Our ProgramsBanyan Elementary School
Welcome to Banyan Elementary School! Our school is a private, non-profit, state approved elementary and middle school with outstanding programs designed to meet the challenging instructional needs of students with significant language-based learning disabilities.
Our strong repertoire of teaching techniques and training in multiple specialized approaches enables us to create strong prescriptive programs for students who are presented with one or more of the following challenges that can impact their ability to succeed in more typical educational settings:
- Reading, decoding and comprehension deficits
- Attention deficit disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Visual/spatial processing disorders
- Mild to moderate cognitive deficits
- Fine/gross motor incoordination
- Auditory processing dysfunction
- Short/long term memory deficits
- Social skills deficits
- Difficulty with organization/study skills
- Poorly developed executive functioning skills
- Cortical Visual Impairment
Specializing in dyslexia, we offer a comprehensive individualized instructional program, based on the principles of the Wilson Reading System®, with integrated related services and a collaborative approach to academic instruction.
In addition to our focus on academics, we provide a comprehensive social skills program to enhance development of interpersonal skills and application of pragmatic language.
Our intensive academic program provides a small student to teacher ratio.
Banyan Elementary School offers individualized and small group instruction, remediation and enrichment when appropriate, social skills groups, while integrating practical life skills and community-based experiences.
To educate elementary and middle school students with learning disabilities by identifying individual strengths and abilities, continuously monitoring individual progress and adapting the curriculum to meet each student’s changing educational needs.
Elementary School Curriculum
Wilson Reading System®
For students who are not making sufficient progress in their current intervention or who may require more intensive instruction due to a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, Banyan uses the Wilson Reading System®.
Wilson’s programs feature research-based, systematic, and multisensory structured language curricula to help every student succeed. Students learn to read step-by-step, starting with the basic structure and rules of our language, then building to more advanced lessons over time.
By teaching the tools to read and write, our students gain confidence and the skill set they need to achieve their dreams.
Banyan Elementary School’s Mathematics program offers small group individualized instruction to enhance students’ mathematical thinking. In this class, our featured programs are TouchMath® and McGraw Hill Education’s Number Worlds™.
Our teachers utilize the Concrete, Representational and Abstract (CRA) instructional approach to design and deliver instruction. We incorporate the use of manipulatives and integrate technology to enhance academic achievement. All levels of the K-8 curriculum are available, including Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. Emphasis is placed on the application of math skills to real life.
Reading / Comprehension
Our reading classes provide students the opportunity to apply their word attack and comprehension skills. Our specific comprehension classes are designed to enhance students’ expressive language and comprehension abilities.
Fostering Students Strengths While Attending to Their Challenges
Language Arts/Writing courses offer instruction in grammar and written expression. The writing component includes personal narratives, descriptive essays, research papers, persuasive paragraphs, and expository writing.
Graphic organizers and mnemonic devices develop a structured format for brainstorming and organizing ideas. Students are taught to revise and edit their own work. Final drafts are published by using technology in the classroom.
Another component of the Language Arts/Writing program includes grammar instruction. After concepts are introduced, students can practice their grammar skills through interactive Smartboard activities, iPad apps, websites, worksheets and other hands-on activities.
Music Can Be a Powerful Tool to Build Communication, Motor and Social Skills
A universal language, music has the power to transform lives for the better. Banyan Elementary School music curriculum offers students the opportunity to experience music…
…through performance, music creation, and technology.
Students can perform in the chorus where they prepare for Banyan and community vocal performances, along with a year-end vocal competition at the Music in the Parks Festival.
Private or semi-private instrumental lessons are offered to all students interested in piano and guitar. Lessons include instruction in beginning theory, music reading, music writing, and ensemble performance. Additionally, these classes provide students with the opportunity to compose, record, and edit their performances for self-critique and as a means of personal creation.
Unlocking the Scientist in Every Student
The Science curriculum provides participatory instruction through hands-on activities. A multi-sensory learning experience is enhanced through the application of technology.
Special guests such as the local 4H Club, an amateur astronomer and a paleontologist frequently visit the classroom, and relevant field trips are part of the curriculum as well.
Annual projects include chick hatching, trout in the classroom, and our yearly science fair, at which students’ experiments are displayed on a science board that includes the scientific method. Family Science Night and Star Parties are held throughout the year for parents and students.
Our Social Studies Classes Help Students Make Sense of this World
Our Social Studies curriculum covers a wide array of topics, including map skills, civics, current events, ancient civilizations, New Jersey history, and American history, from the Native Americans through the Second World War.
Students are engaged in multi-sensory lessons that help them grasp important concepts and make real-world connections.
Technology and educational videos are infused into the lessons along with hands-on projects to reinforce a student’s ability to understand history and its implications.
Students learn firsthand about the election process, giving back to the community, planning activities, leadership skills, and what it takes to make important democratic decisions through our Student Council.
Health and Physical Education
Encouraging an Active Lifestyle Promotes Self-Esteem and Social Skills
Our physical education curriculum exposes our students to various activities, games, sports, and skills. Facilitating students’ involvement with physical activity promotes physical, mental, social and emotional growth.
