Strive Program Offerings
The Strive program offers special needs students a safe environment to learn basic skills for living, and curriculum material based on their abilities and learning needs. Some activities include swimming, baking, arts and crafts, number and letter recognition, reading and writing and an awareness of their environment. Strive students have the opportunity to participate in adaptive Phys. Ed. and Music Therapy through Project H.O.P.E. And, they also are integrated back into a regular classroom for interaction with their age appropriate peers.
Project H.O.P.E. supports children with exceptionalities in the classroom through music therapy adaptive physical education to promote the development of communication and life skills. In Westmount School, Project H.O.P.E provides therapeutic services for children in Kindergarten to Grade 6 with severe learning needs, including communication, cognitive, self-help, social-emotional and/or behavioral difficulties.
Roots Of Empathy
In the Roots of Empathy program, a parent and baby (who is two to four months old at the start of the program) from the community visit a classroom nine times over the course of a school year. A trained Roots of Empathy instructor visits with the family to guide children as they observe the relationship between the baby and his or her parent. The instructor also visits before and after each family visit to reinforce teachings. There are 27 classroom visits in total in a Roots of Empathy program.
In the program, the baby is the "teacher." With each family visit, the instructor leads the children in noticing how the baby is growing and changing over the course of his or her first year of life. The children also watch the loving relationship between the parent and baby and see how the parent responds to the baby's emotions and meets the baby's needs. The attachment relationship between a baby and a parent is an ideal model of empathy.
Children learn to understand the perspective of the baby and label the baby's feelings, and then are guided in extending this learning outwards so they have a better understanding of their own feelings and the feelings of others. This emotional literacy lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms, where children are "Changers." They are more socially and emotionally competent and much more likely to challenge cruelty and injustice.