Welcome to the Special Education Department of Manhattan Day School, a department which is an integral part of the school’s long tradition of providing excellence in Torah and secular studies. Our Special Education program offers an academic curriculum for students of average to superior intelligence who demonstrate a learning/language disability; these students benefit from a unique multi-sensory approach to learning. MDS is committed to the philosophy of addressing the individual learning styles and multiple intelligences of all its students. “ חנוך לנער על פי דרכו ”, educate each child in his/her way.
The program is comprised of leveled self-contained classes for students in grades 1-6. In Junior High School, grades 7-8, every attempt is made to provide “push-in” support for our students as they are integrated into the mainstream classes. Class size ranges from 6-11 students with one head teacher and one assistant teacher. The staff includes special educators and school psychologists. In addition, a student with a Department of Education Individual Education Program (IEP), who is mandated for services, is eligible to receive the services during the school day at MDS. These services include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling provided by certified therapists employed by MDS in the Special Education Department.
With a high teacher to student ratio, the Special Education Department provides highly individualized instruction to meet each student’s unique needs. Our teaching philosophy emphasizes direct instruction of basic skills as building blocks in reading, writing, reading comprehension, mathematics, social studies, science, computers, and organizational skills. In addition, there is an emphasis on building Judaic Studies skills, including Hebrew reading and writing, Hebrew Language, Chumash, laws and customs, Dinim, Mishna and Gemara. The curriculum introduces content material, while stressing the development of skills. The strategy is further enhanced with the use of a multi-sensory approach, whereby different modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) are introduced into the learning process to reinforce and strengthen the students’ learning potential. The students learn skills, build upon them and learn various strategies to implement them. As a result, the students learn to function independently and transfer the skills to all content areas.