Journey School focuses on development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Wednesday of last week was a typical day at The Journey School.

In a room with a bright blue colorful mat, stacks of toys, a digital aquarium

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sets of tables and chairs that don’t quite make it past the 2-foot mark, four students sat on stools in a half-circle around

a board with giant bumblebees

shortly before lunch and nap time.

They waved their hands and sang, mellow, then their teacher put in a CD and things livened up. “Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Dairy Queen!”

The song is “Pizza Hut” by Dr. Jean, and the four students are Matt, Maggie, Kiersten, and Rin.

They are a part of the inaugural

class for a school that

residents say was much-needed in Selma.

The Journey School is an inclusive


with a low student-teacher ratio that



and therapeutic elements for children with and without disabilities,

from 2 1/2 years of age to 5.

“We have a typical preschool schedule,” school director Penny Foster said. “We have free-center time, structured circle activities.”

But the preschool is not a place for children to merely pass time. “Everything we do has a purpose,” Foster said. “When kids are playing with Play-Doh, they’re not just playing with Play-Doh. They are developing fine motor skills.”

The school’s curriculum focuses on the development of fine and gross motor skills, decision-making, compassion and leadership,

Foster said.

Fine and gross motor skills are developed using a program called Handwriting Without Tears, which Foster describes as a multi-sensory approach to handwriting skills.

A speech therapist and an occupational therapist come one day each week to teach at the school,

and a group from the United Cerebral

Palsy will be coming on the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. to hold workshops on child development, fine and gross motor skills, positive discipline,

sensory issues and speech for parents, teachers and residents of Selma and Dallas County.

Foster’s daughter, Maggie,


the school and is doing well. “She has done so much better, even at home, because of the consistency and because

of the communication between her teacher and I.”