First Year Pilot Program of Wonderwood College Bridge is a Ringing Success!
Students of the Wonderwood College Bridge program in 2017-2018 realized tremendous growth as the first cohort in the nation to study under a curriculum that supports students with Down syndrome in pursuing on-campus college classes, academic advancement at their own level off campus, and a full spectrum of support for independent living with typical students.
The three pilot program participants, Sara, Emily, and Jena, report that the key to their love for the program is the dozens of typical students who have become mentors and friends. On campus at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, students attended classes as guests of their typical friends in courses including Geology 101, Food Science and Nutrition 100, and American Sign Language. In addition, they studied many hours a week for a BYU Independent Studies course in children’s literature. Specialized teaching techniques developed by the Wonderwood Foundation especially for young adults with Down syndrome helped strengthen the students’ skills in reading comprehension, writing, and computer tech, and again it was partnerships with typical students that motivated and added fun.
In addition to reading over 5000 pages of literature and mastering nine new math standards, College Bridge students worked in their own condo to acquire new skills in cooking, personal health management, roommate relationships, and problem solving. Speech therapy, exercise, outdoor excursions, religious institute classes, and hours of fun participating in community activities rounded out their schedule.
For the students in the College Bridge program, it was a year of phenomenal progress. For all students with Down syndrome who aspire to higher education, it was a year that broke precedents and opened doors for nationwide change.
“I’ve always wanted to be a college student!” exclaims Sara. “I can’t believe I’m really here! I love it all!”
Saturday Science: Great Adventures in Astronomy, Wildlife, Anatomy, and More
What’s your student’s favorite way to spend a Saturday? Would it include jumping on trampolines, touching and drawing the skin of an elephant or the talons of an owl, visiting a planetarium, starting fires, diving into a foam pit, launching rockets, and learning to use binoculars? Saturday Science is all of that and more! Every first and third Saturday, young adults with Down syndrome and a score of typical peers meet in Provo, Utah at the amazing House of Trix to learn and exercise.
Most students with Down syndrome already have a love for exploration. Saturday Science adds play and work, field trips and guest presenters, physical activities, and unique curriculum that encourages science literacy.
Generous local donors have partnered with the Wonderwood Academy to offer the first session of Saturday Science, May through October 2018, and have funded 50% of the tuition for all young adults with Down syndrome. Peer volunteers participate for free!
Science and Community Themes
Students thoroughly enjoyed the Science and Community theme of the Fall 2016 semester, “Music in My Life.” As the theme unified reading materials, speech practice, math problems and field trips, the students learned to read and conduct music, explore categories of music and exceptional musicians, and use technology to modify and create music. They even constructed their own xylophones and learned to play them. In December, they presented a genuinely joyful xylophone rendition of “Joy to the World” as special guest musicians in the Christmas in the Islands concert by Orchestra Adventures and the Encore Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Click here for more info about our friends at the Encore Youth Orchestra.
Winter 2017 Science and Community Theme: Space and Rocketry. The students are fascinated by the topics of star formation, constellations, light, the Hubble Telescope, and the Laws of Motion! The highlight of the March activities was learning about convex and concave lenses as the students assembled their own telescopes and observed the planet Mars. Families and all guests are invited to join us on March 15th for the launch of the rockets the students are building! Please call for time and location.