Hunter’s learning environment matches the way highly sensitive children diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety, High Functioning Autism, Sensory, Mood and related conditions perceive and process information. At the core of Hunter’s educational philosophy is the work of our founder, Thom Hartmann. Our academic program is built on our belief that the traits of highly sensitive children should not be negatively characterized, but instead should be considered a constellation of characteristics that lead to unique and often useful ways of perceiving the world.
Hunter students learn to modify their behavior and self-manage the learning process. Through daily lessons, integrated with behavioral modification techniques including Energetic Mindfulness™, children at Hunter develop the ability to articulate what they need from an academic environment and advocate for themselves.
Imagine how powerful and wonderful it is for a child when he or she takes an academic assignment that was once overwhelming and transforms the work into a set of manageable tasks that aligns with his or her unique learning style. As this skill is practiced over and over again, the Hunter student grows more confident in his or her personal mastery and the momentum for academic success builds. It’s an amazing transformation that we never tire of witnessing at Hunter.
Our blended classrooms are designed to bring together children of different ages and genders, fostering essential social and group-dynamics skills. An individualized learning program is developed for every child. Students participate in group learning experiences and also work one-on-one with teachers, depending on their needs in a specific area of study.
Hunter follows the New Hampshire Curriculum Framework and is licensed by the New Hampshire Department of Education, ensuring that our academic content is benchmarked against State and National grade-level standards. Students academically progress at their own pace. The curriculum is modified to meet their individual needs and styles.
We strongly encourage the parents of prospective students to visit a Hunter classroom to see a demonstration of our teaching methods.
We believe that our fully integrated behavior modification program sets Hunter apart from other ‘special needs’ schools. Many children come to Hunter only after they have been ostracized, bullied or made to feel left out in mainstream schools. When these same children attend Hunter they are immediately embraced by a community of adults and other children who understand and accept them for their special talents and interpersonal style. No one is ‘different’ at Hunter!
Behavior modification techniques are used in the classroom, and in the residences for students who live at Hunter during the school year. ‘Active’ is the key word in all Hunter activities. Students are encouraged to have their hands and brains in motion throughout the day, keeping them engaged and stimulated in a positive way.
Specific behavioral modification techniques teach students to:
- Communicate their needs and advocate appropriately for themselves
- Develop a toolbox of skills through the utilization of Energetic Mindfulness™ techniques, helping children to learn to self-regulate their thoughts and behaviors
- Develop the ability to manage frustration.
- Replace negative behaviors with positive responses that earn positive benefits
- Improve impulse control and focus when disruptions or distractions are present in the environment.
Every staff member that comes in contact with a student participates in that student’s behavior. At the core of every behavior modification interaction at Hunter is praise and the replacement of negative behaviors with positive substitutes. Hunter teachers are patient and consistent in their approach and actions.
Students and their parents receive regular feedback about a child’s progress. In addition to the immediate feedback provided on an ongoing basis through dialogue,progress reports summarize individualized goals and the student’s progress in relation to these goals.
Because our progress reports measure a child’s performance against comprehensive academic and behavioral benchmarks a complete picture of each child’s achievements and future growth can be made. This is clearly communicated to everyone who cares for and supports the student.
Hunter ensures that parents remain fully integrated in their child’s life by:
- Conducting weekly (and if requested, daily) phone conferences between parents and teachers, and in the case of residential students, with house parents as well.
- Welcoming parents on campus for visits or overnight stays as frequently as the parent requests.
- Maintaining an ‘open classroom’ policy that encourages parents to visit the classroom and the school at any time.
Parental involvement helps to maintain a sense of security for a child, especially for a child who is making the transition to a residential school, and so it is strongly fostered at Hunter. We strive to create an educational community that embraces the entire family through family participation in school activities and special events.
Daily, our behavioral assessment program records a child’s progress throughout his or her day. Each student’s progress and needs are monitored at all times, providing essential consistency and continuity from teacher, to house parent, and back to teacher.
Every time a child shifts to a new environment a transition occurs. For a child with ADHD, Anxiety, High Functioning Autism, Sensory or Mood challenges, that transition can be potentially distracting or disruptive. Helping children develop essential transitional coping skills is a significant component of Hunter’s program.
We teach students how to create ‘soft’ transitions in preparation for a change in their environment. No bells are used or disruptive announcements are made at Hunter. Students are supported through their daily transitions by the behavioral specialists who are in the classroom and the child development counselors who serve as house parents.
Children are informed of any change in advance of the occurrence, whether it’s a visitor to the classroom or an altered routine. With the support and guidance from the staff at Hunter this proactive communication allows each student to develop the individual skills necessary to adapt successfully to change in their environment. We build on a student’s strengths and work on individual areas of need. While providing a well-rounded education, our mission is to instill in the student a sense of self-discipline, citizenship, character, honesty and ethics.