Designed specifically for students with developmental disabilities ages eighteen to twenty-one who have completed Camphill Special School’s twelfth grade, the Transition Program is a vocational program that completes the adapted Waldorf school program offered at our Beaver Run campus.
The program is situated ten miles away from our main campus, amidst the beautiful rural countryside of northern Chester County, on a biodynamic/organic farm bordering French Creek.
The Transition Program offers
- Vocational experiences
- Opportunities to learn life skills in a life sharing community setting
- Continued academic support and therapies
- An outreach program
The Transition Program guides students, through community work and living, from school into adult life. Our vision is to provide a safe place and an encouraging environment for students to explore this transition.
Students, staff, volunteers, and interns operate a biodynamic farm
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming based on anthroposophical principles developed by Rudolf Steiner. Long before more recent interest in organic farming and healthier food, in the 1920’s Steiner believed that the burgeoning use of chemical (or artificial) fertilizers and pesticides was harmful to soil, plants, animals, and consequently, to food.
Biodynamics is a holistic system that works to bring about healing and balance to soil, with the goal of producing healthier plants and animals. No artificial or chemical pesticides or herbicides are used.
Currently, Beaver Farm produces all the beef, pork, chicken, and eggs needed by Camphill Special School!
Academic Support and Therapies
Continued academic support is an integral part of the Transition Program. Our goal is to help our students reach their maximum potential so that they may acquire more independence and maturity as they strive for a meaningful adult life.
Our academic program includes:
- Language arts
- Functional math
- Current events
- Social group work
- Content area electives
Students who need the continued support of occupational, physical, and speech therapies also receive them over the course of the week. Speech therapy is conducted individually or in small groups, and the occupational and physical therapists work with our students in their vocational work placements as prescribed in each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Life at Beaver Farm
Students in the Transition Program enjoy the kind of extended family life that makes every Camphill community unique. House parents, volunteers, interns, and students are interdependent, building an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect that nurtures the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth of every member of the Transition Program community.
Students enjoy many different social and recreational activities:
- ‘Hanging out’ with friends at Beaver Run, Soltane, and Kimberton Hills
- Attending festivals, plays, movies, concerts, and sports events
- Visiting museums and gardens
- Swimming at the YMCA
- Basketball, bowling, and other sports
Home Life Skills
Students experience many opportunities for acquiring home life skills. Everyone has daily tasks that they are responsible for doing, such as cooking, baking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, table setting, recycling/composting, and dishwashing.
Throughout the year, all students have opportunities to work in different morning and afternoon vocational placements. Some groups meet at Camphill Special School, while others participate in the local community.
We offer vocational crews in:
- Biodynamic/organic farming and gardening
- Animal husbandry
- Land maintenance
- Building maintenance
- Crafts, such as pottery, candle making, or textile arts
Achieving Adult Placement
To expose students in the Transition Program to different kinds of appropriate adult living arrangements, twice a year students visit and work in a number of communities in North America, both Camphill and Camphill-related. They go in small groups, helping out wherever they are needed, meeting new friends and making successful connections.
Students have traveled to Heartbeet in Vermont,Cadmus in Massachusetts, Four Winds Farm in New Hampshire, and Camphill Minnesota, to name only a few.
Since the Transition Program was piloted in 2002, 95% of its participants have achieved appropriate adult placements.