Forty students enrolled in the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) will be graduating on July 11, at a ceremony to be held at the Apostolic Church of Jamaica, Kingston Gardens, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Director of the ESP, Antonica Gunter-Gayle, told JIS News that the ceremony will be in honour of the 40 students registered under the programme, who will be moving on to regular primary schools, as well as special education institutions.
"We are excited about the ceremony, which is a major achievement for our special needs children. It is indeed a proud moment for many parents, especially those who lacked hope that their child would have excelled, considering the many challenges faced. It is truly a great feeling for the ESP, to see these children move on to the primary level,” she said.
She revealed that from the 40 students, a total of 10 will be moving on to regular primary schools, while the remaining 30 will be placed in the special education system.
Some of the primary and special needs schools that the graduates will be placed in are Alpha, Dunrobin, Waterford, Greater Portmore, Norman Gardens, School of Hope Jamaica, and Greater Portmore Learning Centre.
Mrs. Gunter-Gayle informed that placement of each child was based on several assessments, aimed at determining his or her level of readiness.
In addition, she noted that through the special education programme, children are placed according to where they are living, which enables ease of access.
"If a child lives within the Molynes Road area, they are placed at primary schools, such as: Our Lady of the Angels, St. Peter Claver and St. Jude’s,” she explained.
She told JIS News that the 10 children who will be placed in the regular primary schools, sat the grade one entry test, and were successful.
The Director is urging the public to lend a helping hand, because children with disabilities are capable of achieving much.
She pointed out that it is up to all citizens of Jamaica to ensure that children with special needs are given adequate and equal opportunities, so they can have a bright future.
For more information on the ESP, persons can contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at: 922-8000-13 or 922-5585.
By Jeneva Gordon,JIS PRO