There are many dimensions to the school life at The Saint Anthony School but all involve a therapeutic aspect. That is because, at the St. Anthony school, we believe that a therapeutic school should be exactly that: therapeutic. Besides the classroom environment approach below you might also be interested in the story behind The Saint Anthony School, the school curriculum, school activities, or school recreation.
Through many years of experiment and research the founders of St. Anthony’s came to firmly believe that the physical environment for children with learning differences can be as important as any educational or psychological treatment.
The Classroom Environment
The classroom is perceived as a sanctuary for learning; it is a warm and safe place to absorb knowledge and practice social interaction. It is a building block that is often overlooked by schools in the mainstream.
Loud, crowded hallways, bright, florescent lighting, messy classrooms with twenty-five or more desks in rows, floor to ceiling charts, diagrams, and endless clutter short circuit the learning processes in a learning different child. We often describe this to parents this way: If you were plucked out of your comfort zone and placed on Mars, you might experience some of the severe angst and terrifying sensations that our learning different children feel upon entering the standard classroom in most schools.
Sensory-Integration Dysfunction is the inability of the brain to correctly process information brought in by the five senses. Many of our students, while not necessarily diagnosed with Sensory-Integration Dysfunction suffer from symptoms. The Attention Deficit student is bombarded with sensory stimuli all during the day.
It made sense to us at St. Anthony’s that since we cannot know what each child is experiencing in his own head, we must design a classroom that suits the needs of the great majority of these children.
Specifically, what we create is a room that is beautiful to the eye, soothing to all five senses, and sets the stage for learning. We pay particular attention to arrangement of desks, lighting, color, background noise, and even smell.
The Learning Different Child
The learning different child often has poor organizational skills yet craves and needs order and direction; the classroom must exude this sense of order, neatness, and calm. Once the environment is in place, the student’s anxiety recedes; once structure is set in motion and the student knows what is expected, he can achieve, learn, and grow into his potential in the face of learning disabilities; once potential is reached, renewed self-esteem is knocking at the door.
Contact St. Anthony School or call (214)443-1205 with any questions or to schedule a tour of the school.