Photo: Lisa Fenwick with donated Ssensory board.
It's not often that students and staff in the Limestone District School Board talk about how much better the facilities and range of programming are in the northern schools, but when it comes to special education, North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne has something that Loughborough Public School in Sydenham desperately wants.
And if Lisa Fenwick can do anything about it, it is something they will be getting over the next year or so.
Fenwick has worked as an educational assistant at both Prince Charles Public School in Verona and at Loughborough. She is on leave this year in order to complete her undergraduate degree at Queen's, after which she intends go to teachers’ college to become a special education teacher.
In the meantime she is volunteering and orchestrating a $40,000 fundraising campaign to equip a multi-sensory room at Loughborough Public School.
The project was kick-started last winter when the school administration was able to free up a room for multi-sensory equipment, and by April the first $10,000 had already been raised.
This Saturday afternoon there will be a community event in the parking lot at Loughborough Public School to raise money for the room.
Many events are planned, including performances by the Sydenham High School band Island View, and Bauder Road. There will also be children’s events, with face painting, a crafts corner and climbing equipment. The fire department will be there with a display, as will the people from the Pampered Chef. There will be a strong man demonstration featuring a bus pull, and the OPP will be on hand with a radar gun to measure baseball throws. Food will be available at the canteen and there will also be a BBQ between 4:30 and 6:00 pm.
The silent auction includes one very timely item: 2.5 cubic cords of wood (delivered) courtesy of Bill Holland and son; a weekend getaway to a resort in Barry’s Bay; an introductory parachuting flight; and 2 tickets to a Sens game (on the 200 level), along with numerous other items. Three bicycles will be raffled off as well.
“Multi-sensory rooms are such a benefit to students with a variety of different challenges, that I think people who support this will find their money will have impacts for many years,” said Lisa Fenwick early this week.
Students with physical and developmental disabilities are the primary beneficiaries of multi-sensory rooms, which feature visual, audio and tactile apparatus, all designed to fit the room and the needs of the children who will be using the room.
The five school to community students at Loughborough as well as the school to community class at Sydenham High School will be using the room, and it will also be available to students from Prince Charles, Elginburg, Perth Road and Harrowsmith public schools.
“I think the rooms are absolutely wonderful. For some children I've worked with, including autistic and physically disabled students, multi-sensory rooms make a huge difference.”
In addition to special needs students, students with behavioural issues, family issues, and others may find it to be a safe haven at times.
“Of the 540 students at Loughborough, about 70 could make use of the room,” said Lisa Fenwick.
Fenwick said she hasn't made plans for further fundraisers after this Saturday, but she is determined to complete the fundraising project before the end of the school year.