Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairperson of the Digicel Foundation, says the opening of a new inclusive classroom at the Jamaica China Goodwill Infant School in St Thomas demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to inclusivity.
“The purpose of this classroom is at the heart of everything we do at Digicel Foundation to promote inclusiveness. It means that no one is left behind. It means togetherness, including the little ones with special needs, who need to feel loved and secure in their school environment,” she said.
Lowrie-Chin was speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the classroom last Tuesday (September 19).
The room, which was developed through a partnership with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), will cater for young children ages three to six years old with mild to moderate physical and intellectual disabilities.
“Within this classroom, you will find a state-of-the-art sensory room, which includes panel mats, sensory lights, fibre optic bean bags, a fibre optic curtain kit, LED strip lights, and noise cancelling earphones,” Lowrie-Chin detailed.
The Digicel Foundation also retrofitted the existing bathroom, constructed a ramp on the outside for access, and renovated an outdoor play area.
In her remarks, ECC chairperson, Trisha Williams-Singh reiterated the importance of inclusive education. “Inclusive education aids children by improving their cognitive, motor, speech, social and emotional development through their communication with peers. It also leads to the formation of a tolerant attitude and natural awareness of people with disabilities,” she noted.
Williams-Singh further thanked the Digicel Foundation for their continued commitment to the special needs sector.
“The Early Childhood Commission would like to thank you so much, and we encourage you to not only do more but I use this platform to ask other corporate Jamaica to come on board,” she said.
In her remarks, Yashieka Blackwood-Grant, acting Region 2 director at the Ministry of Education, shared that the school promises to care and maintain the space.
“We commit, every time we receive a gift, to taking the best care of it because we receive it as an investment. We know that there are countless children who must benefit from this investment, and so, this investment is going to bring returns for years to come,” declared Blackwood-Grant, who spoke on behalf of the acting Permanent Secretary, Maureen Dwyer
The partnership between the Digicel Foundation and the ECC was forged under the commission’s Jamaica 60 Legacy Project to establish inclusive classrooms in rural Jamaica.
The Jamaica China Goodwill Infant School inclusive classroom is the second such facility to be formed under the partnership.