Recently, I had the privilege of visiting an Amish special school. The special school was located on the property of a typical one-room schoolhouse, but it was dedicated to children who need extra help with reading and math.
I was stunned by how modern and beautiful the trailer that housed the Amish school was. The inside of the trailer was bright and sunny with a dry erase board at the front of the classroom and a typical alphabet border sign above it. It reminded me of the classrooms my sons have attended in public school. There were bright-colored farm animals display each of the six children’s names along with their parents’ names nearby. The only details that reminded me I wasn’t in a public school was a stove near the front of the room to warm the trailer in the winter and also the absence of light switches and light fixtures.
The day’s schedule was written on the board, and the two teachers were attentive to the six children. First the teachers helped the children complete math problems in their books. Next a group of children stood at the front of the room and took turns reading aloud from a book detailing the story of a girl named Rachel who went against her parents’ wishes and ran out into the rain.
Aside from the typical reading and math work, the teaching methods were also cutting edge. The students used a method called vision therapy. They took turns going to the corner where they read instructions aloud and moved their arms and legs to the left and right. My Amish friend explained that this helps them with their learning disabilities. A sandbox at the back of the classroom served as another medium for the teacher to help students write and understand numbers and letters.
Shortly before lunchtime, the teacher rang a bell and the students rushed to the front of the room, retrieved notebooks, and sang songs for us. The songs were sweet stories of nature and God’s love.
At lunchtime, the students fetched their plastic coolers and joined the students from the larger schoolhouse out in the playground. All of the children sat on their coolers in a large circle while they ate together.
My visit to the special school illustrated that the Amish use innovative ways to teach their children, just as we Englishers do.
Amy Clipston’s fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series which has now been combined into the newly released The Kauffmann Amish Bakery Collection, and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats..
Purchase Amy’s books here.
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