Can you plant some seeds for St Dominic's students?

One very specific teaching of Jesus was that at the very heart of our concern and actions in following him should be, before all else, our determination to meet the needs of everyone in our community.

In plain Aussie terms that might translate as ‘helping kids to whom learning doesn’t come easily is simply ensuring a fair go’.

And that is why a school such as St Dominic’s, Mayfield, is so central to the educational focus of the diocese.

The students at St Dominic’s merely require some specialised assistance within a supportive environment so that they might be enabled to develop their abilities more fully and achieve their potential.

St Dominic’s is a school which caters for the educational needs of some 30 students from Kindergarten to Year Ten. Established in 1993, it is situated next to San Clemente High School in Mayfield and its staff see their impetus as being very much in the footsteps of the Dominican sisters whose legacy on the site stretches back 143 years.

The teachers at St Dominic’s have qualifications in Special Education appropriate to the requirements of their students. Until recently the school aimed to meet the needs of young folk with impaired hearing but its role is now slowly expanding to include additional disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Moderate Cognitive Delay.

Under the leadership of the principal, Mrs Veronica McLoughlin, the school staff is a dynamic team achieving wonderful things. A real concern regarding the school’s physical environment has, however, come under their collective microscope: the need to create an outdoors area which is green, stimulating to the senses and conducive to outdoor learning. To this end a three-stage plan encompassing perceived needs has been envisaged, the main thrusts being to:

  • Establish a sensory garden and play area that allows interactive play for the students
  • Extend the area by installing sensory equipment and features that assist in student’s formal and informal learning, especially with emotional regulation.
  • Establish a structured play area that provides an opportunity for students to work in small groups or independently, to hone explicitly taught social skills and to utilise all available space in the school for learning.

The vision, however, requires direction so the school is issuing a ‘call to action”, an appeal for people with the expertise to help design structures and for kind donations to defray anticipated expenses.

“This project has the potential to increase the students’ opportunities at St Dominic’s significantly. It’s also very ‘Dominican’ to create places of beauty and contemplation,” said Veronica McLoughlin.

Should any reader be able to offer assistance, please P St Dominic’s, 4968 1295.

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John Murray

John is a member of the Aurora Editorial Team.

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