During the global Covid-19 pandemic, special education students and educators have been hit especially hard. I have been in contact with a couple of special education programs who have told me they are often understaffed and in need of more resources. Furthermore, some special education students may find online learning difficult, and they are being left behind academically. In the past couple of years, I have enjoyed teaching students, especially in math. This year, I wanted to teach special education students because my first grade teacher, who first inspired me in math, has a daughter with special needs. As I had only previously taught “mainstream” students, I thought branching out would be a good idea. Starting in July and continuing for six weeks, I will help teach preschoolers (four years old) some necessary pre-kindergarten math skills including counting, shapes, and addition at Helping Hands Nursery in Saratoga, NY.
So far, I have attended a couple of meetings with the Helping Hands administration. We discussed a curriculum for preschoolers, which mostly involves integrating mini-math lessons with snack time, play time, etc. I have purchased learning supplies, including math manipulatives and other stimulating math toys. During my meetings, I was also told that the school always needs more iPads, which help the students learn on apps and better communicate, so I also purchased three iPads.
I am thankful for the generosity of the CSGC in funding this project! An update on my work will come soon.
-Forrest Gao ’23