We are very proud to say that the JMCC preschool program will continue to be a service and facility open to families in our community. The program has been revamped and restructured to make it a more financially viable program that will live on to see many future years.
The program focus has shifted slightly (and I mean sightly) to the addition of more typically developing children. What a wonderful plan, a fully integrated program where children of all abilities can learn and grow together.
We were part of the program launch last week. I felt really proud to have seen the program through to this point and even more proud to have my 2 girls enrolled together. The program is a family plan for us and for that we couldn't be more thankful.
Here are the links to the media coverage of the event:
I was asked to speak about why the centre was a good fit for our family. I will attach the speech for those who would like to have a read.
We have two daughters Hazel who is 3 1/2 and has down syndrome and Nola who will be two in November. Hazel has been attending for about six months.
In the beginning Hazel had a lot of anxiety about being anywhere that was unfamiliar to her. When we started her here the staff had the ability to help her through that anxiety, and make her feel safe and comforted. The staff is still able to maintain a constant level of safety and comfort and ensure that Hazel is happy even while they undergo some program changes.
One of the main reasons this facility makes sense for Hazel is the on-site therapy. Her speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physiotherapist, are never very far away and able to come visit on a regular basis to check on Hazel's progress and consult with the staff at the preschool about current and future goals.
Not to mention that there is a resource consultant in the classroom who provides extra support on a daily basis for the staff and the students.
This facility is not only capable of meeting hazels needs but it is easy, affordable and provides an opportunity to be ONE place that supports our entire family's needs.
Being able to send Nola will be such a blessing for us in many ways.
1. Our girls will be together helping with comfort and familiarity
2. Having one consistent place to drop both our kids off will make the day to day craziness that much more manageable.
3. It provides opportunity for an integrated program. For Hazel to reach her full potential she needs to be around typically developing peers so that she has a model for behavior and language. It is important to us the new preschool model took that into account. But just as equally important for us is that Nola will be able to grow with children of all abilities. Not only does the program offer inclusion for our kids with special needs, it also offers inclusion to typically developing children, creating an environment of learning, caring and growing together starting from a very young age, helping prepare them for the inclusionary environment of the school system.
We believe in order for both of our children to reach their full potential an integrated model is the best. Children working together of all abilities creates awareness, knowledge and compassion. I want that for my kids. I want that for Hazel, who has special needs. And I want that for Nola who has TYPICAL needs.
We feel that the new program design has a real focus and commitment to helping all children grow to the best of their ability regardless of what that might mean for each child. Not only do they have the commitment to do this they have a plan, a program model and support that will help them to actually succeed.
We live in a world that focusses on the things children with special needs CAN'T DO but at the JMCC they focus on the things they CAN. And as a parent you're always worried that your other children suffer or don't get everything they need because you are consumed by caring for your other child. Here at the JMCC they work with us to make sure both our children get the best possible care and attention they need to grow. We are super excited to have this program available to us as a viable plan for our entire family.
I have so enjoyed being a part of this process - even when it was an emotional one. We feel good about our choice to send both our girls to the same place. We also feel equally confident that each child will get the attention they need to grow to reach their full potential.
Hop over to the John McGivney Facebook page for more info and to keep updated on the coming events.
A HUGE THANK YOU!!!!!
To all our our supporters here at Chasing Hazel. Whenever we ask you to stand up and help us you JUMP. So many of you have shared our story via Facebook and I can't tell you what that means to us. Thanks for all your support and your continued concern for the future of the children at the JMCC preschool.