Four-year-old Tristan faces many challenges. He’s legally blind in one eye and has a rare genetic condition called 13-Q deletion.
“With this 13 q he’s delayed in every aspect. Physical- mental- educational,” his mother, Crystal Johnson explained.
Tristan goes to school at the United Cerebral Palsy of New York City Staten Island. At the center, he can learn and receive therapies for his special needs. The school has Universal Pre-Kindergarten Programs that integrate typical learners with students who have additional special needs.
“Starting the school year, I think he’s starting off strong and he’s remembering a lot more and doing a lot of new things so I expect a lot from this school year,” Johnson said.
That’s because the City’s Department of Education chose UCP of Staten Island to incorporate new teaching tools. Teachers are using a new math curriculum this year in their two universal pre-kindergarten classes. It’s called “Building Blocks Foundation for Mathematical Thinking Curriculum,” and is supported in part by the National Science Foundation.
The method makes counting fun by using colors and shapes in everyday scenarios, such as putting toppings on a pizza.