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Oconomowoc students benefit more from inclusive class

Jan. 9, 2013

"This is an incredible collaboration," said Mary Linsmeier director, Cassie Maduscha. "Our staff learns from the Oconomowoc school district staff and they learn from us. Every child benefits a lot from this experience."

Maduscha is referring to the inclusive classroom at the Linsmeier site on West Wisconsin Avenue in Oconomowoc. Oconomowoc Area School District (OASD) early childhood special education teacher, Molly Raduka, is there four mornings each week to work with pre-school district students who have been identified as needing additional help with emotional, cognitive or physical challenges. She is supported by an OASD para-professional and Linsmeier staff who work seamlessly with the students; it's difficult to tell which students are those who need special help and those who do not. They are all part of one classroom.

Raduka noted that in the past, early childhood students were in a separate classroom that did not include regular education students. "The children didn't have a chance to interact with other children. Now, they can learn from each other; teachers and students are so accepting."

She added that the special education students, who range in age from 3 to 5, are more willing to try new things in this inclusive environment when they see other children making the effort . "It doesn't matter what skills they have; they all do the best that they can."

Director of Student Service and Special Education, Lisa Dawes, wrote, "(The District is) very excited to have an integrated early childhood setting at a community daycare. The peer models have been instrumental in helping student development and enriching the instructional experience overall."

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Junk in the Trunk Group Rummage Sale: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 25, St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc. Over 30 families selling new and used items. Fundraiser for the eighth grade Washington D.C. trip this spring. www.stjerome.org/index.php.
Petlicious Annual Halloween Costume Contest: 12-2 p.m. Oct. 26, Petlicious Dog Bakery & Pet Spa, 2217 Silvernail Road, Waukesha. For Elmbrook Humane Society. Judging for best pet/owner theme, best pet costumes also dog food demonstrations, treats for dogs and humans, doggy ice cream, raffles, rescue groups and vendors. $5 donation (262) 548-0923.
Kinder Oktoberfest: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 25, Fowler Lake Park, N Oakwood Ave, Oconomowoc. Event is a celebration of German culture and cuisine and includes live music, games, and German treats such as brats, sausages, pretzels.
International Food Festival/Dinner: 4:30-7 p.m. Oct. 25, North Prairie United Methodist Church, 107 N. Main St., North Prairie. Sample seven ethnic foods. Dinner includes pie and beverage German potato salad and red cabbage, pasta shells, Greek salad, curry chicken, Swedish meatballs, pasties and pollo guisado. $10 adults, $9 seniors.

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