When JAYNE NADARAJOO realised that there was a lack of integrated special needs schools in Singapore supporting children with learning difficulties, she opened Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) in 2014. The school aims to give differently-abled children and youth (three to 21 years) a great education in a warm and welcoming environment.
Says Jayne, “At MSIS, we discover and nurture the strengths of a child with special needs rather than focus on their disability. Every child should be valued as we believe they have the potential to contribute to society.”
Creating educational pathways for differently-abled children
The MSIS curriculum uses an integrated approach through a nurturing performing and visual arts-inspired programme. It’s been designed to help learners become confident and independent adults, regardless of their disabilities.
The school has adapted an ecosystem model for inclusive special needs education:
- Early Intervention and inclusive preschool programmes for students aged 2.5 to 6 years with a possible transition to mainstream primary school;
- Early Years 3 years to Pathways 16 years;
- Pathways 16 years to Transition to Life 25 years programme, with an option to transition to their sister school, the GUILD International College, Singapore’s first private arts and trade based college.
The Early Intervention and Early Years programmes focus on developing children’s communication and language skills, creative expression, physical skills and wellbeing, as well as personal and social development. This is through a multi-sensory approach to cater to the diverse. Jayne tells us more.
How does the ecosystem assess the needs of students and meet them?
We provide personalised care and education to meet the individual learning goals of our students. Shadow teachers and helpers are welcomed to support the children with high needs, if and when needed. Students are engaged and involved in a learning journey that supports a successful transition towards independent living or continued learning at The GUILD International College to prepare for work.
What are the areas of support available to students?
We have a full spectrum of support provided to teachers to meet the developmental needs of the students. Each term, we have scheduled visits from occupational, physio, music, speech and language therapists as well as music, dance and drama teachers. We have an assigned Clinical Psychologist to help with developmental assessments as well.
How does the school work with parents to address specific areas of concern?
We use a collaborative approach – all specialists, parents and teachers work towards the same Individual Learning Plan goals for each child. We share weekly individual updates, and portfolios and school reports at the end of each semester. Parents can reach us any time for a chat and share new information or concerns that they may have.
What are the different activities and methods used to engage Early Years students during class and for learning?
Routine is the structure of the day, and we have different activities planned to engage the students. We start the day with circle time then lead to music and movement, literacy and snack time. Then comes outdoor play, sensory activities, numeracy, lunch and art activities up to 3pm.
Students can start with half-day sessions (until 12 noon) and work towards a full-day session (8.30am to 3pm) as we prepare them for transition to a mainstream primary school, inclusive Year One programme or to the next Foundation level based on their developmental needs.
About Jayne & the MSIS educators
Jayne is a highly experienced educator, whose qualifications include:
- Masters in Teaching and Learning from Hibernia College, Ireland
- Diploma in Child Psychology
- Advanced studies in Early Childhood Care and Education
- Autism and Speech and Educational Drama
- Member of the International Association for Special Education in the US
In Singapore, she was named Indian Women Of The Year 2019 and won the Pulsar Category of Outstanding Career Achievements & Contributions to Society in the field of Education & Public Service.
The educators of MSIS have either a degree or diploma in Special Needs Education, Psychology or Education. They’re registered with the Council for Private Education.
To find out more about the educational pathways available to your child at MSIS, reach out to the school at 6634 8891 or book a tour of the school at msis.edu.sg.
Melbourne Specialist International School
75C Loewen Road
6634 8891 | msis.edu.sg
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