I am volunteering at SCEP which is an Early Intervention and Training Service. It is for young children who are unable to function in a “typical” daycare, preschool, or school setting.
One thing I learned is sometimes it’s best not to overwhelm students with questions. Since the students sometimes struggle with basic communication skills the workers often use simple communication. For example, if a student is playing with a toy truck you could say, “Truck, Big Truck, Red Truck, Broom Broom.” The workers try not to ask the students questions. This was something I found hard to do because I have always asked children questions.
Another thing I learned is about the benefit of alternative schooling. This is something I’ve never been sure on and now I really see the benefit to it. The students that go to SCEP would not benefit from being in a “typical” classroom. They need one on one attention. It’s important for these students to have a safe place to learn and play and not be overwhelmed with too many kids.
One last thing I learned is the concept of what the workers call “learning for big ears.” This is where the workers will talk behind the child’s back to work through a problem the child might have. For example, something that occurred while I was there was a student got upset when their time on the iPad was over. The workers would then say something like “I know Rebecca is upset because she is done with the iPad for today. I’m glad Rebecca got a chance to play on the iPad. Maybe tomorrow Rebecca can play on the iPad again.” This can help the child to understand that it’s not a punishment and they will get another chance another day.
One connection I made was to a previous connection on the importance of a strong support system. Some of these students at SCEP don’t have a strong support system and they come to SCEP to get that support. This goes back to how parenting styles can affect students learning.
Another connection I made was about modelling behavior. Last week we touched on the concept of learning by observing others and this was a common theme while at SCEP. During snack time there was a student who was acting goofy and then another student copied that behavior. This is a common theme throughout classrooms and I think it’s important to encourage modelling positive behavior instead of negative behavior.
One question I still have how can we help students with a learning or behavioral problem adapt to a “typical” classroom setting without resources like SCEP?