is an innovative Therapeutic Program founded by Dr. Joan Prideaux, psychotherapist
and educator, in 1988.
Our teaching teams (head teacher and two assistants) are experienced and trained
by Dr. Prideaux to integrate healing intervention into the developmental learning
process of each child's classroom experience. At Beachbrook, teachers are considered
the primary healing interveners in the life of each child since they have the
maximum opportunity to provide healing intervention; however, therapists are
also an essential part of the team effort to energize each child's growth potential,
and are essential to each child's developmental process.
To facilitate the evolution of trusting, intimate and meaningful relationships,
each teacher and assistant is given three children to primarily care and provide
for. Young children particularly, respond well to the intimacy of small grouping,
which is similar to family style living. The primary structure in a child's
life at Beachbrook is the teacher-child relationship. Second to that is peer
grouping, within a safe, secure containing environment. Teachers, therapists,
aides and substitutes are supervised by the head teacher and Dr. Prideaux in
intensive weekly, individual, teaching team, and school staff meetings. There
is a maximum of nine children in a classroom. Our focus at all times is the
whole child's functioning and not the child's brain alone. The learning of "
being in the world" skills and cognitive skills are integrated into every
facet of our work. Our understanding of a child's behavior informs our choice
of intervention in the moment.
Intervention methods are determined by the behavior presented in the moment,
what it is we want the child to gain, and where the child is developmentally.
Within the matrix of meaningful relationships and a safe holding environment,
interventions may consist of: mirroring, cognitive intervention, psycho-dynamic,
motivational, holding, problem solving, self-empowering, behavioral-whatever
is determined to be useful in the moment. However, all interventions must always
enable the child to experience the intervener as allied with the child's needs
and on the side of the child.
Each teacher and her group of three children have their own consistent living/learning
area as well as general area for larger group activities. The intimacy of this
grouping maximizes opportunities for the deepening of relationships to evolve,
and the working through of conflicts and confusions within a child and with
others. The ever deepening relationships between teacher and children provides
the opportunity for profound and often inspiring transformations in children
- and teachers/therapists.
Children who attend Beachbrook may have severe emotional/behavioral difficulties,
may be developmentally delayed, unrelated, lack speech, may have PDD (Pervasive
Developmental Disorder/Autism). While all of our children benefit notably from
our work, our special innovation is with children who have PDD - since we are
generally able to form meaningful social relationships with these children -
whose inability to do this is often their main presenting concern. Through our
ways of working, children with PDD often become significantly more related and
some develop verbal skills of various capabilities. A few children have graduated
Beachbrook without any remaining signs of autism.
As much as possible, each set of three children are grouped together for their
developmental differences rather than similarities. Thus, we would avoid placing
non verbal children together, unrelated children together, aggressive, acting
- out children together, withdrawn children together or children with Pervasive
Developmental Disorder,etc. In our experience, the differences in each child
contribute positively to the developmental growth process of each child. This,
we believe, encourages a healthier and more dynamic diverse learning environment-
while still meeting individual needs.
Parents are invited to participate in weekly Parent Groups led by Dr. Joan Prideaux.
This affords parents the opportunity to become more skilled in their interactions
with their children, and to have the difficulties of their lives be heard, understood
and empathized with.
Beachbrook's full-time Therapeutic Program is from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and
half-time Program from 2:30p.m. to 5:00 p.m., five days a week.
|BEACHBROOK THERAPEUTIC NURSERY SCHOOL