A Classroom Without Walls: A New Method for Teaching Life Skills

Abstract

This issue of NASET’s Practical Teacher was written by Alison Mabery. In her article, she discussed that special education continues to explore new and innovating methods to educate children with special needs. She partnered with Reigning Grace Ranch in Palo Verde, Arizona to create a classroom without walls to enhance life skill development through exploratory education. The project participants were students with mild to severe disabilities who participated in a nine week program consisting of a 90 minute weekly lesson at Reigning Grace Ranch working with miniature horses. Students learned leadership, communication, and other life-skills necessary to be productive and independent citizens through activities like grooming and leading miniature horses through obstacle courses. The high school students made significant behavioral, emotional, and social growth during this exploratory program such as: increased social skills, fewer meltdowns, greater independence at school, increased communication skills, heightened teamwork abilities, increased initiation of task completion, and improved confidence and self-esteem levels.

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