures and those that are tactile defensive are gradually encouraged to engage with new textures in a non-invasive way. 
  • Specifically focused OT (Occupational Therapy) activities to address sensory integration, vestibular and proprioceptive needs.

The children are taught to allow adults to help them with mutual regulation of their sensory needs.


Outdoor Environment

The children access an extensive outdoor learning area which provides them with opportunities to explore safely and develop their gross motor skills.  Green Class also has their own smaller Garden for free flow outdoor learning.  This enables adults to focus on teaching play skills and gross motor development.



Parent Testimonial

‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the very first experience our son had in a nursery. Thank you for taking us lost parents by the hand and guiding us quite like the children ourselves, you have been there to tell us through the sleepless nights, the meltdowns and every moment of fear it would be ok. Thank you for being our ray of hope and sunshine. Thank you for showing us how wonderful our son really is.’



Green Class Frequently Asked Questions

 How are Green Class places allocated?

Places are not allocated by The Nursery.  A Local Authority Panel decides on place allocation and children are presented to the panel by professionals that already know them.  This includes Portage Workers, Speech and Language Therapists and Paediatricians.

What is Green Class?

Green Class is a specialist provision within Surbiton Children’s Centre Nursery for 10 children. 10 pre-school age children (5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon) who have a Social Communication Disorder or Autism. There are an additional 4 Supported Places and these children are able to spend time in both mainstream and within the Green Class to have opportunities for specialist interventions

How are Green Class children supported?

Green Class has a high staff ratio of 3 staff members to 5 children and is also supported by a Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist.  All staff in Surbiton Children’s Centre Nursery have had training in working with children with Social Communication Disorders.

What teaching methods are used?

As all the children within Green Class find processing language difficult, a wide range of teaching methods are employed, including structured visual timetables and the TEACCH system.  Picture Exchange Communication System is used with children with limited expressive language and difficulties in initiating. Songs and rhymes are used all the time and improve attention and listening.

Does Green Class also support the development of social skills?

Developing the children’s social skills is a core part of Green Class.  Children are taught: to see themselves as part of a group; play skills; turn taking, responding to others.

Do the Green Class children ever mix with the mainstream classes?

The children have group work; free choice activities; individual work based on their own targets and eat a snack in Green Class.  All other activities take place in Blue or Yellow Classes or outside where the children are supported to participate.

Does the amount of time my child spends in Green Class change?

Each child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and the amount of time spent in Green Class will be dependent upon these targets and discussed with parents and other professionals.  As the IEP is revised so the time in mainstream classes may change.

How are children encouraged to communicate in Green Class?

Central to the Green Class curriculum is developing the child’s ability to communicate. 

Depending on the child, PEC’s may be used and Makaton signing is used throughout the school.

What is Makaton?

Makaton is a communication method that incorporates speech and gesture and/or a picture.  (You may be familiar with this from the Something Special Television series).

Which other professionals work with my child?

The Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) works with the children once per week.  The SALT also supports and develops staff in Green Class and runs parent workshops. Home visits are sometimes arranged.

The Occupational Therapist (OT) assesses the needs of each child and writes programmes for the first term, which are implemented by staff.  The OT also provides advice for parents.

The Educational Psychologist (EP) assesses the children each term and produces reports.

The SALT, OT and EP all contribute the child’s IEP.

How will I know what my child is doing and how well they are doing?

After the first half term a review meeting is held with the professionals involved in Green Class.  We also use Tapestry, our Online Learning Journal to keep you up to date with your child’s learning and the activities they are involved in.

How do I communicate with SCCN on a day-to-day basis?

For those parents who collect/drop-off their child there is the opportunity to speak with staff at the beginning or end of the session. If this is not possible then communication can take place via email.

How can I best support my child?

SCCN aims to work in partnership with parents to provide a consistent, structured approach to the benefit of the children.  Parents have the opportunity to attend the EarlyBird course and are encouraged to attend review meetings and workshops.  The SCCN team will offer home visits and we welcome any feedback you can provide.

The school  SENCO is Emma Furlong contact through