One of the many benefits of Y.A.L.E. School’s pioneering ‘school-within-a-school’ programs is the chance to receive highly specialized services within a public school, and the natural and easy opportunity for inclusive education.
For four-year-old Logan, a preschooler at Y.A.L.E.’s Mullica Township campus, that opportunity has meant new friendships and learning.
Earlier this year, Logan began spending part of his day in a public school preschool classroom, taking part in computers, circle time, art, P.E. and music. The classroom teacher, Miss Garvey, and her students have welcomed Logan and embraced him as part of the class.
In the general education class, Logan works on academic tasks such as coloring, cutting and pasting. “During the social part of centers, Logan works on sharing with his friends, asking his friends to share with him, maintaining conversations, and playing appropriately,” said Melissa Cunane, Logan’s teacher at Y.A.L.E.
The experience has helped Logan in several unanticipated ways.
According to his mother, Veronica, Logan used to be “obsessed” with dinosaurs and had little ability to expand on his imagination. “Now, after being in Miss Garvey’s room, Logan will pick just about anything to play with. We have been able to start playing board games as a family, something we could never do before,” she added.
“Logan loves pizza but would only eat the triangle shaped pizza,” explained Veronica. “Since he has been spending lunchtime with Miss Garvey’s classroom, he will now eat square pizza or round pizza. This may sound trivial to some, but for us it is huge.”
“The ground work for Logan’s success in the public school classroom was laid by teachers, staff and Logan’s parents months before he made the transition to spend part of his day in the general education program,” added Walker.
“We are extremely excited about the inclusion opportunities at Y.A.L.E,” said Veronica. “This was also the main reason why we chose Y.A.L.E., they just made it a reality sooner than we expected.”