Movement Education combined with a Social Outing = Ultimate Fun

Trellis School seeks to provide our students with social interactions, community outings, and new experiences with their peers in out-of-school settings.  We look for educational opportunities to teach our learners how to interact in meaningful and appropriate ways with their peers within the community.

In an effort to increase our participation with different schools and organizations, we reached out to some elementary schools asking to have some of our older learners participate in social activities at their school.  Education Director Reyes Vera has a working relationship with Padonia International Elementary School, and he arranged a visit to the school that coincided with the travelling Whittle equipment came to their school for physical education classes.

Gerstung Movement Education equipment, also known as Whittle equipment, is made in Baltimore, MD and has been a part of Movement Education since the early 60’s. The equipment is used to allow children to refine motor skills and build confidence in creative ways through full body engagement, balance, coordination, and problem solving.  Baltimore County Public Schools has a few sets of Whittle equipment that rotate through the school system for a month in physical education classes.  Students are challenged to use their imagination in creative ways to traverse the climbing walls, curved bridges, rope walls, ladders and balance beams. The climbing rope is often themed as a way to cross an “alligator-filled” body of water, and students are encouraged to use new ways to climb, move, and explore safely.  Tall climbing walls become mountains to overcome and balance beams become ways to escape from fairy tale creatures.  When the Whittle Equipment comes to physical education class it’s as if the ultimate playground has come indoors to be conquered.

We want to thank Padonia International Elementary School for inviting us to participate in a few of their gym classes to experience the movement education and chance to exercise our imaginations while practicing social skills through play.  We are grateful to have such a good relationship with the elementary schools in our community.  Padonia gave our students a unique experience and we look forward to future events with the amazing students and teachers at Padonia.  A special thank you to the principal, Melissa DiDonatto, physical education teacher, Gary DeGroat, the 4th grade teachers and students!

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A New Perspective

Reyes Vera joined Trellis earlier this Winter as the Education Director of the Trellis School. We recently sat down to ask him three questions to get to know him a little better. Read his bio on our Leadership Page and read below for the answers to our questions.

Q. What attracted you to Trellis?

Trellis has always been known for having high quality educational and clinical programs. As a BCBA and special educator, being part of a school that utilizes the principles of ABA and Verbal Behavior was very appealing to me. I am very excited to be a member of the Trellis team.

Q. What’s your vision for your role as Education Director?

Trellis is a well-established program. I want to contribute to the program to build on what is already in place. I see myself promoting professional growth within Trellis and providing families support to further the generalization of skills from school to home and community.

Q. What are 5 things you want parents to know about Trellis?

  1. The students are always engaged! The Trellis team is amazing at creating instructional opportunities throughout the school day.
  2. The Trellis team sets high realistic expectations for their students.
  3.  The Trellis team is passionate about their work with the students.
  4.  The Trellis team is dedicated to professional growth. We have multiple staff enrolling in programs to gain their BCBA certification.
  5.  The instructors, teachers, related services, administration, and families all work together to achieve a common goal…student success!

Welcome Back To School Trellis

 

-Submitted By Allison Barnes, Trellis Lead Instructor

The new school year is underway and the Trellis staff is so excited to see our leaner’s smiling faces once again. Jumping back into a routine after vacation is hard for any child, and can be especially difficult for a child with autism. Adjusting back to school after a summer break can feel frustrating and overwhelming for anyone. Fortunately, our learners have remained motivated to learn and are happy to be back.

Exciting changes have happened inside Trellis, making it more fun than ever to be back at school. Our NET space has been revamped with newer and more functional toys, allowing our learners to increase manding and pretend-play more appropriately and functionally.

“I love the new NET space. My learners need to use more communication to get what they want and it’s exciting to see them more motivated by functional play.” -Allison Killion, Early Intervention Instructor.

Additions to the NET include a play grill set, pretend laundry station, a brand new Dora The Explorer kitchen, improved train sets, and many more new toys. New items keep our learners MO high and promote functional play with peers. The staff is just as excited as the learners for these new additions and the opportunities they bring to teach new skills.

Inside the classroom, learners are adjusting enthusiastically to new curriculum and working hard with their teachers and instructors.

“We’re integrating the Baltimore County curriculum to incorporate ELA components of the Common Core. It’s exciting that I’ll be teaching the same concepts and using some of the same materials that a typical peer uses in public school,” explains preschool teacher Jessica Volz.

Guided by the Baltimore County curriculum, our learners get the opportunity to learn and interact with peers in groups of 3-4, in addition to our usual 1:1 instructor-to-child ratio.

Setting up the stage for success in social engagement is Julia Miller-Iarossi. Julia worked in the Love 2 Learn program from 2010-2014, and has recently rejoined the Trellis team as Social Skills Specialist this school year. We are so excited to have her back!

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the new students and getting to know them. I am excited to make our learners motivated by peer interaction, and to make social interaction as meaningful as possible so that they are still motivated in their homes and communities.”

Social groups at Trellis incorporate sensory strategies, gross motor movement, and academic skills to motivate each learner and fit their individual needs. Interactive peer play is essential to our students’ progress and independence, both in school and in the community. Our learners have happily jumped back into their social groups, focusing on skills such as greetings, sharing with friends, asking questions, high-fives, and other appropriate attention skills.

We’re off to a great start of the new school year. Our learners have had a successful transition back and we can’t wait to see the progress to follow. We hope everyone had a fantastic break, and that everyone is just excited for the fall as we are!