Students have regularly scheduled periods of science. All areas of the curriculum are language-based, sequential, and highly structured. This is imperative, because language skills are key tools that will help students to develop and express their reasoning and problem-solving abilities, as well as helping them develop the confidence they need to return to and be successful in mainstream school.
The Windward School Science Program provides students with skills and strategies to ensure their successful transition into the mainstream science classroom. The use of direct instruction provides lessons and assessments that are consistent with the diverse learning differences, needs, and abilities of the student population. In addition, the program develops self-advocacy skills to promote self-awareness of individual learning challenges. The program also promotes peer collaboration to solve problems, build confidence, and expand students’ interest in the world.
The primary purpose of The Windward School Science Program is to expose students to various scientific concepts, as well as to quantitative, experimental, and analytical laboratory skills, methods, and procedures. In addition, since the students will eventually transition to mainstream school environments, the Science Program goals are consistent with the New York State curriculum standards. Students are provided with the necessary skills to move from the beginner and intermediate levels to the mastery level of comprehension, application, and integration of concepts.
For example, the progression of laboratory work through the grades enables students to learn formal science skills and steps of the scientific method, enhancing their ability to grasp and conduct increasingly rigorous scientific inquiry. With the support of speech and language professionals, the program develops the students’ expressive language skills and vocabulary of science in a developmentally appropriate manner. Scientific reasoning and literacy are also promoted through a variety of reading materials used to introduce topics and support the science content throughout all grade levels.