The caring and professional learning environment in The Matheny School preschool program enables children to grow towards independence while always supporting and including families. The school serves students with multiple disabilities and provides them with an opportunity to achieve their highest potential.
The preschool program integrates nursing and intensive individualized physical, occupational and speech therapies into the classroom. The goal is to enhance the emerging skills of each child while fostering a fun, exciting learning and social environment. The program is somewhat unique in that it’s a school setting within a hospital and has a registered nurse assigned as an essential part of the preschool class. “We decided,” says Sean Murphy, principal, “that parents and families need that extra peace of mind when sending their preschooler into school. This is often the parents’ first time away their children.”
The nurse, Joseph Larena, RN, says that being an in-class nurse who continuously interacts with the children and participates in daily classwork, “provides me with the unique opportunity to truly know each child. This allows me to instantly identify and respond to issues that may arise and prevent certain complications from occurring.” Emphasis in the classroom, according to Dawn Williams, Matheny’s preschool teacher, is placed on learning basic skills such as playing and exploring. “Students need a lot of stimulation,” she explains. “They’re reacting to sensory movements and noises.”
Before coming to Matheny, in August 2011, Larena had worked in home care. There, he says, “there was no contact between the home and school. The culture at Matheny, he says, “is unlike anything I have experienced at other schools. The staff is truly passionate about making a difference in the children’s lives.” Matheny’s preschool is available as a full school day or in variations based on the specific student’s individual education plan (IEP). For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext 237.