Niagara Falls preschool creates integrated classrooms for kids of all abilities

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 11:31:44-04

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — They're hard skills to teach, but students are learning empathy and acceptance at Empower Children's Academy.

Three- and four-year-olds at this preschool learn in integrated classrooms, meaning kids with special needs learn alongside their typically-developing peers. Teachers and their aides create personalized learning plans for the entire class, creating a strong message of inclusion.

"We work on social and emotional skills, literacy, early math skills and it helps all of them be ready for kindergarten," says Shaila Kokil, a special education at Empower for more than a decade.

Parents of special needs children often worry about the lack of personalized attention from a teacher or instructor, but the class size and ratio of students to teachers ensures everyone has the care they need. For every classroom with a maximum of 12 students, six with special needs and six neurotypical, there is always one teacher and three aides.

In addition to an average preschool curriculum, Empower Children's Academy also includes fine motor skill development, breathing techniques, a sensory room and self-calming methods.

Enrollment is open for the summer and fall sessions. The school is open to any child, regardless of where they live. It's located at 9812 Lockport Road in Niagara Falls. You can click here for more information or call (716) 297-0798.