Life-Changing Outcomes for Exceptional Kids

First Children School Vocational Program for High School Students

First Children School’s Vocational Program for high school students includes life skills, vocational skills, and occupation exploration.

Life Skills Lessons

Students in our vocational program practice important life skills that will enhance their experiences in their home and community. These skills promote confidence and engagement in everyday activities. Life skills are the building blocks of independence. Check out some examples below:

Cooking and Baking – Students learn about different tools in the kitchen, including adapted or modified equipment that can allow them to food prep more independently. We provide visual recipes so students have an easier time understanding the instructions. With these modifications, students learn to make their own meals, which can be done at home as well.

Cleaning and Organizing – Students are able to practice many core concepts of education when organizing toys, drawers, shelves, and other household spaces. This often allows them to reinforce sorting by size, shape, color, or function. They might also need to count the items while cleaning, or put them away alphabetically or via number or picture matching. We also use task checklists with step by step breakdowns for cleaning tasks such as washing the dishes, sweeping, or setting the table. The task check list enables the student to independently identify the materials needed to complete the task and what needs to be done for each step. Following this same routine allows them to become more comfortable in navigating the task independently, and this can be practiced in their home as well.

Signs and Symbols – An example of a community life skill would be identifying important signs and symbols in the neighborhood, such as crosswalk signs, red, yellow, and green lights, railroad crossings, hospital signs, exit signs, warning symbols such as poisonous, hazardous materials, and danger signs. Students practice identifying these signs and their meanings, and then move on to matching these signs with likely places to spot them, and how to proceed if they do.

Social Role Playing and Practice – Many of our students struggle with appropriate or effective socialization. We play games to practice peer interaction, role play community and workplace situations to discuss appropriate behavior or responses, and review and practice common community interactions such as making a purchase or ordering a meal. Students can then use these skills in their day to day activities.

 

Vocational Skills Lessons

Students learn core vocational skills such as communication, organization, and planning.

 

Occupation Exploration

Our occupation exploration is based on the 16 recognized career clusters, and we introduce jobs in every area and complete activities related to those jobs.  We have extensive units on STEM careers, clerical work, gardening, retail and grocery, warehouse packaging, restaurant work, and cooking and baking.

Our occupation exploration units include field trips, visits from professionals, and mock career activities.  For example, with the police officer unit, we visit a police station and interview a police officer.  We then complete a lesson on what an officer does and what kinds of tools they would have including student learning activities to teach job functions such as fingerprinting, evidence collection, and interrogation using games like “Guess Who” to learn how to ask questions to identify different people and “I-Spy” to work on picking important things out of a scene.

Here is a typical plan for life skills trips, as well as job development.