Park School

Pre Formal Pathway


The Pre-Formal curriculum is designed to meet the needs of pupils through a personalised play based approach. It focusses on the early communication, social and emotional and cognitive skills that are the foundation of learning. It is a curriculum that recognises the importance of movement and play in a child's development and the need for sensory and multi sensory approaches to learning. Children who access our Pre-Formal curriculum are children who are at the earliest stages of their development. 


The focus for the Pre-Formal curriculum is based on - 

Active engagement skills

Social communication - response and initiation

Emotional regulation - sensory motor

Physical development

Making sense of the environment 

Encountering and experiencing topics

Functional and meaningful activities

developing interests 

Building relationships with adults 

Building attention and anticipation skills 

Exploration and investigative skills

Developing a sense of self



Children following the Pre-formal curriculum pathway will access a personalised learning approach based on communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social emotional and mental health and physical need. The Pre-Formal curriculum is delivered through a termly thematic topic. All teaching and learning activities are individualised to the child and are informed by their engagement profile. EHCP targets and curriculum areas are used to focus the teaching and learning as subject specific lessons are not appropriate. All teaching and learning activities are desirable and motivating with a multi sensory approach being key. 


A range of teaching strategies and approaches are used including - 




Attention Autism 

Intensive Interaction

Objects of reference, PECS, PODD, Makaton

Multi-sensory environments and resources

Routine, Structure, consistency and repetition

Play based learning 

Regulation input -motor actions and sensory motor strategies 

Sensory stories



Story massage




Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning within the Pre-Formal curriculum. It enables us to be certain about the appropriateness of the personalised curriculum we aim to provide for each child. The Engagement Model is a tool that identifies and celebrates all children's progress at a level that is appropriate for them. It recognises linear and lateral progress and can help children to widen the range of activities that they will actively engage in. We also recognise and identify lateral progress through observing and recording additional skills such as fluency, completing actions with more independence, maintaining a skill over time and the ability to generalise and transfer a skill from one context to another.

Progress is also measured through summative assessment using developmental frameworks such as Routes for Learning, SCERTS and the MOVE framework. Using varied assessment methods ensures that we are able to accurately capture and celebrate the progress of our Pre-Formal learners, which can often be inconsistent and dependent on the complex needs.