Our educational programming and academic instruction adhere to the New York State Learning Standards. Teachers are expected to make the appropriate accommodations to ensure that students can access the content and when necessary, modifications when specific content is too complex. Our classroom teachers create lesson plans that reflect core subjects, including:
English / Language Arts
Preschool English / Language Arts
Our preschool programs all utilize Creative Curriculum to help students begin to develop literacy skills. The Creative Curriculum supports our preschool teachers as they arrange classroom environments that encourage children to read and write. The curriculum provides insight into the seven components of literacy:
- Literacy as a source of enjoyment
- Vocabulary and language
- Phonological awareness
- Knowledge of print
- Letters and words
- Books and other texts
The Creative Curriculum also incorporates a myriad of ways to introduce literacy concepts in ways that are accessible to all students. Examples include talking, singing and playing with language, reading aloud, storytelling, story retelling, writing, and meaningful play.
Our ABA classrooms also use the STAR Autism Program to develop the early literacy skills of our learners with ASD. This curriculum provides instruction for the development of the foundational skills needed for these young students to eventually access age-appropriate reading and writing abilities in the grade school years.
School-Age Program English / Language Arts
Our elementary and middle/high schools use a range of curricular tools to support the development of their students’ ELA skills. The primary curriculum is Heinemann’s Fountas and Pinnell reading intervention system which helps identify gaps in literacy skills and effectively respond with targeted instruction. Writing skills are supported by the Collins writing program which helps teachers integrate writing skills into all curricular domains.
The base curriculum at AHRC Middle/High School is also Fountas and Pinnell. Similar to the elementary school, staff are trained in the Collins Writing Program methodology to integrate writing skills into all curricular areas.
The Creative Curriculum includes many math concepts in its activities. Teachers are encouraged to expand upon their children’s interests to facilitate mathematics learning. The curriculum is designed to help teachers incorporate mathematics learning into daily classroom routines. Centers and activities are set up to improve children’s math understanding and application. Concepts such as cardinality, quantity, counting, and patterns are emphasized.
The STAR Autism Program helps our learners with autism develop the requisite academic skills for them to access math concepts in later years. These skills are typically targeted in small instructional settings to ensure that the children progress consistently through the program.
School-Age Program Math
At Brooklyn Blue Feather Elementary and Staten Island Prep, teachers primarily utilize McGraw-Hill’s MyMath curriculum, a general education system widely used across the country for math instruction. An appropriate differentiation for the learners is stressed. Math instruction occurs on a daily basis in every classroom and fulfills the state standards for instructional hours in this subject.
AHRC Middle/High School uses a variety of curricula, including MyMath, Glencoe Math, and other general education tools. Depending on the learning needs of the students, teachers reference a range of curricula to create the individualized programming necessary. Independence is always the goal. Students participate in math instruction every day. Whenever possible, teachers introduce math concepts within their natural environments to facilitate the generalization. Examples include teaching money management skills in the context of purchasing preferred items from the store.
Preschool Social Studies
The Creative Curriculum and the STAR Autism Program offer a number of opportunities for students to learn civic and community skills. Our preschools also provide many situations in which students can be exposed to different aspects of their neighborhoods and learn the appropriate values and behaviors necessary for societal inclusion.
School-Age Program Social Studies
Teachers at Brooklyn Blue Feather Elementary and Staten Island Prep are expected to create social studies lessons that reflect the State Learning Standards. They have access to McGraw Hill’s resources on NY State social studies content as well as other learning tools such as Putnam North Westchester BOCES Social Studies/ELA curriculum. Staff are expected to regularly provide instruction on social studies and community-based topics. Essential concepts include community and neighborhood topics as well as content regarding national issues such as politics, history, and human rights.
At AHRC Middle/High School, teachers follow the PNW BOCES SS/ELA curriculum that provides instruction in a range of important topics such as community government, New York State and City History, US History, and World History. The teachers break down the concepts and differentiate the instruction so that the most important concepts and information are accessible and applicable in the students’ everyday lives. To ensure that students understand and synthesize the concepts, our teachers embrace multi-modal presentation of social studies materials, including visual tools, interactive tasks, and personalized activities.
