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Marine, IL: New special school will cater to kids with developmental delays/autism

Dec 15, 2023, The Star: US diner transforms into a school for children with special needs

A diner in Marine, Illinois in the United States changed into a school for elementary-aged special education students earlier this year. Now that it’s been open for eight weeks, The Nurture School seeks more students.

Carmen Loemker owns and operates the school.

“It’s been busy and exciting,” she said since she opened the doors. “We have some students and we are seeing some progress. It’s been rewarding.”

She would not give exact enrollment but described it as a handful of students. The school’s capacity is 30 students.

As for challenges, she noted that changing schools can be hard on students and there is an adjustment process.

Special education schools provide tailored support, nurturing growth and confidence for children with unique abilities.

She is working on a publicity letter and the text is from the letter: “I am writing to make you aware of a new special education facility in your area specifically designed to support students with social emotional disabilities. Our facility was designed with gated entry, soft furniture, affixed workspace and more to prevent issues with common safety concerns.

Minimalism and natural colours reduce overstimulation and promote safety and the use of calming strategies.

“We are open and currently serving students in kindergarten through fifth-grade who struggle in traditional special education settings and would love to support more students.

We offer occupational therapy, speech, counseling and social emotional lessons throughout the day with a focus on cognitive therapy principles and the AIM (Accept, Identify, Move) curriculum.

"We are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education to serve students with intellectual disabilities, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairment, emotional disability, other health impairment, developmental delay and autism. We also offer an intensive program for students requiring 1:1 support.

“The Nurture School came about from my 24 years of experience in public schools with 16 years as an administrator supporting students, families and staff.”…


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