Monday, June 17, 2013

One Love

We are officially on holiday from school and Angi and I have been biding our time doing computer work at the Moshi version of Starbucks, camping out from morning til night, slurping Americanos like there's no more tomorrow.  Aside from going through the data we collected from assessment and planning our curriculum modifications, I have been busy scouting fundraising possibilities, working on business banking, and getting back into web development - I cannot even BELIEVE the Toa Nafasi site is STILL not up, African time at its worst!!  I hope to rectify that situation tout de suite!!

At any rate, I came across this article from The Gleaner out of Jamaica, West Indies, and being the "Jewmaican" that I am, it caught my eye.  Check out the post below regarding a special education center in St. Andrew's parish, just north of Kingston.


The McCam Child Development Center, which provides for children up to eight years old from gifted to slow learners, is now planning some fund-raising activities to ensure that its doors remain open.  According to a member of the team at the center, Juliene Campbell-Donaldson, the operational cost of the facility has been a burden over the years.

"We have spent countless hours trying to keep afloat," she noted, adding that its partnership with the government and other entities has helped.  Campbell-Donaldson is hoping these partnerships will continue to facilitate the work of the center which has been operating for almost 30 years.

The McCam Child Development Center opened its doors in 1986 in response to the demand for educational programming for children with a range of special needs at the early-childhood level.  The center has as its motto: 'It is no small thing to influence a child so fresh from the hands of God.'

The uniqueness of this institution for children is in the integration of the student population.  Children with special needs work alongside gifted children without special needs.  This allows for the acquisition of skills, as these children work and play together.  Another advantage of this system is the increased awareness and sensitivity it brings to each other, particularly those with disabilities.

The inclusive education program runs from nursery education to a preschool program, which takes care of the requirements of the student population, including those with special needs between the ages of six months and six years.

In September 1987, under the umbrella of the center, a unit for the Total Development of Special Needs Children was established.  It is a not-for-profit organization which focuses attention on those children with special needs in the program.  The unit is governed by a board of directors, and the center works in collaboration with other agencies and government institutions to develop and effectively implement early intervention services, and facilitates the operation of and understanding of the various needs of these children.

Children with disabilities now make up 40 percent of the population of the center's nursery and school program.  Educational and early childhood institutions and medical practitioners refer children to the center for assessment and therapeutic interventions.

The McCam Center serves the entire island, and has established itself as an essential arm for both the disability sector (in special education) and in early childhood education.  Through therapeutic intervention, the children are served by a team consisting of an occupational therapist, a school psychologist, a clinical psychologist, a behavioral specialist, and a special educator.

The center also conducts workshops and seminars for teachers and parents, and provides practical experience for students from various institutions.  It also serves as a resource center for the dissemination of information on children with special needs.

The McCam curriculum was the first published early childhood curriculum in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

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