Community Based Instruction Ideas For Your Students

As Special Educators we know how important it is for our students to learn certain skills in the environment they will be making use of them. Expecting our students to generalize certain skills isn’t fair. Here are a few ideas of community sites that may be good for some of your students to go to in order to learn to be independent. Don’t forget when going on a community outing, have some kind of plan for students to learn certain skills. Remember the point of taking the trip and what you want your students to get out of the lesson.


  1. Post Office
  • Have students write a letter and learn how to mail it. This helps them practice writing skills and learn how to interact with people through writing. If you can speak to another school to set up pen pals with their class, students can write back and forth.
  1. Laundromat
  • Practice doing laundry but also how to independently take care of themselves in case they may need to.
  • Learn the process for putting coins in and doing laundry.
  1. Grocery Store
  • Plan a cooking activity, make a grocery list, have students help find items and practice paying for groceries.
  • No money? You can even make a list of items to search for, have students write down prices, and go back to school to calculate how much they would need to make a purchase.
  1. Fast Food
  • Practice looking at a menu, ordering fast food, and paying for their purchase.
  1. Dine In Restaurant
  • Practice table manners, ordering food, sitting and eating at a dine in restaurant, behaving appropriately in the community, and paying for their meal.
  1. Library
  • Learn how to have a library card, look for books, ask for help, and check out their own books! (as well as not lose them to return them a few weeks later)
  1. Cue Bus/Subway
  • Students can learn how to use public transportation.
  • Practice reading a schedule or map, find best route to get to desired location, pay for ticket or ride, be aware to get off at correct stop etc.
  1. Park
  • It can be a fun trip where they go to eat lunch and work on skills like having appropriate community behavior, sitting at a picnic bench, riding the bus etc.
  • OR you can make it more of a work trip, students can help keeping the park clean or picking up trash/bottles.
  1. Fun Activities like Bowling
  • Although it’s for fun, things like this can help students practice skills like… ordering their own shoes, paying for the activity, taking turns while bowling, interacting with other people, behaving in the community, dealing with winning or losing, and riding the bus to and from a location.
  1. Police Station/Fire Station
  • This is more of a field trip than CBI, but you could make your students aware of these places in their community. They can learn who these people are, how they can help if you need it etc.
  • You can also embed things like using transportation, learning about job skills/professions, and learning about what is in your community.

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