At Rise, about 70% of children have disabilities and the other 30% are traditional learners, or children without disabilities. The inclusion of children of differing abilities at Rise is known as an “integrated environment,” and it is absolutely core to the school's mission. The short and long-term benefits of an integrated environment are equally great for children with and without disabilities.
Rise is the only private preschool in Houston committed to a fully integrated classroom experience for all its students. The school supports children with a range of disabilities, including those due to genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and cerebral palsy, brain injuries suffered in utero or at birth, and other conditions which have yet to be diagnosed.
Immediate benefits for all students Rise School graduates leave the school reading and writing at a pre-kindergarten level, with an introduction to basic math and science, using iPads and other technology, with strong social and classroom skills. All of them are ready to be a full member of a mainstream public school classroom. Children with disabilities and those without do not see a distinction between themselves - they are simply friends who play and learn together.
For children with disabilities For children with disabilities, the integrated classroom allows them to observe and “model” after peers, working to develop the same age appropriate skills and behaviors their typically-developing peers exhibit. “Modeling” is a fundamental learning strategy used by all humans to acquire new abilities. Rise believes that if children with disabilities do not have the opportunity to be with typically-developing peers in the classroom, we set expectations too low for their development and deny them the opportunity to learn at a pace with their peers.
For children without disabilities Traditional learners acquire just as much benefit from the integrated environment offered at Rise. Most of our traditional learners are siblings of children with disabilities, family members of Rise teachers, and families seeking a NAEYC-accredited preschool and a low student-to-teacher ratio. These children benefit from the intense individual attention allowed by the three-to-one student-to-teacher ratio, the individualized curriculum. To hear about the Rise School experience directly from some of our typical learners, click here.
Long-term benefits Developmentally disabled children at Rise learn first hand that their peers will have a range of abilities different from their own. These experiences prepare them to succeed in public school mainstream classrooms at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and equip them to participate fully in their places of employment or volunteering working beside adults without disabilities later in life. Traditional learners at Rise acquire the gift of compassion to understand and empathize with people of differing abilities which they will carry with them throughout life. Traditional learners who attended the original Rise school in Alabama over the past decades have overwhelmingly entered “compassionate careers” such as social work, education, and the health professions.
Rise celebrates its students moving onto kindergarten with a special graduation ceremony. Please view our video to see our favorite day of the year!