Side by Side’s special education programme uses PCI Education’s Academic Curriculum Framework as a general guide for our academics. This framework is a developmentally sequenced K – 12+ core skills programme for students with moderate to severe disabilities. It includes language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and employability. We modify some areas of the framework to be relevant to us living in China, with the addition of the Chinese currency to any mathematics units, and using worldwide social studies units.
Side by Side’s academic programme aims to increase independence and knowledge through activity-based lessons. This enhanced knowledge in turn increases self-confidence, communication, social skills and ability to adapt and participate purposefully in daily life. We use resources from a variety of different sources, and in a variety of different formats, from games and workbooks to iPads and computers. All skills are reinforced throughout the programme using other activities, such as cooking, gardening, shopping, and preparing daily lunches.
We believe using one curriculum, especially designed for students with moderate to severe disabilities, as a guide provides a solid foundation for each child’s progress. A single curriculum gives cohesiveness to our programme, and we use a variety of different resources to complement the curriculum. Many special education programmes use a variety of curricula, making it challenging for parents to understand, and messy moving from one ‘level’ to the next. Our parents are able to take the relevant curriculum folder home to look at, and fully understand the areas of study, the stages each child is working, and will work, on, and see how the programme progresses in both the short and long term.