Our preschool teachers recognize that science needs to be taught a certain way to young learners. They embrace hands-on, experiential science that allows students to explore different science-based concepts and encourages inquiry-based learning. Within the Creative Curriculum environment, science activities are an essential part of weekly lesson planning and allow students to participate in exciting, instructive activities that build the foundation for a lifetime of interest in science. The STAR Autism Program also promotes theme-based learning to help students delve into age-appropriate science concepts.
School-Age Programs Science
Both Brooklyn Blue Feather Elementary School, Staten Island Prep and AHRC Middle/High School follow the state learning standards for science instruction. This includes lessons in the core areas of Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science. Both schools emphasize interactive, project-based learning which allows the students to explore the concepts and apply the information to the real world. To support science instruction, both schools utilize the Amplify Science program. Amplify is a phenomena-based curriculum recently developed out of UC-Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. Amplify blends investigations, digital content, and literacy-focused science resources to help students become scientists in the classroom.
Preschool Health Education
In our preschools, students are taught the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness. They are also instructed in healthy living habits such as exercise and appropriate food choices, which lay the foundation for continued healthy lifestyles.
School-Age Programs Health Education
Our school-age programs regularly address health education concepts through the HealthSmart curriculum. The students are taught age-appropriate information and practices so that they understand essential personal changes and evolving community expectations during their elementary and high school years. Our oldest students are enrolled in more advanced health education training to ensure that they will confidently and independently maneuver the adult world and understand the more mature issues that they will face during their transition to their next phase of life.
Adaptive Physical Education
Preschool Physical Education
The children in AHRC New York City preschools participate in physical education two times per week. There is an understanding that young learners need to engage in regular movement and that physical education is an important aspect of early childhood education. The PE teachers ensure that the activities are age-appropriate and that support is provided for certain students when necessary.
School-Age Programs Adaptive Physical Education
Our school-age programs both have full-time special educators who specialize in providing physical education to individuals with disabilities such as ASD. Students participate in adaptive physical education (APE) twice per week and engage in sports, recreation, and exercise with the support of trained staff. We at AHRC recognize the importance of physical activity for persons with autism, regardless of age, as well as the positive health effects of engaging in such activities. We also understand that many individuals with ASD need support when they participate and that physical activities often need to be modified in order to reflect the needs of the students. APE is an essential part of our school-age programming and all students are expected to engage in the activities to the greatest extent possible.
Preschool Music Education
Music is an important part of early literacy development for preschool learners. Teachers create Listening Areas that include different musical devices with which the students can interact. Children learn to repeat familiar songs, predict lyrics, and sing with others over the course of their school days—all of which contribute to stronger literacy skills and language development.
School-Age Programs Music Education
Our school-age programs employ a full-time music teacher who splits time between the two schools. Music education consists of singing, instrument playing, and performing age-appropriate and adequately challenging material. Students develop their verbal ability as well as fine motor skills in an environment that allows exciting participation and musical exploration. There are also bi-annual concerts where the students perform group numbers and in some cases, particularly talented and hard-working students give solo performances of some of their favorite songs.
Preschool Art Education
In the preschools, students receive Art Education through The Creative Curriculum. Over the course of a school day, the children spend considerable time playing and engaging in interactions in Interest Areas. One dedicated Interest Area is the Arts Area in which children paint, draw, use clay, and many other creative endeavors. Other Interest Areas, including Sand & Water as well as classroom studies of topics such as flowers or animals, resulting in art activities designed by classroom teachers who know how to elaborate on and extend children’s thinking.
School-Age Programs Art Education
Our dedicated art teacher instructs students at both school-age schools, through regular pull-out art instruction. Working from lesson plans and collaborating with classroom teachers, the art instructor facilitates the excellent art skills that many of the students possess.
Appropriate supports are provided, empowering students with fine motor deficits and learning issues to fully participate. Art projects are designed to resonate with the students’ lives and build on their comprehension of the world around them. Our schools are well-decorated with student-produced artwork.