Inside the 90-year old Wabasso School in Indian River County, it’s a new day. A handful of students watch as a new mixer works on a batch of pizza dough.
This is the special education schools’ new REAL lab. REAL stands for Room of Engaging Ability Learning. Students in this transition program are 18 to 22 years old.
“I’m learning how to take care of myself plus life skills," said student Joe Quick.
“It’s an opportunity for our students to practice, work through and master daily living skills, independent functioning, and operational skills," said Principal Kathy Pierandozzi.
There’s a working laundry area, and bedroom and bathroom spaces that need to be kept tidy.
This project funded by a nearly 100-thousand dollar grant from the John’s Island Foundation.
“This is a bigger classroom. This is life. This is your day to days that we all take for granted and these children just need a little extra help learning to do things," said Jennifer Jones with the foundation.
“The first time I walked in to be honest, I cried. I know these children and I know where it’s going to take them and that gives me goosebumps," said Cynthia Falardeau with the Education Foundation of Indian River County.
Not only is there a working kitchen, there’s a working print shop where orders will come in front from throughout the district, and the kids will make the posters. The first order came in from Treasure Coast Elementary. One goal is to make the Lab feel like home.
“So when I get older I can live independently and cook some stuff for myself or for my family," said Quick.