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Community Based Instruction (CBI)

Community-Based Instruction:

 Community-Based Instruction (CBI) is an effective instructional method for teaching, in real-life settings and under the supervision of educators, the skills that students will need for functional daily living as productive adults. CBI has been documented as an evidence-based practice by the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center.  

In the short term, CBI helps students develop age-appropriate skills for functioning outside the school environment. Ultimately, CBI prepares students for successful transition to adulthood after graduation, helps students to live independently, and enhances their quality of life.

CBI programs are hands-on and are implemented during trips to community locations. CBI is individualized to meet the particular needs of a student and to teach skills which relate to specific IEP goals or objectives. The following are four CBI domains:

  • Domestic – self-care and grooming, wellness, nutrition, cooking, laundry, housekeeping
  • Vocational – career exploration, employability skills, instructions, rules, schedules
  • Community – transportation, libraries, shopping, post office, restaurants,
  • Recreation and Leisure – crafts, games, parks, YMCA, bowling, golfing, movies, amusement parks

Academic, communication, and social skills are incorporated into CBI and may include the following:

  • Advocating for oneself
  • Purchasing groceries
  • Balancing a checkbook
  • Doing laundry
  • Using the public library
  • Locating, carrying and/or purchasing items in stores
  • Utilizing public transportation
  • Attending community events
  • Ordering food in a restaurant
  • Identifying potential employers through site visits

Trips to community locations occur concurrently with classroom instruction. Students may initially learn and practice a skill in the classroom; they will eventually practice the skill by applying it in a home or community setting. For example, a student who learns math skills in the classroom may later practice those skills during a shopping expedition.

Community-based instruction benefits students, parents and caregivers, educational staff, and the community. Some of the benefits, many of which include:

  • Students increase appropriate behaviors for work and community settings, independence and mobility, and the ability to generalize skills and knowledge to new situations.
  • Parents/Caregivers increase commitment, communication, cooperation, and participation in planning, programming, and skills identification.
  • Educational staff increases creativity, commitment, communication, and motivation.
  • Communities increase awareness of the potential of individuals with disabilities and school/private sector partnerships.



Van Wert Elementary CBI Trips

We go on one trip monthly. Each trip provides the student with a variety of experiences that exceed the classroom

learning environment. Some field trips that we attend include the pumpin patch, grocery stores, water park, a number

of restaurants, and other learning opportunities.



                                                                                 Polk School District Community Based Instruction

Julie Moilanen  – Special Ed. Director

Nancy Woods – Special Ed. Coordinator