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Site Observation

Lake Superior Early Childhood

1101 Binsfield Road
Ashland, WI 54806

The early childhood is located at the public elementary

school. Mrs. Miller has a degree in early childhood, disability, and
kindergarten. She taught as a kindergarten teacher in Ashland for
12 years before pursuing the early childhood position at the
school. She also taught kindergarten in Florida when she had
moved there for a time. She does an options program and
receives referrals to do testing for disabilities in children birth to
5. She goes out into the community doing home visits, works at
the Family Forum Center #7, and at the elementary school. Her
position is the only one in the district. She goes into the
neighboring communities like Bad River and Marengo. At the
elementary school she works with her teaching assistant,
Rosemary. She has a degree in early childhood education as well.
At the elementary school the program requires you to have
an IEP for admissions into the program. Currently they have four
children, ages 3-5, and all of them are autistic. The children come
on the bus at 8:10 a.m. and leave at 11a.m. Mrs. Millers overall
philosophy is to encourage the use of language and guide them to
maintain a routine while learning the essentials to move into
kindergarten next year or the following years depending on their
age. Three of the children will move into kindergarten next year,
after Christmas break they also can have the option to move to
the Family Forum Center to get experience with peers. In the past
they have had up to 8 children in their program. During the
childrens time at school they work with the speech therapist,
physical therapist, and occupational therapist.
The classroom is relatively a small space, but they use the
space to provide optimal usage of what room they do have.

Outside of their room they have a coat room set up in a closet.

Everybodys locker/cubby has pictures, and are labeled with their
names. The environment has all the qualities of being effective for
the children. They have a table, carpet area, quiet area, dramatic
play area, a sand table, and blocks & truck area. Everything has
visual labeling along with the name printed. With the children
being autistic it makes things slightly different then in the Family
Forum Center. Two of the children are not very vocal for
requesting objects, and wants. So they have pictures for
everything. They have their own picture schedule, first then
cards, a sand timer, and visual aids for everything. Its their way
of communicating. They have the other boys use their words and
guide them in saying the correct statements. The whole program
is guidance based. Their communication, the room, the objects in
the room. They dont go outside to play on the playground.
As we were standing in the entry way waiting Mrs. Miller
asked me to take my hands and pretend to use them as
binoculars. She said, This is an autistic childs world. When the
two children came in off the bus it took a few minutes to get them
to go through the doors. They then walked to the closet while
holding the teachers hands. They then used pictures to provide
the boys with the steps to do daily routines. Mrs. Miller let Mrs.
Rosemary and Mrs. Diane take the boys, she said, It is best if the
only hear one voice giving them instructions. When they finished
in the closet, one boy went to swing before coming into the room.
The other boy went right into the room. Both boys opened the
door and walked into the sand table. Got their names and put
them on their visual calendars behind the door. There they picked
the first picture of table time put it up by their name and went to
the table. There Mrs. Diane and Mrs. Rosemary each continued to
sit right by the boys and directly take care of giving them their
picture books with options of the drawing toy, moon sand, blocks,
or magnetic shapes. Each time the boys traded in their picture for
a different object. When the third boy came he got his name put it
on his Velcro by the boys visual calendars. He then went to the
table and they encouraged him to sit the proper way and he

began to play. They have a card that says its my turn on it. The
hold the card when they want to switch or when the teacher is
talking to them. They use the visuals like second nature. She used
the first then cards, and the sand timer to alert the children it was
going to be carpet time. Transitions are very hard for the autistic
children. They showed the visual, sang the transition song, and
each teacher helped the children to get to the carpet. The two
boys who have no vocal communication sat at desks, and the
vocal child has a spot on the carpet. They have all visuals on the
wall as they conduct their carpet time. They pass a frog to tell
everyone good morning, and then sing their welcome song. They
completed the calendar, chore chart, weather report, sang 5 Little
Ducks book/song. The teachers help to keep their attention to the
task at hand. If the two non-vocal children look at the
presentation of an object or person they are very happy that they
have their attention. After carpet time they go to the sand table.
Here they encourage vocalization while sharing the toys and
playing. Again the teachers are right next to the three boys so
they can redirect mistaken behaviors. They have a small group
time on the floor with parachute throwing a Santa puppet in the
air. They sang songs, and said saying in slow, fast, silly, low, high
voices to encourage vocalization, and following directions. During
the sand table time Mrs. Diane took one of the boys for their
speech therapy. It required the TAs assistance so another teacher
came in to help out. It seems very busy, but Mrs. Miller said it is
usually more laid back, just on the days of therapy there are more
teachers in and out. After the group time children were
transitioned into free choice. One of the non-vocal children was
playing with the cars and the teacher was sitting with him and
would take cars too so if he wanted one he needed to
communicate with his visuals that he wanted a turn.
Even with all the visuals the teachers communicate
everything to encourage them to be vocal. The teachers all use
such good guidance practices. I think that it would definitely be
easier to transition yourself to use good guidance in that room
where it is used perfectly and all the time. They just do guidance,

its their way of doing things. They communicate great guidance,

they act on good guidance, and they practice it in all they do. Id
say that it was a great experience. They get to be more hands on
only having four children in their room. The needs of each child is
so much greater than at the Family Forum. At the Family Forum
they have TAs for helping a specific child for their time there. I
can see how fast things can escalate when a child is frustrated.
They need the hands on approach to protect themselves, and
others. The teachers did a great job. They were encouraging and
offered for me to do my practicum there if I ever want to. Im not
sure Id be able to get the hours I needed, but Id love the chance
to work with them. I think that I could learn a lot from them. I
really enjoyed my time at the site observation.

Teahers Desk &



Blocks and
Toy Trucks

Comfy Quiet Area

with Books

Cubby for

Carpet Area
Sink &

Activity Table