Welcome to The Hirsch Academy
The school began with one child. One child who longed for successful connections with peers and adults. One child who needed academic and therapeutic support. One child who needed understanding.
All Children Want to Belong
At Hirsch, we know that all children want to belong, they want to be accepted and to have friends. We also know that every child wants to learn and can learn. What we want to know is why a child isn’t learning. So we find out. Then we do the most important thing—-support the student right now. We meet the child, where they are. We know that they want to succeed but that something is in the way.
We Ask Why
All of the students at Hirsch struggle with regulation whether it is sensory or social-emotional in nature. Yet instead of simply responding to behavior, we ask why. Why is this child having a hard time? What are the obstacles? When a student begins at Hirsch, time and great care is given to understand why the child is having such difficulty. We discover what we can do to help, and take the time to do it each day as we support our students and encourage their developing abilities.
DIR Floortime Model
Hirsch’s approach is based on the DIR Floortime model interwoven with OT and sensory integration principles. The DIR Floortime model provides a developmental framework of six stages which all children must master for social and emotional success. The model also offers an understanding of individual processing differences that affect a child’s ability to manage and master these six developmental levels. Always though, the approach is rooted in the relationship between the child and the supporting adult.
Though all of our children have some basic academic skills when they come to us, they do not have a solid foundation in these crucial developmental levels or in individual processing capacities. And because of that, for many of them, the emphasis in previous schools on just learning academic skills has left them frustrated and discouraged.
How Do We Measure Success?
So how do we measure success at the Hirsch Academy? Certainly by the mastery of the developmental levels which give a student a basis for learning and relating. Success is also made obvious by a student’s confidence in and happiness with themselves, an excitement to learn and the ability to create and sustain positive relationships.