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The City Journals

Jordan Valley students practice social skills while experiencing hands-on learning at state fair

Nov 22, 2021 01:44PM ● By Julie Slama

Jordan Valley student Frankie Navarro-Aviles feels the pumpkin with orientation and mobility specialist Linda Breeden. (Stacey Nofsinger/Jordan Valley)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

The animals, the food, the rides and the fun.

“Oh, my goodness,” Jordan Valley Principal Stacey Nofsinger said. “I went. We had so much fun at the state fair.”

About 60 students from the school took advantage of the $1 per person entrance day for those with special needs. 

“When we first got there, we spent two hours on rides as they opened those on the Midway for us for free. Then, there was a snack shop set up so we could get fruit, fruit snacks, Rice Krispies Treats, water and juice—and that was all free,” she said.

Then, the group went on to see sheep and cows and other animals at the state fair. They also saw different fruits and vegetables and even tried out “Little Hands on the Farm,” learning how food comes to their table from farms.

“It was such a great experience for these kids,” Nofsinger said, citing the opportunities, such as one boy, who is blind, feeling the textures and ridges of a pumpkin as his teacher described it. 

Others learned social skills, she said.

“The whole idea of this was to give them another opportunity of experiencing things outside of school walls,” Nofsinger said. “It was good practice for following directions for their safety and needing to stay with their chaperone. They had to wait in line for rides, and they had to listen to the ride attendant who told them to stay seated and keep their hands inside. It was also an opportunity to review how do we behave in a public setting and using our manners with those free snacks. It was a day to have fun while learning and having new opportunities.”