AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
The Light House's after-school program offers an option for parents who need care after school. Students participate in activities and lessons focused on independent living skills , social skills and community participation.
The Co-Coordinators of the Extended School Day Program are Arielle Cooper and Allison Paradis. Please contact The Light House Education Director at 860-445-7625 ext. 121 for more information.
The local Niantic community suits The Light House students in a variety of ways and is a great place for students to practice functional skills. Students have access to the Book Barn, the boardwalk, and many businesses, such as CVS and the Dollar Store where the are able to practice purchasing skills and interacting with community members. Students also have access to local restaurants where they may practice ordering and dining skills. During the summer months, students have a chance to go to the local beach and parks where they can swim, engage in recreation, and learn about local coastal wildlife.
While in the community, students learn to walk on sidewalks safely, utilize crosswalks and learn about parking lot safety. Additionally, students practice skills using money, searching for items on a grocery list (usually for something that is cooked later that week), engaging in positive social interactions with venders, and developing awareness of surroundings.
Students are encouraged to engage in a variety of tasks and activities with other students. Practicing communication skills, such as greetings, self-advocating language, positive pro-social conversations and peer collaboration are all focuses of group interactions. A well-rounded variety of group activates provides the basic forum for these peer-to-peer interactions.
A weekly schedule includes community outings (local and non-local outings), cooking (baking and meal preparation), science or art projects, motor/sensory activities, music therapy and other groups/activities that may be unique. Unique groups in the past have included a firefighter who gave a lesson on fire safety and a wildlife educator who brought in live animals for the students to observe and touch. The After-School program, although group oriented, allows for each student to engage in interests unique to them.
Each student’s individual needs are considered throughout the program, and students are often allowed choice during activities to help regulate their sensory needs. Students often have say in what will be cooked on cooking days, what music is being played during music therapy, and where they may want to go into the local community. Students are offered breaks to use the motor room (swings, mats, sensory items) or have access to other preferred items/tasks (ipad, computer, outside walk, etc…). Additionally, students practice functional jobs near the end of each day, which may include loading/unloading a dishwasher, sweeping, wiping tables, taking out the trash, and loading a washing machine. Assigned jobs rotate and may be completed in small groups or the individual level.
Overall, The Light House Extended School Day Program takes a student-centered approach and encourages growth through a variety of individual and group activities. By practicing functional skills and engaging in positive social interactions and community involvement, students are provided with opportunities to increase their potential for independence, social awareness, and self-advocacy.
A sample weekly schedule for the afterschool program is below:
Monday: Art (students practice creative expression, fine motor skills, sitting in a group, following directions, cutting, folding, gluing etc…)
Tuesday: Science (Science is mostly used as a sensory outlet. Students will make slimes, playdough and experiment with different textures. These activities allow for practice in measuring and following directions etc…)
Wednesday: Music Therapy (music therapist conducts an hour group/individual music sessions)
Thursday: Community Activities: community walks, grocery shopping, farmers market* and visiting local restaurants etc…). This block also may include indoor activities such as baking, science projects, or sensory groups. Often, students rotate going into the community to pick up shopping ingredients for Friday’s cooking, while other students stay back and participate in an indoor activity coupled with a local community walk/outing.
Friday: Cooking project (students participate in preparing a snack or small meal). They practice hand washing, turn taking, cutting, mixing, measuring and following a recipe). This may also be a Beach day during summer months.