February 23rd, 2019
The Director Speaks Up -
“Prep Power Starts Now!!”
We cannot force someone to hear a message they are not ready to hear, but we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
I believe we plant ‘seeds’ our entire lives, leaving the truth of our contribution to “Survive,Thrive and Grow!”
Part of this process is to invite “Others” to add their own ideas to help cultivate; to ultimately lead us to new knowledge and understanding of how that seed can grow in its best light.
Prep to Step-Up is a valuable “message”. After five years of thriving, it is now time for the public to listen to that message so that it can grow.
During this month of love and friendship, I’d like to send a heartfelt “Thank You” to the highly professional and experienced members of our Strategic Funding Committee who have already volunteered many hours of their time to ‘cultivate’ their ideas ensuring the future of the program survive for our neurodiverse community.
Their thorough and organized approach has been uplifting for me personally and I shall be ever grateful! Backed by the passion and commitment of a valuable dedicated Staff, the hard work of the Clients and their families, CLNH and associated organizations like the St. John Ambulance Volunteer Therapy Dogs and business supports from the likes of Pizza Nova just to name a few, Prep to Step-Up is sure to have a positive future!
Our Clients have the Right to Education any time in their lives! From the very beginning this was strongly evident to me when two young ladies, Brittany Anderson and Ashley Broadbent, proudly approached me and asked if a “school program” was possible!
From that moment forward, we’ve “Never Ignored a Possible!” and, along with more seeds yet to be planted, we never will!
Many thanks to the “Circle” for your continued support! Let the “Prep Power” begin!
~ Doreen McCall, Founder & Director - Prep to Step-Up
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Math - Loonies & Toonies and More! Hey, Hey!
Clients have progressed steadily in both Time and Money areas. We continued with Time for a few weeks, solidifying concepts and finishing up old worksheets.
We then quickly progressed into Money, where returning Clients refreshed their knowledge from previous Semesters, and new Clients learned new concepts and the schedule around the Bank and the Store. We had only a few short weeks left until the Store was supposed to take place, so in this time we reviewed the coins we use, quarters, loonies and toonies, the values of each, the Choice Chart and how the check marks translate into money for the Store, what we do at the Bank, and what roles the Clients could participate in for each.
In the week of the original Store date, we visited the Bank. This included every Client receiving a Bank sheet, which tracked their money flow individually. The Banker then handed out the coins earned, based on the Choice Chart check marks, to each Client, and the transactions were recorded on their sheets.
When we were able to return to the Program safely, on Thursday, we finished preparations in the morning for The Store, which included talking with the Clients to confirm roles, do pricing, sales and categorizing for every item, and create decorations for a Valentine’s Day-themed Store. Through the amazing help from Educators and Clients, we had a fantastic Store run with lots of support and happy faces!
Clients came in groups of 3, where they were greeted by the Bank employees Lorne and Madison, who gave them their Banks. They then ventured into the Store after being greeted and welcomed by our Greeters, Huma and Raghad. When they began browsing, Sam could help with any pricing confusion or product recommendation.
If Clients were particularly interested in a book, then Josh, our book specialist, could help them out. When they had made their decisions, Clients could come back out with their products and friendly Cashiers Brittany and Harry started pricing, removing sale stickers, and bagging the products. Money spent and remaining bank amounts were then calculated by the Bankers, who also received the Clients' banks after shopping was complete.
Literacy Rotation - Quotes, Questions & Quantity!
Literacy continues to expand the reading of fabulous stories to include reading a Motivational Quote before opening up our books. Everyone is excited to start with the “right” to choose a motivational quote, read it out loud and then write it in their journals. There is nothing more rewarding when you hear “I learned a new word today” and then further exploring its definition.
The “responsibility” of everyone listening while one person reads at a time continues to be taken seriously, and the groups listen with interest, passion and even questions which we invest time in answering. The uptake of the Library has been wonderful and we encourage you to continue to support and inspire everyone to keep reading outside of Literacy. Some clients are taking two books out at a time and in the words of a famous Doctor - “The more that you read, the more things that you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go”.
Some clients have expressed an interest in “real life stories” in addition to the curriculum and whether one's passion is cats; golf; unicorns or dragons we will incorporate them into Electives with conversation, reading and writing. Everyone is listening to each other and more importantly being listened to!
Science - Digging & Tasting & ‘MOOVING’ Forward!
In Science, we have continued our exploration of plant and animal food sources. Clients have been fully engaged in hands-on visual and sensory activities including ‘digging for seeds’ in various fruits and vegetables as well as creating (and eating) a whole plant with different vegetables. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we used a sequencing activity to trace chocolate back to its origins on the cacao tree (with some taste testing of course!). The clients also had a great time making their own apple ring ‘donuts’ and Rice Krispie bites as Valentine’s Day treats.
Moving forward, we will be focusing on the ‘others’ involved in food production by learning about farmers and farming with an exciting farm design project. Clients will not only learn more about the food that comes from farms, but also engage in important discussions about humane farming and animal rights. We will apply critical thinking, planning, and spatial sense skills to design farms of our own. This project will be excellent preparation for our upcoming visit from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, who will share more about the cow to carton process of milk.
Art - Friendship with Valentines, Vandrie & Balloons!
Art Rotation is focusing on bringing vibrant colour to this snow-covered Winter Semester!
First Nations Artist, A.J. Vandrie, is our first Canadian Artist being studied during our new series of learning about artists and their works.
Vandrie paints the wonder and the beauty of Canada eliciting emotional responses which really resonated with Clients. Learning from painting one image layered within another, Clients identified a new scope to paint from to celebrate their own works and interpretation of A.J. Vandrie’s unique style and colours.
Love, Friendship and Teamwork abounded on Valentine’s Day Celebrations! Clients were able to choose the colour, size, shape or amount of sparkle of the decorations they used on their Valentine’s Day Posters (which went home). It was a healthy frenzy of glue sticks, markers, crayons, stickers, doilies and fun!!!
Decoupage bowls are under way using a propped up balloon festooned with layers of tissue paper and glue! Watch for the results!
Skills-at-Will - Brainstorming Our Rights and Responsibilities
Over the last few weeks in Skills at Will, the clients have focused on their rights and responsibilities as individuals. We have explored the Freedom of Equality, the Freedom of Expression, and the Freedom of Association. The clients were able to explore the meaning of these rights and how they relate to them in everyday life.
The clients engaged in an activity where they compared how we are alike and how we are different, sharing how we express ourselves by working on a banner of expression together as a team. We explored what “groups” we belong to in our lives and how our freedom of association plays a role in all of the different areas where we can be supportive to “Others” in that group.
Moving forward, the groups are currently working on choosing a personal goal for themselves to work towards. The clients are realizing that peers may have the same goal as they do and that they can help each other achieve their goals. The purpose of this is not for the Clients to reach their goal quickly but to be able to make progress and connections with others at Prep to Step-Up for support and communication.
Next week we will be working on a visual for the Clients’ goals as something for them to see and associate their goal with. This semester has been all about owning our rights and responsibilities and how we can use them to our own benefit and to “Others”.
“The power in all of us comes from the power in each of us!”