The Skills of Life Learned at Deer Park

In its continual efforts to provide students with innovative educational opportunities, the district recently opened a groundbreaking facility for its special needs population. The Life Skills Center, located in the Washington School, features a multi-room design that simulates a home setting. Each room, including a kitchen, bedroom and living space, provides a platform for students to learn specific skill sets and encourages them to become independent problem solvers.     

Throughout the school year, students visit the center to complete various activities. Robert Frost Middle School special education teacher Laura Valente’s class engaged in a food lesson. Students, with the assistance of speech teacher Christine Sokol, took a hands-on approach to making an ice cream sundae. They began by identifying the tools and utensils needed to create the sweet treat and then used key words to describe the ingredients. Building teamwork skills, students took on a variety of roles in gathering and setting tableware and practiced tactile learning by scooping their favorite ice cream flavors. They also reviewed proper table and dining etiquette and expressed their creative sides by decorating their desserts with a selection of toppings.  

This hub of education allows students to take on everyday tasks in an interactive learning environment. Students have the ability to work to their full potential and assist one another through the process. Expanding the center’s benefits districtwide, self-contained classes from John F. Kennedy Intermediate School will begin to utilize the center to enhance curriculum and development.