Dr Fiona MacDonald1
1Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Special Schools specialise in teaching children and young people with a moderate to severe intellectual disability, sensory or physical impairments. The schools have a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach and focus on creating meaningful learning for their students. This presentation demonstrates how one school developed meaningful learning through the end to end production and service of café food and drinks. The purchase of a pop up café [a custom fitted shipping container] and the guaranteed delivery of food through the Victorian Governments’ School Breakfast Clubs Program has enabled this Victorian Special school to create a spatial experience for their students that links learning with the familiarity of family life.
This presentation has three aims, 1) to consider the social space that has been created from a familiar social product for these students, 2) to investigate the potential agency, actions and perspectives of students of this spatial experience, and 3) to consider the ways of knowing for children and young people living with disability and examine how they negotiate this space, making meaning out of the familiar spatial experience of their family’s café life with the unfamiliar experience of production and service.
Dr Fiona MacDonald was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from Monash University in 2014. Dr MacDonald is Research Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities, VU Research at Victoria University.
Dr MacDonald’s research sits at the intersection of education, sociology, inclusion, identity and belonging for children and young people. Fiona’s research in schools and learning environments considers the opportunities, challenges and everyday negotiations for children and young people in these significant social environments.