My student population consists of young students with special needs in a low income setting. They fall between the ages of 3 and 5, but developmentally often present at the age of 1 or younger. You will find a variety of abilities and disabilities among my students including down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and speech disorders. As part of their delay, many students struggle with social and emotional skills, gross and fine motor skills, communication, adaptive, and cognitive skills. I have found that they tend to learn best when provided with hands-on materials for exploration and learning, as well as opportunities to work with and play together.
The pandemic has made it difficult to provide students with hands-on materials for learning through play.
This is especially true because the materials we use need to be easy to clean, and we need enough to ensure students can use them in smaller groups. Many students have also lacked regular exposure to peers. Thus we are working to help them gain appropriate social and emotional skills through play with their peers. Hands-on materials and experiences are critical for my students' ability to progress across all developmental domains.
These materials are geared towards providing students with hands-on experiences in which they can explore concepts, such as writing letters and counting, in engaging ways. For example, the letter tracing trays, math light table trays, and the letter hammer block are fun ways for children to learn as they play. The train set and magnetic animals also allow children to work together to build a final product, which also promotes positive social skills. And, the art materials provide fun, hands on ways for children to learn creative expression. These area all wonderful items to support my young students' growth across multiple developmental domains that has been difficult for teachers to address due e to Covid19. Thus, these materials will help them progress, grow, and have meaningful educational opportunities in the classroom, despite the pandemic.
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