Through the years Perkins’ historical curriculum and programming have evolved to meet new challenges and goals while continually striving for excellence in education. Learn about the history of education for students with blindness and deafblindness and related innovations that extend well beyond the school.
Learn about the evolution of how students who were blind, deafblind, and visually impaired were educated.
Providing a geography curriculum, and the tactile tools necessary to learn it, was a priority as the school opened. Founding Director, Samuel Gridley Howe knew that his students would need to understand geography in order to function in the world.
Math curriculum has always been a core subject at Perkins and like other subject areas, required the development of tactile teaching tools. For complex mathematical problems, tactile devices take the place of pencil and paper and speed up calculations greatly.
Music curriculum has historically had a prominent place in the education of children who are blind. Perkins’ founding director Samuel G. Howe considered music as important as intellectual and physical education.
Reading and writing curricula, systems, and technologies for people who are blind have evolved over many centuries. Perkins has been part of this evolution, since its’ beginning, starting with the design of a new embossed reading system.
When the school started, the science curriculum at Perkins relied on the tactile exploration of models supplemented with theoretical instruction. Perkins founding director, Samuel Gridley Howe was committed to teaching “scientifically,” requiring his students to learn the theory of each field they studied instead of merely committing facts to memory.
Exercise, play, and sports activities for students who are blind have historically been a key component of a Perkins education. Perkins School for the Blind pioneered the first physical education program for students who were blind in the United States.