With all of the things we are required to teach as special educators- some times it is hard to fit in some real world functional skills. But these life skills are SO IMPORTANT for the development and future of many of our students.
The best way to start life skills centers? JUST DO IT. Find a brick of time where you can squeeze it in, whether it be every day, two days a week, or just Friday, it is so important to just start right now!
What if you don’t have the materials? I like to ask parents for donations for this one. If that is not possible, then I put a wish list in the teacher’s room to ask for people to bring things in they may just have at home. (and a field trip to good will is always another good idea!). But you’ll be surprised at how many people will want to help for no charge at all!
I love incorporating things like life skills into other subjects. Using adapted books for the monthly skill is a great way to introduce the skill, but also work on comprehension, sequencing, reading, and more!
Sending home a note to let parents know what skill you are working on each month is a great way to support generalization. This way, the family can practice the skill at home too. When families work with school- the results can be truly life changing!
I like to set up one skill a month, then pick and choose randomly from previous months to set up 3 or 4 centers for students to rotate to. I put the most support at the new skill and the least support at the most independently successful skill. Staff LOVES to work with kids on these fun skills!
Visual supports are a HUGE part of making this center based learning time successful. Without them, your students will need more support and a longer period of time to become independent in a skill. Placing the visual schedule for each skill on a paint stick (get them for free at your local hardware store) is a great way to make the schedules mobile during center time!
GIVE ME THE DATA
The more data the better right? If you have older students, you may base some IEP goals around these skills. If that is the case, you will want to keep some data on them. It’s easiest to just use one sheet and one clipboard for each skill, and assign one support staff to observe to take data during centers.
DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE
Celebrate all small victories. These skills can be hard for some students- remember to celebrate every little bit of independence. I love to send home celebration awards or stickers at the end of the month we introduce the skill. This is so fun and rewarding for the kids!
I hope this gives you some ideas of how to start your own life skills centers!
WANT TO TRY THIS ONE FOR FREE?
+ You can grab the center supports seen in this blog post here –>
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