I teach at a therapeutic special education school serving approximately 82 students who have been unable to succeed in a general education setting due to intense emotional and behavioral needs. 100% of my students receive free lunch, making our school one of the highest poverty schools in the district. Some of our students are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, and nearly all have faced great struggles in their lives. Our school is located in an old warehouse, but I am determined to help my students reach beyond their current circumstances, with the hope of them eventually returning back to their neighborhood schools and into the general education environment.
It is often very heartbreaking to teach children as young as five who have already been pulled out of their neighborhood schools to attend a school for at-risk children with mental health issues and severe behavioral problems due to trauma.
However, because my students are so young, I am confident that my classroom can steer their behavior and academics in the right direction.
Despite so many hardships, my students are incredible children with boundless potential. Most of them have faced difficult home lives and traumas that greatly affect their behavior.
My students thrive on flexible learning environments and experiences that allow them to move around and expend their energy in healthy ways. We received one beanbag seat already from Donorschoose and my students absolutely LOVE it. We have even had a few fights over it because it is so new and cool. We would love to have another one to start growing our flexible seating options in the classroom. It will be nice to have two beanbags that match our rug. My students have loved sitting in the beanbag seat during independent reading (Action 100) time. My students all have intense behavioral disabilities (so intense to the point that they have been placed at this school), so they need MANY accommodations to help them learn successfully. Flexible seating is one such accommodation that really works and that they LOVE!
Our school also does not have many items for our students to play with outside and also during our dramatic/free play time.
This fort-building toy can be played with both inside and outside for recess. Building the fort outside using this toy will allow my students to be healthy and practice outdoor fitness. They can also use this toy in the classroom during dramatic/free play time. We have this time right after social skills class for our students to practice building healthy friendships with one another and build socio-emotional skills. In a behavioral setting, this is extremely important and we view it as an academic subject because of the unique needs of our students. The fort builder comes with strong, snap-together builders (poles) that students attach to kid-friendly connectors provided. They can build so many different designs (i.e. castles, igloos), allowing them to practice their STEM skills! This toy will combine outdoor play, STEM, and social skills development!
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