It’s so good to have QC Learning back and in person.
As many of you know, Quality Connections has helped individuals with disabilities become independent, productive members of our community by providing them with employment opportunities, job training, and practical life learning programs.
This includes QC Learning, a weekday adult day program that uses the Montessori approach to guide lessons on life, communication, and social skills. It was a piece of our puzzle that was missing, until recently, because of coronavirus.
In our limited space, how could we safely provide this service for all our adult learners?
Last month, however, we were able to start again in a temporary location that not only allows our clients and staff to adhere to social distancing norms, but also seems uniquely suited to the Montessori approach.
We began classes at the Frontiere property, a rustic event venue about 10 miles southwest of Flagstaff with amazing views of Rogers Lake and the San Francisco Peaks. The area is filled with a variety of wildlife and it’s common to see elk, mule deer, prairie dogs and even bald eagles there.
This special setting only enhances the Montessori experience for our adult students. One of the pillars of this educational method is the sensorial approach to learning about the world around you. Students are encouraged to learn to notice details like color, shape, texture, smell, sound, weight, and temperature.
“Instead of hearing about what a tree is, they’ll be able to see and touch a tree,” said Vicki Barber, the QC Learning Director. “Instead of seeing pictures of birds, they’ll be able to watch real birds with binoculars. Marie Montessori believed that the outdoors should be your classroom.”
In the Montessori method, students chose an activity from within a prescribed range of areas like language, math, time skills and practical life skills. There is a book of lessons with pictures and the students pick what they want to pursue on any given day.
“It allows us to tailor each student’s instruction,” said Barber. “We find out where they are, and we follow the learner. It’s as much about guiding them as teaching them.”
You can tell from our photos how exciting and engaging our adult learners are finding this new setting; it’s like a field trip every day.
Quality Connections plans to rent the Frontiere property through November for our QC Learning classes. After almost six months of being closed due to COVID-19, it is extremely rewarding to be back with a solution that is safe for our students and puts them once again on the road to discovery and increased independence.