STEM Education Lab for Special Needs Students in New Jersey

STEM lab for developmentally disabled students in NJ

When you visit Gateway School in Carteret, NJ, there is an instantaneous sense that this is no ordinary school. Creating exceptional learning experiences in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), many of our special needs students take part in highly-engaging, hands-on learning activities. As the heart of any STEM education activity, students at Gateway School explore creativity to solve and answer problems and work on solutions to practical matters.

What is STEM Education?

STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where challenging academic concepts are paired with hands-on, multi-sensory activities. This allows bright and eager-to-learn students with special needs to apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a way that makes natural connections between school, community, work, and life skills.

Research shows that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often gravitate to courses and careers involving science, technology, engineering and math (more so than students in the general school population). Through hands-on STEM education activities, teachers can empower students to become problem solvers, self-reliant, logical thinkers, technologically literate, innovators and inventors.

Not surprisingly, STEM education naturally provides support that special needs students require, including: 

  • Purposeful Movement- STEM education classes rely on active, applied engagement to solve “real world” problems. Building on individual’s strengths and interests, this purposeful movement gets students more comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Built-In Breaks- STEM education classes have laid out starting and stopping points as students make their way through the STEM design processes. These built-in breaks allow students time to process what they’re learning, adapt to feedback and challenges and make seamless applications to their life. 
  • Ind​ividuality- While a lesson may incorporate collaborative small group projects that promote teamwork and practical social skills, the STEM education curriculum offers ultimate flexibility in teaching styles that drive individual student learning experiences. 
  • Learning From Experience- By incorporating experiential learning techniques in a STEM education classroom, teachers allow special education students to reflect upon their learning, apply foundations from previous experiences and build upon this knowledge to complete a task.

Inside the Gateway School STEM Education Lab

Through project-based learning, the Gateway School’s state-of-the-art STEM Education Lab, guided by certified teachers and trained paraprofessionals, is designed to fuel students’ curiosity and spark their investigative interests. Just over one year old, our highly engaging STEM Lab allows students to work independently and in small groups on building models, basic coding, media recording, photo, audio and video editing.

Lessons include media and graphic design, basic coding, in addition to physics, general science and music. At Gateway School, the music program focuses on discovering and strengthening the talents of each individual student. Our unique Music Lab combines both the music and science departments to incorporate STEM learning into music education.

STEM Education Programs at The Gateway School

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, The Gateway School provides a unique design of STEM education activities that allows special needs students, regardless of disability, access to real-life learning experiences. Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seek to empower each student with skills for life, work and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

The goal at The Gateway School is to assist all students with becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of The Gateway School today.

Our Mission at The Gateway School:
Provide a safe and nurturing educational environment dedicated to the vision that individuals with disabling conditions are entitled to a full and meaningful life.

Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School, Carteret, NJ