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We have looked beyond both typical and special educational models to provide an extraordinary education to those who need it most. We provide a Waldorf curriculum, delivering developmentally appropriate academic and artistic curricula in small, individualized class settings.
At the Otto Specht School, we work to discover each child's path to lifelong learning, offering a variety of educational programs designed to meet the needs of students with developmental delays, social and sensory sensitivities, and learning challenges.
Programming is modified to meet the needs of our students, with many opportunities for hands-on learning and practical application of academic content. Therapies include Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Eurythmy Therapy, in addition to therapeutic programming such as Horsemanship and Riding, Adapted PE, Social Skills, Music, and more.
Our unique, multi-sensory and multidisciplinary approach supports each child's individual path toward self-development and independent functioning in the world.
The Otto Specht School is located in Chestnut Ridge, NY, nestled into over 150 acres of community, forests, and farmland that comprise the Threefold Educational Foundation and Fellowship Community. Whether we are gathering eggs from the chicken coop, harvesting beets, studying biology, building a bench, or assisting the elderly, an Otto Specht School education is not defined by the four walls of a classroom; the world is our classroom.
Early Childhood program: The early childhood program is designed to meet the individual needs of students ages 5-7, prior to their entrance into grade school. We provide an environment that is beautiful, warm, and safe, and a daily rhythm that is predictable and nourishing. We meet children where they are developmentally and work to build the physical, emotional, social, and pre-academic capacities of young children.
Facilitated integration into small group activities with our younger grades as well as Green Meadow kindergarteners, helps our children build their social capacities, while more individualized attention throughout the day addresses any underlying needs that may make traditional classroom settings challenging for our students.
Full Time Grades 1 – 12: Waldorf curriculum adapted to each child’s developmental and learning needs. We offer two tracks for High School, a diploma program and a practical life skills certificate program. Classes have a ratio of no more than one teacher to five children, and each child benefits from an individualized pedagogical program designed to address her or his particular needs. We work closely with the neighboring Green Meadow Waldorf School, including integration into some classes, when appropriate, and the opportunity for Middle and High School students to participate in extra curricular programs.
A part-time Practical Arts program (grades 9-12): Students who receive their academic programming from another school or at home but who could benefit from our hands-on, practical life skills programming such as farming and cooking, eurythmy, and fine arts such as woodwork, metal work, and fiber crafts.
A Full-Time Transitional Life Skills program: Offered for students who have completed High School and require a post-secondary program to build the practical, vocational, and social skills needed to successfully navigate their path towards independent living.