Our special needs students are children first with all of the needs, desires, and feelings of children without disabilities. They are more like other children than different. Their disabilities are inconveniences that keep them from enjoying full lives, and therefore must be overcome or compensated for so that the children can grow and move out into the world.
At New Horizons Academy kids come first. We exist for our students; our students do not exist for the school. Students don’t have to fit into the classes; the class and program is made to meet the individual student’s needs.
Classes are cross-categorical and grouped (with occasional exceptions) by chronological age. Each student has something to offer his classmates. Students are taught patience, tolerance, and compassion. Each student learns that he does some things better than other classmates do and some things not as well. They learn that a person’s value is not related to what he can or can’t do but is inherent in his very existence as a child of God.
Parents know their children the best and can provide us with the most important information about our students. We listen to their pain and joy; support their efforts and treat them with respect, concern, compassion and gentleness.
We at New Horizons Academy believe in the value of group specialized instruction for nearly all young children with special needs. It is during the early childhood years that personality development occurs. The self-concept that children develop will affect their learning and interactions for the rest of their lives. A young child with special needs in a regular classroom often finds himself as the only “problem” in the class; always needing extra help; always the different one. At New Horizons Academy, this child has classmates who do some things better then he does and classmates who do some things not as well. The child is not different or special; he is just one of the kids – free to develop an “I can” attitude.
Mainstreaming assumes the children will learn from normal exposure to a stimulating environment. We believe that our students would not be behind if they could learn from normal exposure. In a New Horizons Academy classroom, children receive special, carefully structured teaching in order to learn what they could not learn from exposure to their normal environment. At New Horizons Academy, students can attend a consistent, sequential, highly effective educational program without interruption, change of philosophy, or change of classroom model from early childhood through high school.