Special Education Class Descriptions
Children who have conditions that interfere with learning and are between three and six years of age can be placed in the Preprimary Classroom. This 1/2 day program serves children who may have deficits in cognitive, physical, emotional, or speech and language areas, or exhibit severe developmental delays.
Each child's abilities are assessed and performance objectives are developed based on the results. Because learning best occurs when students are actively involved, goals are achieved through planned hands on play oriented activities that are designed to meet the developmental needs of each child.
Because the parent is the child's first teacher, it is important that the parents are actively involved in the Preprimary Program. Working together facilitates the success of the school experience for each child. Communication between home and school is encouraged through handwritten notes and telephone contacts and through monthly calendars and newsletters.
Periodically throughout the school year some Fridays are scheduled without students to allow for "parent education". School conferences and home visits can be arranged to answer questions, help with decision making, and assist with any problems the parent may be experiencing.
There are two half day sessions. We attempt to group the students according to age and developmental level. Generally, the older & more experienced children attend the morning class, and the younger children who may be having their first school experience usually attend in the afternoon, although not always. Special emphasis is placed on school readiness, which allows children to develop thinking skills and social maturity necessary for school success. Through basic concept development, we encourage pre-reading (letters/left to right), pre-math (numbers/sizes/amounts), as well as fine-motor skills development (cutting and pre-handwriting). During group activities students learn to sit and attend, actively participate, take turns appropriately and follow directions.
Emphasis is also placed, more importantly, on language acquisition. Emphasis on both interactive and functional communication skills is incorporated into play activities to a much greater degree in this group. Skills are learned at a pace consistent with each child’s developmental level. The approach to concept development for both groups is both thematic and fun in nature.
A variety of methods and materials are utilized, based on each child’s learning style and needs, as determined by each individualized program.
Primary TMI Classroom
The Primary TMI Classroom at Pied Piper serves TMI students generally falling between the ages of 6-12. Children placed in this classroom usually have good communication and academic potential. Some children may also exhibit social or behavioral concerns that require intense programming.
Many of the daily teaching activities are presented to the whole class in an effort to teach group behaviors such as turn taking, keeping hands to ones self and waiting. IEP goals for students tend to be academic and behavioral in nature. Numerous teaching strategies and a variety of materials are used to help students' work toward reaching their maximum potential.
Field trips and Community Based Instruction are an integral part of this program.
Primary SMI Classroom
The Primary SMI Classroom is designed to help children between the ages of 3 and 12 who have a variety of cognitive and physical challenges. Most of the children have severe mental impairment or have physical impairments in addition to a mental impairment. Because of this, technology and adaptive devices are readily available and often embedded into many classroom routines. Individualized communication training is a central focus for students. Language is facilitated using a variety of methods including speech, sign language, voice output communication devices and picture symbols. Visually aided language and visual support strategies are used extensively with students.
Activities in the classroom are centered around themes to allow for incidental learning about topics such as clothing, transportation or animals, while at the same time remaining very individualized in the teaching of objectives as determined by each child's IEP. Learning takes place through some group activities, but more often than not, through preplanned play activitiesbetween an instructor and 1 or 2 children. Both the curriculum and play materials are adapted to meet the needs of each child in the room. Because literacy for all students is also a high priority, an adapted literacy program in provided daily.
During the school year, two days a month are set aside to meet the needs of parents. On these days, a variety of helpful and educational opportunities are scheduled including home visits by classroom staff, parent/child activities in teh school or community, "Make it/Takeit" workshops, and parent education classes. Families can borrow items from a small lending library of Assistive Technology devices and have an opportunity to get together with other families in the class several times a year on Family Fun Nights.
Students with a wide range of educational goals including communication, self-help, motor skills, and academics are easily accommodated in this very individualized program.
Senior TMI Classroom
The Senior TMI Classroom serves teenagers between the ages of 12 and 20 years. The students receive instruction from the four curriculum areas: Citizen Life Role, Worker Life Role, Family Member Life Role and Leisure Life Role.
The emphasis in this classroom is on independent functional living and safety skills, problem solving, communication and following a simple time schedule. Time is also spent teaching community and prevocational skills and as a part of this, students are responsible for the school's recycling program. In every activity, students are encouraged to think for themselves and make appropriate decisions and choices.
Senior SMI Classroom
The Senior SMI Classroom serves young teenagers and adults between the ages of 12 and 16 years with mental and physical impairments. Students range in ability levels from trainable mentally impaired to severely mentally impaired along with students with autism.
The students in this classroom participate in a variety of activities throughout the day including work on language skills through verbalizations, augmentative communication devices, sign language, gesturing, and/or pointing to pictures. The students also participate in prevocational and vocational type of activities including staying on task, completing tasks on time, assembling, sorting and packaging. We work on daily living skills constantly in our classroom in hopes that the students will be able to use these skills when they are at home with their families and friends. The students also get to have fun during the day when they work on recreation and leisure skills while playing various board and card games, which not only help to teach socialization skills, but also come color and number recognition skills.
The SMI Classroom serves children as young as three and as old as 26 who have severe mental and physical impairments. Most of the students use wheelchairs for mobility and have visual and auditory impairments as well.
For many of the students in this classroom, opportunities to explore the world are extremely limited. Because of this, students are engaged in a variety of movement and sensory experiences. Sensory stimulation activities focus on getting the students to respond to sounds, sights, smells and touch. Working to stimulate these senses is one powerful way to help these students build more complex behaviors.
Emphasis is often placed on a student's partial participation in social activities, communication and self-help activities, rather than on developing single skills in these areas. Art and music are very important parts of the classroom program. The ultimate goal is to improve each student's quality of life.
The Vocational Classroom primarily serves TMI students over the age of 16 and has three distinct areas of instruction.
- Home Living
- Wood shop/crafts
- Occupational Training
The Home Living area is well equipped to assist students in developing the skills needed to live semi-independently This fully furnished apartment includes a kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom and bathroom as well as a washer and dryer. Students are taught a variety of skills including meal preparation, clothing care, cleaning, safety and basic first aid.
In the wood shop, students use up-to-date methods to create ceramic wares. The students are also given an opportunity to use various hand tools and power tools in woodcrafts that they later sell. The school greenhouse also has an annual plant sale and offers community plantings.
In the area of occupational training, students are offered job training in work sites at the school and in the community. Janitorial and kitchen aide positions in the school include assisting the school custodian and/or cook in their regular duties. Landscaping/greenhouse aide training is also offered in the school's greenhouse. In the community, job sites include motels, restaurants, department stores and grocery stores. The students are also given classroom instruction to help improve their understanding of the skills needed to find employment and social aspects involved in being an employee and productive member of their community.
The students are exposed to all three instructional areas to develop a basic level of skills needed to live outside the family home and to perform in the work of work. This instruction includes learning how to work together as a team.