Teaching life skills requires skills to transfer from the school setting to the real world. Our student-run school store allows for these connections to be made all year long. Starting in August, students brainstorm ways that we can make money for community trips and life skills lessons throughout the year.
My number one goal for the students in my classroom is to give them authentic practice that sets them up with the skills they need to have options in their lives and to have an independent future.
For one student who is visually impaired and does not read or write, this store provides time to practice counting money, interact with customers, and organize merchandise. Another group of students working on social skills and appropriate interactions with adults are able to recruit customers around the school and let them know the store is open. Students with more advanced money skills work on giving correct change to customers and use calculator skills that allow them to run the store with minimal adult support.
While the actual store only happens once a week, the students are invested in the process throughout the year to ensure our Fridays are successful. Preparation includes selecting merchandise, setting prices, and advertising for the store.
Read the full interview with Wendi Sussman on preparing special education students to be independent by Ann Schimke at Chalkbeat
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