Of the many challenges a parent faces, one of the greater challenges is selecting the right school where their child will start his or her educational journey. Parents of children with disabilities may feel especially daunted as they search for the school that will provide their son or daughter the love and support they deserve. At Space Coast Early Intervention Center, parents need not worry. From an age of six weeks, all the way through third grade, students both with and without disabilities receive equal opportunities and individualized care for the best possible start to their academic journey.
School Director Terri Clark disputes the 20th-century, antiquated mindset that special needs children should attend separate schools, where they are surrounded only by others like themselves. Clark notes that over the last thirty years, education studies have shown this method is detrimental rather than beneficial to children. In contrast to old-fashioned customs, disabled children and typically developing “role model” children attend Space Coast Early Intervention Center side-by- side. Clark emphasizes,
“We are a school and not an intervention center. We allow therapies to happen at our school,” she continues, but SCEIC is not a therapy institute per se.
While students of all cognitive abilities share the classroom, Clark and the rest of the staff at SCEIC recognize that no child is the same – everyone has unique needs and deserves individualized attention. Children with disabilities develop social, emotional and academic skills that build their confidence, spark their enthusiasm and prepare them for real-world situations. Typically, developing and gifted children gain a compassionate, tolerant attitude towards the world around them while receiving high-quality education. All students are taught the basics of communication, collaboration, movement, math, science and creative arts. Although students are admitted continually throughout the year, class sizes remain small, allowing strong relationships to form between teachers and students.
Alongside the normal 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day for kindergarten through third grade, Space Coast Early Intervention Center offers several special programs for younger children of all needs. Kaleidoscope Kids, who range from ages 1 to 3, work with teachers and therapists to develop age-appropriate cognitive skills. Additionally, in conjunction with the State of Florida, SCEIC provides free voluntary preschool to prepare young ones for elementary school. Gem Kids After School Educare provides creative, fun and inclusive learning activities beyond the regular school day hours. The Brain Training program gives children the opportunity to learn how to learn, guided by instructors in one-on-one sessions. Finally, SCEIC understands that parents need recess just as much as their children. For that reason, Project Recess holds bimonthly opportunities for parents of SCEIC students to drop their kids off at the school and go out for some parents-only time.
This summer, Space Coast Early Intervention Center is hard at work on several new additions to bring an even more inclusive and supportive environment to the school just in time for the 2019-2020 school year. “We are adding a baby room this summer and a third grade,” Clark announces. In time, SCEIC hopes to add classes up to eighth grade. Even as the school expands, Space Coast Early Intervention Center will keep the student-teacher ratio low so that each young mind can be nurtured to become successful in his or her unique way.