A purpose to everything
Like many schools for children with special needs, Camphill Special School offers prevocational crews for students. Young people prepare for their lives beyond school through these activities. It allows them to find and hone their strengths and interests in a “workplace.” Here, though, it is a bit different. Yes, our students are developing skills that will serve them through school and as adults. But, they’re also contributing and deepening their connection to their school community.
We offer eight prevocational crews as varied as the students who participate in them. Students crews are woodshop, weavery/pottery, store, life skills, food processing, land, garden, and barn. In ninth and tenth grade students rotate through most every crew. This is so they and their teachers can determine where their strengths, talents, and interests lie.
No matter the crew, students learn essential skills that will allow them to thrive in their adult lives. Students learn to be on time. They work with others and take instruction. Completing tasks from beginning to end, taking turns, and caring for their workspace and tools are also learned skills. Most importantly, they learn that there is a purpose to everything they do. Each prevocational crew is embedded in the life of the community. Watering the horses, delivering milk to houses, crafting a woven mat to be sold or placed in our auction, or removing sticks from a field so it can be mowed, what they are doing is not only for themselves, but for everyone.
Important and meaningful work
Cassidy, a senior, thrives in our store crew. The store is where all the food and grocery items for the community are kept. The crew fulfills weekly orders from all the houses. Cassidy is in charge of unpacking canned goods and stacking them on the shelves. She knows exactly what she is responsible for and needs little supervision. As she moves the cans from the back room to the shelves you can see and feel the pride – she understands that what she is doing is important and meaningful.
After a school term in a crew students feel more connected to and responsible for the school community in which they live. They connect to the meaningfulness of the activities they are performing. Upperclassmen help their younger peers by teaching tasks. They give encouragement and guide them so that they all succeed. In doing so, everyone meets their potential and further becomes part of the community as a whole.
By Sarah Schreck, Houseparent