A new school is coming to Huntsville and it will be like no other in town. The Rise School of Huntsville opens in January and we recently had the chance to speak with Director Caroline Bradford and get a little sneak peek at what parents can expect from this new educational opportunity for children in the Rocket City.
What is Rise Huntsville?
We are a unique preschool program that is for children with special needs and children typically developing. We will be opening a classroom containing 10 children from 24-48* months old in January of 2013, at Trinity United Methodist Church. Our program is led by a master’s level teacher, maintains a 1:2 to 1:4 ratios and integrates physical, occupational, speech, and music therapy into the curriculum. We will be the 8th Rise School program to open, with the original beginning in Tuscaloosa 37 years ago and 6 others now out west. This is a great opportunity for Huntsville and the surrounding areas. I am honored to be a part of such an exceptional program.
What sets your school apart from other area programs?
Inclusiveness: The Rise school maintains a 50:50 ratio of children with and without special needs, creating the optimum learning culture for all young children.
Personnel: Most teachers at Rise hold master’s degrees and the majority of teacher assistants have bachelor’s degrees. The program employs a registered nurse and contracts for music therapy, pediatric physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
Teacher/child ratios: The classrooms maintain an adult child ratio of 1:2 to 1:4 to insure that as many learning opportunities as possible are provided.
Consistency: The Rise School is a year-round program that children attend Monday through Friday.
Integrated therapy: Therapy is provided in the natural environment in which skills are performed and then replicated daily by the staff, making the therapy more successful for a child in social and interactive environment. This approach has been proven to be most beneficial to children.
Curriculum: The Rise School has adopted the Creative Curriculum, the most successfully researched curriculum designed to meet the needs of all children in an integrated environment.
What is your school’s predominant educational philosophy?
The goals of RISE are to (a) provide family-centered services designed to meet the individualized needs of all children and families; (b) provide a blend of educational and therapy services within the context of a developmentally appropriate curriculum; and (c) prepare young children for their next educational environment. The program adheres to the philosophy and recommended practices of both early childhood special education and general early childhood education.
- Services are family-centered with particular emphasis placed on the family as the primary decision-maker in each child’s program.
- The assessment process is dynamic and ongoing and includes multiple procedures, information sources, and settings. Assessment is linked to instruction.
- Services are designed around an individualized plan consisting of goals and outcomes based on family’s concerns, priorities, and resources; the child’s strengths and needs; and expectations of the next environment.
- Services are offered, varying in intensity and structure, based on the individual and group needs of children and families.
- Children’s development is promoted in all areas including gross and fine motor skills, independence, cognitive skills, social competence and emotional growth, and communication.
- Therapy services (i.e., physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and music therapy) are provided within the context of the educational environment using an integrated approach. Therapy goals are educationally relevant and are implemented collaboratively by the therapists and teaching staff.
- The foundation of the learning environment and activities is based on general early childhood education guidelines, which are blended with recommended practices from early childhood special education.
- Specially designed instruction and curricular adaptations and accommodations are embedded in the daily activities of the classroom.
- The curricula are aligned with the mission to apply child development principles to children with diverse abilities and address all of the content areas required by the state standards that include gross motor, fine motor, social, cognitive, adaptive, science, math and social studies.
- The purpose of Rise is to provide a full spectrum of meaningful learning activities that must be adapted for children with special needs. This requires the careful selection of curricula that meets this criteria.
- The curriculum includes functional objectives that support children in their current environment and prepare them for more inclusive environments.
- The curriculum reflects a balance between child-initiated and teacher-supported activities.
- The program addresses the children’s transitions from one classroom to another and transitions to other more inclusive educational environment.
Perhaps better than any words can explain, this video should help show just what makes Rise Schools so unique and why Huntsville is lucky to have one coming to our community.
Website: www.riseschool.org and www.riseofhuntsville.org
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/RiseSchoolofHuntsville
Grades/Ages of Students: First classroom opening is: 24-36 months
Religious affiliation: None but school is currently housed at Trinity United Methodist
Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:4
UPDATED: As of January 11, 2013 the Rise School of Huntsville has applied for an amendment to their state license in order to include children up to 48 months old in their program.
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".