Peer Connections

The community is an integral part of ECLC students' experiences throughout their years at our schools! From the beginning, ECLC has reached out to nearby schools to nurture opportunities for inclusion, such as:

  • Participating in friendly field days, sports clinics, evening and after-school programs
  • Playing on teams through the Special Olympics Unified Team
  • Performing together in an award-winning bell choir

These longtime programs, teams and special events benefit both the ECLC students and those from other schools, creating greater understanding and awareness about children with special needs.

Chatham School
  • For the past 12 years, students from Millburn High have been coming to shoot hoops in the gym, create arts and crafts projects, play board games and bingo and socialize through the P.A.I.R.S. program. P.A.I.R.S. stands for "Partners in Afterschool Inclusive Recreation for Special Needs." The initiative won a state Innovations Award in 2008 from ASAH and the New Jersey School Boards Association.
  • In 2012, Chatham High School launched the "Teens Connecting with Teens" club to forge new friendships with ECLC students. This club organizes activity nights and special events throughout the year. See a video of the program.
  • Every winter, the Chatham High School Football team challenges the ECLC Tigers in a friendly basketball scrimmage. In the Spring, the Chatham Cougar Lacrosse Club spends an afternoon teaching ECLC's students new tricks with sticks.
  • In the Special Olympics "Play Unified" program, ECLC students have competed in basketball, soccer and bowling tournaments on teams with students from Chatham High School. View photos on Facebook.
  • For many years, students from the Pingry School have volunteered in ECLC's after-care program, and in 2017, a group of drama students spent a day with the upper school getting to know each other and performing skits.
  • The New Providence High School chorus has performed, visited with students and taken part in an all-school joint performance. And other students have participated in a field day with the Upper School.
  • In an annual tradition, each year, Madison Junior High School students socialize at an ECLC lower school dance.
  • Students from the Washington School in Chatham visit Lower School students once a month for art and crafts activities.
Ho-Ho-Kus School

The award-winning Ripple Effect Program is named appropriately. It has built lasting connections, not just superficial relationships, between students at the local Ho-Ho-Kus public school and ECLC students. The public school sits just a mile down the road, and the two school principals ECLC's Vicki Lindorff and Alexis Eckert of Ho-Ho-Kus created the Ripple Effect Program to bring the students together all year long.

The first connection began in the spring of 2015, when staff and students from the public school participated in a walk-a-thon at ECLC to raise money for a new playground. Since then, students have collaborated on classroom and school-wide curriculum experiences, including: a Pep Rally for Respect, a pen-pal exchange, with built-in classroom visits/lessons, a Kiwanian Holiday Luncheon, Read Across America Day, an art show, a field day, a zumbathon and joining in ECLC's bell choir for several performances.

Seeing each other through a fresh lens, these students have gained a deeper and mutual understanding of each other. For the public school students especially, it has shown them that students with disabilities may have differences, but their needs are identical to that of anyone else: to be shown kindness, respect, and absolute acceptance.

  • Students from Northern Highlands Regional High School visit ECLC each month the afterschool Buddy up Club.
  • Ramapo High School's Interact Club helps with afterschool zumba and yoga.

Harding School Our Chatham students spent the day at nearby Harding School, making new friends, playing in the gym, creating an art project and enjoying a snack!

student bell choir performance Ho-Ho-Kus students and their peers in the public school were in synch, during a bell choir performance.

celebrating Dr. Seuss Day Read Across America was an opportunity for students from the Ho-Ho-Kus public school to visit with our students and celebrate the whimsy of Dr. Seuss.

bowling with the Play Unified program Chatham Teacher Russell Fay was named Coach of the Season" by Special Olympics for his work in the Play Unified program!