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Camphill Special School’s mission is to create wholeness for children and youth with developmental disabilities through education, extended family living, and therapy so that they may be better understood, they may more fully unfold their potential, and they may meaningfully participate in life.
Serving children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Camphill Special School is a licensed and approved private school that offers individualized education and therapy in an extended family setting. We offer residential and day academic and prevocational programs, as well as therapeutic care, for children in kindergarten through grade twelve. We also offer a Transition Program for young people ages eighteen to twenty-one. Our educational and vocational programs focus on bringing the arts and academics to life, weaving hands-on activities with skill building.
Our school offers four distinct programs. The Inclusive Kindergarten Program serves students ages five-seven. Students with developmental disabilities play and learn alongside typically developing children. The Lower and Middle School Program serves children between the ages of seven and fourteen. Our High School Program provides a full range of pre-vocational programming and a Student Council that imparts self-advocacy as it interacts with the Teachers’ Faculty. The Transition Program at Beaver Farm is set on 56 acre livestock and farm bordering French Creek. Designed especially for eighteen to twenty-one year old students, Beaver Farm emphasizes learning skills, a work ethic, and social conduct necessary to become a contributing member of society.
The Camphill ideal is to engage all the members of each community in meeting their own needs, as well as those of the community at large, to whatever extent their abilities allow. With heavy emphasis on experiential learning, the students learn academics in engaging ways. They learn how to play the piano, recorder, or hand bells; they stage concerts, dramatic performances, and elaborate puppet shows. They help with costumes and construct sets. Students here partake in woodworking, weaving, pottery, sewing, and gardening. The student run Beaver Farm produces all the beef, pork, chicken, and eggs needed by Camphill Special School. They also learn food processing and cater meals with the produce they grow.