School for children with learning disabilities to be built in Westmoreland
An early childhood educational institution, catering to children with learning disabilities, is to be built on the campus of the Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School, in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, and opened at the start of the 2016/17 academic year, in September.
An initiative of the Rockhouse Foundation, the non-profit charitable arm of the Negril-based Rockhouse Hotel in Westmoreland, the school will prepare students with special needs for transition and integration into the regular general classroom, thereby enabling their interaction with youngsters in that setting and access to similar teaching instructions delivered to those pupils.
The project is being facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Education, and Rockhouse Foundation, which was signed during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School, on the weekend.
Speaking after the ceremony, Foundation President, Peter Rose, said the project was the most "ambitious and exciting" engagement his organization has ever undertaken.
He said it was conceptualized five years ago following discussions with a member of the Rockhouse Hotel's staff, who advised him of challenges she experienced in getting her autistic child assessed and, thereafter, identifying a institution in Westmoreland, to enroll the youngster.
"I wanted to do something to help (her and) the parents of (other) children with special needs...both developmental and physical," he noted, pointing out that he was particularly "thrilled" that the Foundation treated the project as a priority, while expressing gratitude for Education Ministry's support.
This initiative will not only assimilate children with disabilities into a general education setting, but will also serve the entire community by properly training and educating teachers and parents to detect and work with children with both developmental and physical delays," Mr. Rose outlined, adding that it was an "important step" in the right direction, especially for the parish of Westmoreland.