Studies show that increasing one’s heart rate through exercise and keeping it elevated for 20 minutes or more at least three times a week increases one’s lifespan as well as their quality of life. Our mission is to get our students moving in many different enjoyable ways through sports and games incorporating both anaerobic and aerobic activities. Our Physical Education program is developmental in nature, and helps students to develop the skills they need to participate in recreation and sports activities, both individual, lifetime sports and group sport activities. Health classes are geared to inspire our students to not only exercise during Physical Education but to understand why they need to exercise and develop healthy lifestyle choices toward lifelong wellness.
Banyan Elementary School uses the Social Thinking® program by Michelle Garcia Winner which provides a framework, tools, skills, and a shared language program to improve social competencies.
It helps our students learn explicitly how to engage in social information processing in order to be successful. Students learn social expectations, thoughts, and feelings to navigate through their social world. This program specifically focuses on the rules and behaviors that help individuals interact with one another successfully and expectedly. The practical nature of our teaching and the concrete way we explain social concepts helps break down complex concepts in manageable and understandable information. Additionally, it assists in engaging our students in social learning not only about themselves but about others. The entire Banyan Staff is knowledgeable about this methodology which allows them to implement these strategies throughout the day in all settings. There are many additional opportunities throughout the day for our students to foster their social skills, as this program is also implemented in Lunch Club Social, Saturday School, school themed events and more!
Students are able to participate in activities that promote communication, critical thinking, community involvement, and independence within a safe environment.
Banyan elementary school offers a life skills curriculum to its eighth grade students.
Some examples of activities in which students are able to practice real life skills are ordering from a restaurant, making a shopping list, preparing a meal, and shopping for a gift for a friend. Students are able to experience real life activities and learn the skills needed to plan, execute, and complete a task.
Elementary School Related Services
Maximizing Each Students Potential
School-based occupational therapy at Banyan Elementary School helps students to participate in daily school activities.
Occupational Therapy supports students’ ability to reach both academic and non-academic achievements by addressing the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and sensory components of performance. Students are able to maximize their potential within the school environment by engaging in various activities that promote fine motor manipulation, graphomotor skills, typing abilities, visual perceptual skills, strength and coordination, activities of daily living, sensory processing, and life skills. The goal is for each student to maximize their unique potential within the school environment.
At Banyan School, there is a strong emphasis on developing the whole child – academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally.
To that end, there is a Mental Health Team in place to assist students in recognizing and utilizing their strengths, while addressing and remediating any difficulties. Whether it is helping them remain focused and engaged in the classroom or mediating differences with peers, support is available to our students as mandated by their Individual Education Plans or as specific needs arise. The Mental Health Team is composed of a School Social Worker, School Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Based upon individual needs, speech therapy is provided one-on-one or in groups to treat articulation, receptive and expressive language, auditory processing, fluency, social pragmatics, oral motor, prosody, and more.
The speech department collaborates with teachers, administrators, and parents to generalize speech and language goals outside of the therapy room. Social language skills programs are run daily during lunch by the speech and counseling department. Students are taught a variety of social skills targeting perspective taking, conversational skills, friendship, problem-solving, and overall social competence. The speech department also uses a variety of highly specialized programs, including Social Thinking®, HearBuilders®, and VoicePro®, to supplement speech instruction. In addition to providing therapy to meet students’ speech and language goals, our mission is to ensure that each child develops speech and language skills to facilitate personal, social, and intellectual growth inside and outside of the classroom.
Elementary School Extra Curricular Activites
Terrific Opportunities for Children to Show His or Her Strengths
Our clubs typically meet during school hours and offers opportunities for each student to show off their strengths, build confidence and make new friends.
Beginning in the Elementary School, and continuing throughout the High School and LIFE Academy programs, students are offered the following:
- Student Council
- Enrichment clubs
- STEAM activities
- Music and Theater, including our Bergen PAC Artist-in-Residence program
- Instrumental lessons
- Competitive sports
Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities at Banyan School
At Banyan School, we recognize the critical importance of extra-curricular activities in the development of social skills and interpersonal relationships.
Helping Kids Develop Powerful Life Skills Using Wood
Banyan collaborates with Maplewoodshop.com to help kids of all abilities learn with their hands using project-based, hand-tool woodworking.
This award-winning, project-based program develops cognitive, physical and occupational skills while stimulating creativity, imagination, focus, and problem solving.
- Tabletop Woodworking Stations
- Learning Hand Tools
- Project Planning and Step by Step Instructions
- Support and Advice
Banyan School is pleased to offer Cheerleading to our students. This activity is guided by the Speech and Language Department as well as staff volunteers.
Not only does this foster school wide spirit, it gives students the opportunity to improve their language skills, practice their social skills and boost their overall confidence. The Banyan Bulldog Cheerleaders practice once weekly during the school day throughout basketball season and perform at both home and away games. All students are welcome to join our cheerleading squad. We love to see our students shine!
Our HIB Specialists are:
Erin Wente for the Elementary School
Angela Randion, LCSW for the High School & LIFE Academy
Faculty & Staff
Get in Touch with Banyan