Fun Club Students Learn Social Skills in Simulated Apartment

The innovative Fun Club social skills program allows JFK Intermediate students to take full advantage of the Life Skills Center, a special simulated “apartment” set up several years ago at the district’s former Washington School. The Fun Club was implemented to help children in self-contained classes learn and use vital life skills.

“This program is designed to increase opportunities for our children to be socially successful in school and in the Deer Park community,” explained special education teacher Marie Tortorici. “We teach each child appropriate social skills to use when engaging adults and peers in school and outside in the community. We practice these skills in real-life scenarios at the apartment and then work on them further during mini trips into the community.”

Visiting the apartment on a regular basis, the 25 students in the Fun Club rotate from one confidence-building activity to another, from vacuuming to folding laundry. In the kitchen, they sort silverware, wash dishes, and put pots and pans away. In the apartment’s bedroom, they learn how to make a bed by working with a real bed and sheets, encouraging teamwork. Game-playing and sharing snacks provide chances to socialize and interact with kindness. The Life Skills Center program also recently introduced a “retail store” with assorted clothing and food items, which helps the JFK students work on real-world shopping, money and budgeting skills.