The New York Institute For Special Education

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· Serving Students with Special Needs since 1831 ·
These Are Our Children (1957) » Home Economics

Home Economics

Students working at stoves. Caption: Under expert culinary heads, the students are taught the use and care of the modern equipment in our modern kitchen.
THE GIRLS are taught The girls are taught homemaking duties with as few special devices as possible, so that they will be properly prepared for their own adult life. Loose-leaf recipes in Braille are prepared and given to all the girls who take the courses. The Braille labels are used mainly for convenience, because blind cook is taught to select ingredients by the shape and weight of the container, or by taste if there is any doubt.

Student holding a box of mustard seeds with a wide array of spices nearby. Caption: Recipies, packaged materials like spices are marked in braille for easy identification.
The girls learn to separate egg yolks from the white by the weight method. After the egg is cracked, the white is strained, and the heavier of the two egg halves contains the yolk. Since special care must be taken by the blind in lighting stoves, students are cautioned to put the match flame under the burner instead of over it as a sighted housewife does. By sound and vibration, they judge the volume of the fire. In addition to the actual cooking of a meal, the students are taught how to set and serve a table. Often members of the school staff are invited into the domestic science dining room for refreshments and even full course meals.

Sewing instruction is also given. Dress materials are bought under the guidance of a sighted person. The girls vie with one another in taking small neat stitches. The tip of a finger on the left hand guides the needle in the right hand, helping to judge the length of stitches and the position of the material. They thread their own needles with the aid of a special device. Another phase of the sewing course features competition between classes on points of daily grooming and cleanliness.Female student at the stove. Caption: Student using electric stove in our new modern kitchen.

One of the small apartments on the school grounds is being used as a practice house. Here classes gain actual experience in the arrangement of furniture, draperies and pictures, and learn to criticize room layouts. Articles that are made in weaving, and sewing classes are used in part to furnish the apartment~. Housekeeping techniques are taught with emphasis on the everyday problems in homemaking. The cooking class often uses the apartment in planning and giving party meals.

Teenage girl working on a sewing machine. Caption: A meticulus "seamstress" at work.