Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Early childhood facility receives therapeutic play area

Published:Sunday | February 23, 2020 | 12:18 AM

Students of St Elizabeth Early Childhood Education and Therapeutic Centre in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, got a new therapeutic play area, constructed courtesy of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council (MAC) in Santa Cruz.

The play area, outfitted with a monkey bar, slide, see-saw, and a swing, was officially handed over to the centre on February 4.

The centre caters to children with disabilities, therefore, the play area enables the youngsters to develop a higher level of interaction through structured play in a safe and secure environment.

Madge Sanderson, centre manager, said that the play area was important as it facilitates the development of the children.

“We were not able to have our children playing as we would want them to as play for them is therapy. Therefore, now that we have this equipment, it will help them in their development, balance, and cognition, as well as to build their muscles,” she said.

The centre caters to 20 students with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, intellectual challenges, speech defects, autism, microcephaly (a medical condition where the child is born with a small head); and hydrocephalus (a medical defect where the child is born with a large head). In addition, there are 60 additional students who benefit from home visits.

Lorna Sinclair, business relationship and sales manager for St Elizabeth at JN Bank, said that due to financial challenges experienced by the institution and the need to assist students with disabilities, JN Bank MAC decided to help.

NEW PLAYGROUND

“When we visited the school, we recognised that there was a need. Yes, the students do have disabilities, however, we do not want them to be cloaked up inside every day, all day long. They needed to be outside playing and enjoying the sunlight. With the new play area, now they are more active,” she said.

Children between the ages of one to 16 years are enrolled at the centre, and they are from the communities of Santa Cruz, Burnt Savanna, Knoxwood, Pepper, Goshen Middle Quarters, Waterloo Community and New Market.

Established in 2006, the centre initially started doing home visits to children who resided in nearby communities who were physically challenged. Sanderson said that this approach to therapy was not productive, therefore, the administration recognised that more contact time was needed with the youngsters.

Eventually, a school offered services for three days per week, and since November last year, it has been operating five days per week due to additional funding.

The JN Bank MAC, formerly known as the Branch Advisory Councils, was established in 2006 to provide JN members with the opportunity to engage directly in the identification and selection of projects that would have a positive impact on challenges experienced in their communities.

Over the years, the MACs have implemented numerous worthy projects in communities across the country. With the establishment of the JN Circle, the activities of the MAC will now be subsumed into the JN Circle, a national network of service clubs.