Preschool ‘peace of mind’

Preschool teacher Dawn Williams with student Joshua Rincon.

Matheny has re-launched its preschool disabilities program this fall. Based on the “Creative Curriculum” concept, teachers and therapists will utilize an enriched learning environment to meet the individual needs of each student. According to Matheny School principal Sean Murphy, the Creative Curriculum’s “emphasis on organizing the physical environment to promote learning is especially important for children who require structure predictability in their lives.”

The preschool class at Matheny is somewhat unique in that it’s a school setting within a hospital and has a registered nurse assigned as an essential part of the team. “We decided,” says Murphy, “that parents and families needed that extra peace of mind when sending their preschooler into school. This is often the parents’ first time away from their children.” In addition, speech language-pathologists, occupational and physical therapists are seamlessly integrated into the academic program. And parents, Murphy adds, “are always part of the planning process here and are invited to be part of the special education curriculum design team.”

Dawn Williams, Matheny’s preschool teacher, says emphasis is placed on learning basic skills such as playing and exploring. “Students need a lot of stimulation,” she explains. “They’re reacting to sensory movements and noises.”

Matheny views public school districts as partners and welcomes them to visit its classrooms. In fact, there is still time for districts to register for the Matheny School Open House on Wednesday, October 9, by calling Jill Baker at (908) 234-0011, ext. 234, or emailing