My internship took place at Mount Loretto’s Step by Step After School Program. The mission of the organization is the one of the Immaculate Virgin. The mission advocates a community that is compassionate and healing, strong sense of family life, and allows those who work in these programs to exhibit their God given potentials. The Step by Step After School Program is targeted for children diagnosed with Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Developmental Disabilities which interfere with social and educational growth. Individualization, priority, learning environment, classroom community, and collaboration between parents and teachers were some of the highlights of this program. The Step by Step After School Program is dedicated to providing a loving environment in which the children will prosper.
My internship took place at Mount Loretto’s Step by Step After School Program. The mission of the organization is the one of the Immaculate Virgin. It is a not-for-profit agency of the Archdiocese of New York founded by Father John Drumgoole in 1871. The mission of this program, and all others which take place at Mount Loretto, mimic the strategies and ideas of Father Drumgoole and its Catholic heritage. The mission advocates a community that is compassionate and healing, strong sense of family life, and allows those who work in these programs to exhibit their God given potentials. All programs promote justice, peace, and compassion in order to instill the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin.
The Step by Step After School Program is targeted for children diagnosed with Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Developmental Disabilities which interfere with social and educational growth. The site holds true to its mission in several different ways. First and foremost the program is specifically directed toward people in need. At the Step by Step After School Program, education and support come together and where compassion and professionalism intersect. This site looks at the ability opposed to the disability. It allows children to have a childhood that every parent wants for their children. Mount Loretto believes that miracles are occurring within every program. This program is devoted to enhancing the lives of these children with disabilities. Mount Loretto is also dedicated to providing families with the right tools and knowledge to guide their child through difficult times. With the proper support from family and surroundings, the child will indeed prosper. This organization is committed to providing help and hope to these children with compassion and dignity.
Step by Step After School Program allows for employers and volunteers to exhibit their talents in helping those in difficulty assemble a path that is much less burdensome. These individuals are learning more about this population of children, which will enable them to go out, and education others on these types of disabilities and what we can do to serve this community. The site also seeks to accomplish its mission by the strong sense of compassion brought about by all those who work there. Committed employers makes learning and socializing more enjoyable to the children.
My internship at Mount Loretto Step by Step After School Program gave me a greater understanding of school-age children and how they interact out of school. This program was extremely creative and individualized for the children. Each child has a personal program in which the instructor and child will adhere to. These activities, goals, and lessons are thought out and analyzed to specifically target the child’s needs. They are modified daily by the head of the program and they seek to establish a several aspects of the child’s learning environment such as social aspects, educational aspects, and occupational aspects. The program ensures that the children will receive instruction, which will enhance their intellectual development, emotional development, and social development. I now realize how essential it is to have individualized programs for children with disabilities. Although children may be categorized with the same disorder, they are two very different people. I have learned not to make preconceived judgments on a child based on his or his disability. When working with children who have a disability, it is important to look beyond the impairment; rather see the child opposed to the disability. Past the disability is a child who likes baseball or enjoys art, just as a child who learns normally.
As a professional in the world of education, it is essential for our number one priority to be the enhancement of the children. This internship has taught me a great deal about interacting with children who have special needs. Previously, I was intimidated to interact with children who have a disability. I thought that I would be extremely emotional or not have the appropriate knowledge in order to successfully work with these children. To my surprise, I found that I highly enjoy working with these children, and that the children responded extremely well to my instruction. At my last day of internship, the students were hugging my goodbye and one of the children even said I love you! It warmed my heart in a way that words could not describe. Thanks to this wonderful opportunity at Mount Loretto, I was able to turn my weakness into strength. Now I am considering revolving my future career around children who have disabilities.
The learning environment at Mount Loretto was extremely appealing to the children. When designing the program and atmosphere, I believe that this organization has the best interest of the children in mind. The room in which the children have their program is very bright and decorated to attract the children’s attention. There are pictures on the wall with rules in order to establish classroom management. Hung on the walls are the arts and crafts children create during their time at the after school program. Another huge aspect of the positive learning environment in which this program provides is the amicable staff. Each staff member is extremely friendly, caring, and ultimately love what they do. I believe that this is an essential feature of a successful program. This factor enhances the children’s ability to learn and prosper. If the staff members are intrigued and are dedicated, then the children will be as well. This is a vital aspect in the classroom as well. Students will be mindful if the teacher is uninterested in the lessons or does not care much about her job. The students will mimic the behaviors of the teacher; therefore it is not only important, but essential that the teacher is one hundred and fifty percent dedicated to the students and her career.
The internship has had an enormous amount of correspondence to what we have been learning in the classroom. First, it has brought to life my studies on education of special needs children. In class we spoke about individualizing programs to accommodate the needs of children. I saw the significance of this during my internship program. Each child has different learning styles, likes and dislikes, and developmental stages. Like stated previously, no child is alike, therefore we must strive to adapt to his or her individual needs. From class and the internship, I also aligned the criticalness of classroom management. The program was very organized and it was evident that the children benefited from it. Classroom community was also present at this program. The children actively learned together. The learning environment was one in which students could prosper and learn to their fullest potential. A daily routine was established in order to promote organization and order. The physical space was welcoming, well-organized, and student-friendly. Another aspect that was displayed during my internship was the important role of parent and teacher communication. At the end of each session, the staff member who was paired with the child would speak to the parents about the child’s performance for the day. Collaboration with parents is crucial for the development and advancement of each child. Communication with parents with allow for monitoring of student progress, ability to make instructional decisions, evaluation of student achievement, and evaluation of the program.
Overall, I had an extremely positive and rewarding experience at Mount Loretto After School Program. I enhanced my knowledge of children with disabilities and how to successfully interact with them. I feel that this opportunity gave me the tools and confidence to work with special needs children. It has made me more compassionate and aware of the different disorders and struggles these children face on a daily basis. It has also enlightened me on the different tactics and strategies I can use for my future career. Mount Loretto After School Program is a truly wonderful program that gives children with disabilities the chance to prosper, and for having the opportunity to be a part of it, I will forever be grateful.