You have questions, we have answers!
What’s up with the multi-age groups? Will this class be at the right “level” for my child?
Yes. There are proven benefits to multi-age/multi-ability groups, and we believe that this is the best environment to learn social skills. Similar to what one might see in a Montessori classroom, students in SSTS class benefit from our program in different ways based on their age/developmental level and current needs. Some children benefit from interacting with and observing their peers and near-peer models, others get the opportunity to develop their leadership and self-confidence in a safe environment, where this may not have been possible for them in other more general settings. Acting out multiple roles (such as both teacher and student) gives children and teens the opportunity consolidate and generalize their knowledge, as well as put it into practice in real life settings.
Ok, but my child needs help with social skills too. Will the instructions be at my child’s level?
At SSTS we strive to meet each child where they are and encourage them to grow. Our methodology focuses on identifying the “zone of proximal development” for each child and then teaching to that area. What that means is that we work to try and figure out what social/emotional milestones your child is almost ready to achieve and then help them stretch toward that next social/emotional or developmental task. This stretching might be accomplished through one-on-one conversation, asking them to teach something to a peer, or assigning them a part in our musical production that we know might be a stretch but (with support) we know it will help them grow. And, of course, we provide social/emotional scaffolding, support and instruction along the way.
What diagnoses are these classes designed to support?
Our classes and camps are intentionally integrated, which means that all kids, teens and young adults are encouraged to participate, whether they have special needs or not. However, our classes have proven to be especially beneficial for children and teens with special needs or social/emotional challenges. The following is a list of conditions that are known to be positively impacted by this type of program. We have seen these benefits with our own eyes and our observations are backed up by current research:
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Non-verbal Learning Disabilities
- Expressive/Receptive language delay
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Developmental Delay
- Social Anxiety
- Behavior Challenges
- Depression and mood instability
- Trauma and grief
Of course, each child and condition is unique, so the best way to determine if this program could benefit your child is come by a class and check it out!
What kinds of activities will you do at this class?
The specific activities will depend on the type of class you sign up for. We strive to make all of our activities fun and engaging, as well as easily differentiated to support skill development across multiple levels simultaneously. In our production classes, social skills and social/emotional supports are imbedded in the production process, allowing students to consolidate and generalize concrete skill-based knowledge that they have gained in other settings, like our Flexible Thinking Academy or school-based social/emotional learning. In our Flexible Thinking Academy, we will be teaching skills in a more concrete manner, using games, cooperative activities and crafts. In our Young Adult Improv classes will we be discussing issues that matter to older teens and young adults in a conversational format as well as supporting social communication, stress reduction, emotional resilience and self-esteem through improvisation.
My Child is very mature for their age, can they attend the Friday Night Improv Classes?
Unfortunately, due to the more mature nature of discussion topics, such as interpersonal communication, handling conflicts, college skills and possibly even romance (!), teens under the age of 16 cannot attend pizza and improv.