”When you walk in the door at Bellcate it is usually a beehive of activity. There are classes going on, meals being made, artwork and schoolwork being hung in the hallways, maybe gardening going on out front. There are kids of various ages and all levels of ability/disability busy with their school tasks. It may feel free and unstructured, but it is not — everyone knows exactly what they are trying to do, why and how. Great care is taken to meet each student’s needs in the best way possible.
Bellcate has been a godsend. I would highlight two key aspects.
They accept and work with students in ways that more traditional schools can’t or won’t. They are committed to finding an appropriate structure for the student through a combination of standard practices, creativity, and even thoughtful trial-and-error. Bellcate accepts and works with the child as he or she is rather than as someone who needs to be “fixed” to fit into the world.
I think the most important thing is that both my daughter and I view Bellcate as family. Parents often find it hard to find a welcoming environment in the community, and Bellcate is it. There are also lots of events like sports and festivals and community dinners that foster this feeling.
My daughter really does consider Bellcate to be a huge part of her world. Students do go on to find their place in the world and they come back to visit Bellcate for years afterwards.”