Community-based instruction is a vital part of student education at The Day School at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. Combined with other transition services, community-based instruction provides real-world learning experiences that help students meet their goals after graduation in the areas of employment, post-secondary education and training, and independent living.
A growing number of local businesses in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area actively support The Day School’s community-based instruction initiatives. Maggie Prokopik, a 2020 Day School graduate, learned three different jobs through partnerships that link The Children’s Institute with Squirrel Hill area organizations.
“The teachers and therapists really pushed Maggie to reach her potential by providing unique and engaging ways for her to learn,” explains her mother, Leslie Prokopik. “When she achieved one objective, everyone celebrated, and then they set another goal for her to achieve. Those high expectations always brought out the best in Maggie.”
As a student, Maggie worked under the supervision of a Day School community-based instruction coach at the Duquesne Food Bank, Jewish Community Center, and Global Links, a medical relief and development organization. Through these experiences, Maggie developed work skills such as packaging, sorting, and serving meals. She also learned social skills by communicating with residents and other workers. The repetition and practice provided by The Day School’s supervised volunteer opportunities and leisure activities helped Maggie learn to master tasks and advocate for herself in both work and social situations.
Maggie graduated from The Day School amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. Now age 23, the ultimate goal is for her to excel at a day program that utilizes and expands the skills she developed at The Day School through volunteer opportunities and community involvement. Maggie is currently attending CLASS, where she has the opportunity to see many of her former classmates who she affectionately refers to as “The Day School Gang,” and also volunteers as a barista at Knead Community Café in New Kensington, Pa.
“Maggie made enormous strides at The Day School,” reflects Leslie. “ It was so important that she experience a wide variety of real-life situations during her transition years. The Children’s Institute equipped her to participate in activities that enrich her life and impact her community. Everyone who knows Maggie is confident about her future.”
For more information about The Day School’s programs and educational offerings, please visit amazingkids.org/educational-services.