ACES Teacher’s Grant Brings Music to Special Education Students
Music therapy makes a big difference for her students, which is why ACES teacher Jaime Plancon is excited to have some extra funds to purchase instruments thanks to a grant from California Casualty.
Plancon, a music therapist, works at ACES Village School—a school for pre-K through eighth grade students with cognitive, physical, behavioral, language, and medical challenges. She says that music is an important tool to facilitate functional learning for her students.
Each class at the Village School receives music therapy for 30 minutes once a week, and Plancon also directs a choir for verbal students who are interested in participating and leads a community drum circle once a month.
Because of the population she serves, Plancon says, “I need a lot of adaptive instruments and technology that can enhance the therapy experience.”
This can include everything from adaptive mallets for students with alternate grips to mounts that can help instruments attach to wheelchairs to drum heads that produce a muted sound for students with auditory sensitivities.
California Casualty, an endorsed NEA Auto and Home Insurance provider, has partnered with education associations since 1951 and offers music and arts grants to foster creativity in schools, such as choir, band, dance, film, theater, computer arts and graphics, or any K-12 curriculum that employs art for learning.
Numerous studies have concluded that sharing a love of the arts enhances students’ brain development, creativity, and classroom involvement. Music and art curricula have also been shown to reduce disciplinary issues and dropout rates.
Plancon is one five Connecticut art and music teachers to receive a California Casualty grant this fall. Others include music teachers Catherine Dwyer of Gilmartin Elementary School in Waterbury and Nicole Cardamone of Shelter Rock Elementary in Danbury.