The Rebecca School utilizes the Developmental Individual Difference Relationship-based (DIR) model. The DIR methodology, developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan, proceeds from the core belief that relationships are the foundation of learning. Academics at the Rebecca School foster a child’s ability to relate, communicate, and think. Our academic program focuses around the student’s passions, interests, and lived emotional experiences. Teachers create individualized lessons to address both the developmental and interest levels of each student.
Academics in the classroom aim to address the student’s core developmental and learning challenges. Skills are taught in a dynamic relationship both in 1:1 interactions with a teacher, small groups, and large classroom activities. Our goal is to create classrooms that promote a child’s ability to think critically about their world. For students working at the beginning developmental levels, an academic program includes a focus on a functional communication system, initial sight words, self regulation, and remaining in frustrating and/or joyful interactions for longer periods of time with both children and adults. For children who are symbolic, classroom curriculum focuses on perspective taking, empathy, and multi-causal reasoning. Unlike more data driven behavioral approaches, the DIR/ Rebecca School intervention promotes a child’s ability to think critically rather than perform for trials or discrete tasks. Stanley Greenspan explains, “The job of schools should be to help children relate to others in a meaningful way, use language and ideas creatively, and become abstract and creative thinkers, as well as master academic subjects.