Thinking & Learning Center for Special Needs & Struggling Learners
Classes at the Thinking and Learning Center are based on a therapy model of intervention for struggling learners or those with special needs. Class size is very small with four to six children. Higher-level thinking skills will be developed and supported in this interactive, small-group intervention that covers research-based reading or math instruction while mediation, Socratic questioning, and strengthening of cognitive functions will serve as the core methodology. Reading or math activities will be utilized as the core content in this dynamic intervention and students’ foundational reading or math concepts will be strengthened while their thinking, reading, language, math, and/or problem solving skills will be challenged, all within an atmosphere where anxiety is reduced and thinking is maximized.
Reading and Phonics through Spelling Our Reading class – Reading and Phonics through Spelling takes five essential components of reading – phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension – and systematically teaches special needs students and struggling learners using a discovery and sound-based approach to phonics. Each week students will discover spelling patterns for different sounds using therapy methods in the class. Homework is completed each week using the A Reason For Spelling workbooks. This approach to reading and phonics gives a solid foundation while also using proven methods for students with dyslexia.
- Level 1 is offered for students with a 2nd or 3rd grade reading and/or spelling level.
- Level 2 is offered for students with a 3rd grade or above reading and/or spelling level.
Math Games Class Math Games will build and strengthen number sense, math fluency, math vocabulary, and problem-solving strategies. Students who need to master basic number sense skills, those who rely on procedural understanding (steps to do a problem) without a conceptual understanding (why you do the problem-solving steps and how to problem solve) would benefit the most from this program. Also, students who do not remember the steps in problem-solving or have trouble with math facts would benefit!
- Level 1 – Basic Operations – offers addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and how to learn math facts fast.
- Level 2 – Math involving fractions, decimals, percent, and review of multiplication facts.
Why are the class sizes so small? Classes through teachers from the Thinking and Learning Center are kept small in order to facilitate a true cooperative learning environment with an educational therapy format. The classes are individualized according to the needs of the students. Each activity has multiple levels and the teacher gives each child an appropriate level. What is educational therapy? Educational therapy is an individualized approach to intervention with a student who has learning struggles and disabilities. The therapist looks at the cognitive functions a child struggles with and through targeted activites, build the areas of struggle improving cognitive performance. The Thinking and Learning Center uses a discovery model of learning where students discover or realize a fact instead of being told facts. It’s a hands on approach to education.
How is Educational Therapy different from tutoring? Tutoring is form of reteaching or breaking down learning into smaller steps to help someone who struggles or has special needs. Educational therapy goes beyond that, looking at learning in a three part process:
- 1. Information gathering
- 2. Thinking through information
- 3. Delivering or expressing the information.
This shows exactly where the breakdown occurs and what thought processes are used or underutilized while also looking at the output and if there is breakdown in delivering the information learned. Socratic questioning helps the teacher discover these breakdowns and guides the student through overcoming. Each game or activity uses different cognitive functions and has different levels. The classes are formatted as a cooperative environment where students see how other kids process the information and discuss how we think through games and questions. Students quickly learn that sometimes they see the information the same as another student and when they don’t it’s a learning experience. The classroom is a safe place to discuss how they think through information. The end result helps struggling learners as well as learning disabled students to see how they learn and through the discussions they learn how to learn.