MATTHEWS – Students at Shands School took a field trip March 28 to Fox’s Alley Bowling Bar & Grill in Monroe. They left with a check for $1,000.
The private independent school, which provides specialized education for students in grades two through eight, was nominated by Fox’s to receive the grant money through its Kids Bowl Free program. Shands is one of many schools across the country that participate in the program.
Kids Bowl Free runs April through August at Fox’s and provides children 15-and-under with two free games of bowling each day. More than 1,500 bowling alleys participate in the program nationally, and Kids Bowl Free awards one $1,000 grant every year to a deserving school in each of the 50 states.
“We nominated about 50 schools, elementary and middle schools, that are in a 25-mile radius from the bowling alley,” said Hillary Carpio, Fox’s general manager. “One of our schools that we nominated won, and we are very excited to have nominated Shands.”
Founder Liz Morris opened the doors of the school in 2012.
Morris said Shands focuses on children who have learning differences and not necessarily disabilities. Students with learning differences may not fit into a traditional school setting. Shands uses a multi-sensory learning approach that engages students at their level of learning with a theme-based curriculum.
“It started when I was working with pre-school kids. I also became a vision therapist, so I was working with a lot of students after school tutoring,” Morris said. “I realized I had a unique program that would work for children if we could incorporate it into a classroom. I opened my doors with two children, and we have been growing ever since.
“Everyone has a strong suit on how they learn. It could be visual. It could be auditory. It could be best that they do best with hands-on activities. Our whole program is focused on teaching things in a multi-sensory way. We have project-based learning to problem-solve with specific hands-on activities.’’
Nutrition is a key part of the curriculum, and there is even a yoga class at the school.
“We are a green school, and we have started an organic garden,” Morris said. “It is helping these kids try new things, things that they think they don’t like. We are trying to get them to try some new vegetables. They find that they like them.’’
Morris said most students have been able to transition to a traditional high school after they complete the program at Shands.
On the web: www.shandsschool.org and www.kidsbowlfree.com.