Portage for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Portage is a home teaching service for pre-school children with special needs and their families. It supports parents in developing their skills to help them teach their children.

It is called Portage after the town in Wisconsin, USA, where the service was first introduced in the 1960s. It was developed as a way of supporting parents in helping their children. The scheme was different from other educational services for young children, instead of taking children to the service, the service was brought to the children and their families in their own home. 

The home became the setting for the teaching and the parents became the teachers. The success of the scheme encouraged professionals in the UK to take up the Portage idea in 1976. Poole Portage Service is registered with the National Portage Association and has been recognised as a 5 Star Portage Service.

Portage is a partnership between parents and professionals. The aim is to equip parents with the skills and confidence they need to help their child. Each programme is tailored to meet the requirements of the individual child. The emphasis is on the positive, finding out and building on what a child can do.

During the regular home visits, the Portage Practitioner works with parents to design one or more activities which the parents can practice with their child each day. Each activity is one small step towards achieving a new skill.

The child’s progress is regularly reviewed and outcomes are set for the next few months. These long term outcomes, as well as the weekly teaching activities, are negotiated with parents and other professionals involved with the child. In this way parents play a significant part in directing their child’s early education.

Read the Portage for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities leaflet.

Portage stay and play sessions

Portage Stay and Play Sessions for pre-school children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are held in Poole. You can find out more about when and where they are held on the Family Information Directory.

Page last updated: 02 May 2019
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