Cooke Center, a learning and development center for children with special needs, now offers an outdoor-based social skills group for children in Manhattan.
From left: Kadin Wong, Kiana Dwarka, school psychologist John Aspromonte, and Joshua Santiago build bird houses, which helps children with special needs learn about providing shelter for animals and build basic conversational skills.
Cooke Center, a learning and development center for children with special needs, recently added a new social group, Young Explorers Club, to its programs. The after-school club for ages 7-13 teaches children with social deficits a wide range of social skills. The faculty consists of certified and licensed special education leaders, and a support team. With a class size of eight children, students in the Young Explorers Club will receive individualized attention. Parents receive a report card after each session to track their child’s success.
The club gives children an experience similar to scouting because many of the activities take place in the wilderness, and through sports and competition. The club leader uses collaborative and community based projects to target a specific set of social skills during these activities. Some of these projects include sports, woodworking, music, and cooking.
Each project, whether it’s making a pizza or building a birdhouse, is designed appropriately for the child’s developmental level. Each project and activity includes a description, list of social skills taught, and rationale. Parents will receive a handout with these descriptions so they can practice the learned skills at home. The sessions meet once a week for two hours—giving children in the club time to learn valuable social skills and form meaningful friendships.
The Young Explorers Club is held at the Cooke Center Grammar School.