It is back-to-school time at the ECLC of New Jersey school in Chatham! Summer seems so long ago already. The children seem just as excited to see me as I am to see them!
But, I love the fall because I get to see all my friends, again, and it's still warm outside. It is so much fun to play outside with the students during gym and recess. We run after each other in the playground, and I fetch frisbees, balls and other fun toys on the field. “Doggie in the middle” is my favorite game. Sometimes a student is quicker than I am and catches the ball before I do.
I'm excited about a new garden we started last month. It's part of the school's Green Team and learning to be good to the planet. All the ECLC classes planted vegetables and pretty soon everyone will be preparing and eating homegrown salads … except for me. That’s okay because Mrs. Wey, our school social worker, bakes delicious all-natural dog biscuits for me as a treat once a week. I need to stay at a healthy weight to keep up with these busy, active students!
Established in 1970, ECLC of New Jersey offers lifelong services -- education, enrichment and employment -- to children and adults with special needs, including those diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and severe learning and/or language disabilities. ECLC has schools in Ho-Ho-Kus and Chatham enrolling more than 300 students.
As students prepare to graduate, transition specialists from ECLC’s affiliate Community Personnel Services (CPS), take over, guiding them into the next chapter of their lives. CPS specialists help students find meaningful jobs in their communities and provide ongoing support and advocacy in the workplace.
Graduates who are not ready for work are guaranteed a spot in the P.R.I.D.E. program, where they enhance their independent living skills, socialize with peers and volunteer. A defining hallmark of P.R.I.D.E. is that clients choose their activities and are rarely in the center all day. P.R.I.D.E. Centers are located in Paramus and Chatham. Learn more about ECLC at www.eclcofnj.org. ECLC is a member of the Alliance of Private Special Education Schools of North Jersey, which offers education, advocacy and support to parents, professionals and others in the special needs community.