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
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.
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 and coworkers live in extended family house communities, like the students at Beaver Run and other Camphill communities. The rhythms of daily life, from morning graces, music, arts, and skills of daily living make our house communities real homes which allow young adults to reach their full potential as they begin their journey to adulthood.
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 sporting events
- Visiting museums and gardens
- Swimming at the YMCA
- Basketball, bowling, and other sports
- Music and visual arts
In addition to these smaller-group activities, the entire community meets weekly to discuss and plan for upcoming festivals, lending a true community spirit to our seasonal calendar. From a dance party on Halloween to a candlelight Advent garden, to Easter brunch, and a Fourth of July parade through the township, the festival life of our community is carried by every student and coworker.
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. These skills are crucial for our students as they transition to adult life, providing a tangible experience of maturity and independence.
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!
Throughout the year, all students have opportunities to work in different morning and afternoon vocational placements.
We offer vocational crews in:
- Biodynamic/organic farming and gardening
- Land maintenance
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. Each of our vocational crews relies and strengthens students’ functional academic skills—including counting, measuring, following procedures, planning, and more. Such skills are also integrated seamlessly into home life, whether one must learn to set the table, pay attention to time, recall and follow a schedule for the day, and so on. In addition to our vocational crews, a group of students meet every afternoon for an academic class. This extends their Waldorf-based academic learning into their young adult lives, giving them the opportunity to further refine skills they learned in K-12 programs.
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).