Special Needs Unit Leads to Special Field Trip

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Students in Roxbury High School’s Teaching Young Children’s (TYC) class took a special field trip on January 18th to the Regional Day School in Morristown to learn about working with and understanding children will special needs.

This annual field trip to the Regional Day School allows students to work with a special needs population that have more severe disabilities and come from a range of sending districts. RHS students played volleyball, helped teach numbers, painted pyramids and did a variety of classroom activities in each class during their visit.

Roxbury High School’s Teaching Young Children’s (TYC)

Pam Mandracchia, the TYC’s teacher explained, “As we study a Special Needs Unit, this allows students to be exposed to different therapies that are not available in regular education settings. Different teaching techniques and strategies that match the population are compared to regular education classes. My hope is that students come away with a stronger understanding of yet another aspect of special education.”

Adding, “They gain valuable insight into just how special and unique this population is and how much joy is brought to the lives of these children by those that teach and share their compassion and skills with them on a daily basis. As part of the TYC program, students learn about how this population is taught and techniques that can be applied to teaching in general, no matter whether in special education or regular education. Many of the students plan on going into teaching as their future career and for some, it confirms their ability to work in this area.”

“As this is a career component for many in the class, they see the value in learning how to work with all types of special needs youngsters. Many will be majoring in special education or taking additional course credits in college as a minor.  Students also learn about volunteer and future job opportunities and ways to become more marketable in the education field as well.”

TYC is a 10-credit class offered to high school seniors as part of the childcare teaching program. This class is for those thinking of a career in teaching or working with children of any age. Students are interviewed and selected based on interest, experience, and future goals.

As part of this program, it provides an opportunity to work with four-year-old children from the Roxbury community in a preschool setting. Students learn how to plan activities, create lessons, and interact with children as part of the curriculum. This hands-on program allows students to apply their knowledge of psychology and human behavior while actually running a nursery school. The course provides a strong foundation for working or teaching in a preschool, elementary, middle or high school setting.

“High school students take on the roles and many aspects of a teacher in this course such as learning lesson planning, learning styles, differentiated learning, special education, positive guidance, and the Handwriting without Tears method of printing. The importance of communicating with parents, children, and teammates, along with a multitude of educational issues such as Applied Behavior Analysis and Understanding by Design are also covered. Current research and best practices are central to student learning in this course.”

“Students who are interested in this course usually become future teachers. They take the class to increase their confidence and ability to see what teachers do and how they do it. Whether it be high school teaching, middle school, elementary, early childhood or special education, good teaching is good teaching, and the more experience they gain, the better they will become. For some in related fields such as occupational therapy and speech, for instance, they gain invaluable experience in working with children.”

Roxbury High School’s Family & Consumer Sciences department introduces students to the world of food, nutrition, personal finance, child development and fashion.

The high school’s program of studies provides the following description in relation to the child development area, “Three courses are offered which provide a range of student opportunities that include observation and interaction with young children, career exploration, effective parenting, and the teaching of young children in our laboratory preschool.”

All of the programs within this department contribute to the overall goal of growth and development of self-reliant, productive members of society.

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