Most labs run one or two "work shifts" or "sessions" (class periods) per day, which are at least one hour long, and sometime 1 1/2 hours long. It is recommended that students work in the First Step lab at least four days a week, but it is set up for five days a week; so five days a week is most typical. Students should be in the lab at a minimum of a semester, but some are in for a year, some for two years. This is dependent on varying student abilities and scheduling. It is also recommended that you have one assigned person to keep track of your lab.
Typically you would send any staff that might work in the lab including teaching staff, paras, and/or aides. Many districts also invite their OT’s to attend the training.
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This example floor plan is meant to be a framework to follow, and would be modified to suit programming and student/worker needs. Read on for more details, and how to plan your classroom/space.
Typically students work in First Step at sit down tables, however you could also include 1-2 stand-up work tables, depending on the functioning levels of your students, and the goals for your students. (Do you want to work on increasing the First Step students endurance in being able to stand up for work?) The example floor plan shows 572 square feet. This is just an example, and this much space, and a dedicated space is not required. So you can use the space for other programming. The example floor plan is set up for a maximum of 6 students with 4 paras. The first step lab is typically one staff per one student, or one staff per two students, depending on the functioning level of the student(s). You can adjust the number of seats and tables based on how many students. The lab comes with a rolling tool case, which you can use, but some districts are choosing to put up a peg board tool wall (at their own expense) so the tools are readliy available and visible. This is totally up to you. It is also nice to have a sink in the room. Some districts put their First Step Lab in their “life skills room” where there is already a stove, fridge, washer, dryer, etc.…. These appliances are not connected with First Step – But the First Step Skills could be elongated into other life skills activities using these appliances.