Functional Life Skills


At Sierra Foothills Academy, we believe functional skills are those skills that are necessary for a child to be successful across environments. These skills include: transitioning from one location to another, eating, dressing, following directions, social and communication skills. Our functional curriculum teaches these skills using materials that have meaning to the child and relevance to his/her everyday life (e.g., cooking a meal, setting a table, following a recipe, matching socks, toileting etc.). The curriculum encourages independence by teaching life skills, and addresses developmentally appropriate goals.

One way that we address developmentally appropriate goals is by providing practice opportunities throughout the child’s day. We achieve this by establishing consistent routines. During these routines, the child can practice academic skills like counting objects, or learning to read a clock to know when it’s time for outside play. Practice opportunities are also provided during individual and small group work. For example, for a child to become better at transitioning, during individual work time he or she is taught to identify photographs to follow a picture schedule or words to follow a written schedule (depending on the child’s developmental level). During the child’s small group academic time, he or she is taught words such as “help,” “more,” or “break”, which link to routines that are a priority to the family and classroom team.

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