Special Education Summer Program is Fun and On Point
Students at WHBLC Make Pizza, Learn about Marine Life, and More
The staff at Westhampton Beach Learning Center took learning to a new level during the special education summer program. They infused an extra- large serving of fun into creative lessons and projects, which had students focusing on core curriculum in addition to soft skills (communication, interacting with others), life skills (following directions, making decisions) and honing fine motor skills. Westhampton Beach Learning Center (WHBLC) is an Eastern Suffolk BOCES school that provides special education services to students with special needs. The summer program runs for approximately six weeks.
The school’s most popular summer projects included a seaside-themed cake decorating contest, and International Ocean Day where each class chose a different country and researched that nation’s oceans, sea life, or other body of water. Findings were displayed on bulletin boards and posters outside of classrooms and food items from that country were also made and shared among classes. Make Your Own Pizza also topped the charts and had students using interactive software to learn the order in which ingredients are placed on pizza and then creating their own personalized pies. This exercise required fine motor dexterity to roll out dough and decision making proficiency to choose toppings. The Pancake Breakfast and Beach Day, a beach-inspired field day, were also big hits. Said Patty Bennett, special education teacher and summer event planner at WHBLC, “Summer school is not where students want to be so I tried to make these events fun and educational. Some, such as the cake decorating contest and Beach Day, are school traditions, and others, such as Make Your Own Pizza, I knew would be fun.”