The alternative school I researched was Jean Vanier Catholic School.
1. It is an alternate school because it caters to children with “significant intensive needs”.
2. The different ways students may learn in this space are through community classrooms. I found that the school consists of three classrooms that combine children of different ages, dependent on learning level and/or ability. Another way of learning is through assistive technology. Assistive technology is some form of technology (anything from a highlighter to text-to-speech software) that help children learn by working around their challenges. I was reading the September issue of Jean Vanier’s newsletter and it stated they may get out to Milky Way (ice cream shop) and walk around their community. This leads me to believe that Jean Vanier also uses methods of practical learning by exploring the children’s surrounding environment. The School also has a sensory room, which is “a special room designed to develop a person’s sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects.”
3. I am making many connections through the research of alternative schools, to my own beliefs of teaching and learning. I did not know that there were so many forms of learning and accommodating those with intensive needs. In fact, I would have had a hard time defining an alternative school before this week. I am discovering that all children have the opportunity to learn and be in the classroom, which is a wonderful thing. Every child deserves to experience school and learning, if they are so able. I am joyful to learn that there various methods that cater to children’s needs – what works for one will certainly not necessarily work for another. I am also making a connection that all children need to be treated with respect, no matter what their learning capabilities. If I have a student in my classroom who has a certain learning, medical or physical disability, they deserve every ounce of my attention and consideration that my other students do.