Individualized Curriculum: What This Means & Why We Value This Approach

individualized curriculum

Each and every child learns differently. This is the fundamental, guiding belief behind all of our programs and offers at Donnelly’s Daily Apple, and this is why we focus on individualized curriculum. Just as no two students are alike, no two programs are alike. We firmly believe that regardless of your age, grade, or learning level, your education should be customized to you.

All too often, educational services are one-size-fits-all (and this just doesn’t work!). Whether this streamlined approach is because of a high number of students in a single classroom, a lack of teachers to facilitate and differentiate for varied needs, or a wide spectrum of student previous experiences with curriculum, it is often hard to create a truly individualized program—and especially in traditional education environments!

But, at Donnelly’s Daily Apple, this is our entire focus.

We believe that students learn best when their program(s) are uniquely targeted, engaging, and specific. Whether a student is a high-achiever and at the top of his or her class or struggling to meet grade level expectations, the learning should be both personalized and meaningful.

Here is how we create an individualized curriculum and programs:

1. We connect with our families to learn about our students (before they even sign up).

Before we engage in any services or learning programs, we spent time getting to know students and families. We talk about needs and goals, strengths and potential weaknesses, flexible scheduling options, and interventions that have been used in the past.

This way, we are not only prepared for the first session, but we are also building a connection that eventually leads to a relationship. If the student doesn’t feel that he/she is seen, heard, and valued, the learning just won’t happen.

2. We research + blend programs in order to create a ‘just right’ fit.

A single program won’t address all aspects of learning. Just as each student is different, so are the needs that he or she has. To this point, we take time to research and develop a customized program for our students.

We use various programs, curriculum, intervention strategies, individually-created resources, and hand-made items to build programs that truly meet the student where he/she is.

Even in our small-group and/or learning pod offerings, we create options to differentiate based on where each student is, what he/she needs, and how he/she can be grouped to create more alignment between skills and tasks.

This is our way of creating the ‘just right’ right fit rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all.’

3. We continually measure, adapt + change

If a student is learning (aka: all the time!), then change needs to happen all the time!

In fact, education and educational programs should always be shifting based on research, needs, engagement, purpose, and results. With our students, not only are we keeping data and records to reflect this progress, but we are always finding ways to keep students engaged as the focus changes. Rather than stagnating, our students are always moving forward.

4. We hone in on strengths while supporting needs

We work with students of all ages, levels, and abilities.

When it comes to accommodating for learning challenges and/or disabilities, we choose to focus on and build strengths first. We believe that students are not and should not be defined by their disabilities.

Instead, we recognize that everyone has needs, and we create individualized curriculum to help differentiate, accommodate, and support those areas while inspiring students to lean into their passions.

5. We communicate (with families, students, and other support members)

Open communication leads to progress.

At Donnelly’s Daily Apple, we take the time to not only get to know our families and students, but to connect with support members (teachers, mentors, instructional aides, IEP advocacy teams, etc.) to create collaboration and consistency.

We believe the communication is essential for all parties to be on the same page, to update on potential shifts, and to ensure that nothing is misunderstood. Education is incredibly important; as such, we prioritize clear and consistent communication to avoid issues, solve problems, and keep progressing.

So, Why does this matter?

We have been in business for almost eleven years. With the 2020 pandemic, we saw, for the first time, a large number of people understanding the value and intention of individualized learning.

It’s not enough for students to simply be put on computers or asked to connect to ‘Zoom’ screens. It’s not enough for programs to meet some needs and not others. And it’s not enough for students to feel as if they are less smart, valid, or valuable because they don’t learn in a ‘traditional’ way.

At Donnelly’s Daily Apple, we believe individualized curriculum should be implemented for ALL students in order to uniquely meet their needs, inspire their growth, and lead to true progress—both in and out of school.

To learn more about our programs, what we offer, and how we do this (both virtually and in-person), head to our contact page, or give us a ring (619) 780-5333!

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