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  • Southside

Stewart’s Special School aims for new playground

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 6:00pm
Stewart’s Special School aims for new playground

Stewarts School has been running a fundraiser for six months.

Stewart’s Special School aims for new playground

Stewarts School has been running a fundraiser for six months.

Gabija Gataveckaite

A SPECIAL education school in Palmerstown is aiming to raise €160,000 by next September for a playground for their new school, which they will be moving into next year. 

The total cost of the playground is €200,000. The Department of Education has committed to fund €40,000 - the rest the school must raise themselves. 

Stewart’s School has been running a fundraiser for six months and have already raised almost €35,000. 

“We’re all just teachers, we’ve no experience fundraising but we’re very proud of everyone’s efforts and we’re very thankful for all the donations so far,” a teacher at the school, Anna Lombard Perito, told Southside People.

“Parents have been very generous with fundraisers, and school staff have been bag packing in supermarkets. Staff and parents have led lots of events and there’s a lot coming up over the Christmas.”

The 120-pupil school will expand by an additional 40 students when they move to a new building next September.

The school is currently spread over several campuses and aims to amalgamate primary and secondary school students, who range from the ages of four to 18 on the new campus, 

However, the new school does not have a specialised playground. 

It is envisagd that the playground will include equipment to meet the needs of all students, with a wheelchair swing and a sensory garden.

However, this means that the specialised equipment is very expensive. 

“The company providing the equipment just need the funds,” Anna added.

The school has 23 teachers and its students all have learning disabilities, which range from moderate to severe. Its students include wheelchair users, as well as those with visual or hearing impairments while others are autistic. 

According to Anna, play is extremely important for children with intellectual disabilities. 

“The biggest message is how important play is for our students - it is fundamental for their education,” she explained. “My students have complex physical needs and play lets them practise movement and express themselves. 

“For children with visual or hearing impairments, play lets them strengthen their other senses,” she added.

The goal is now to reach €50,000 by the new year. 

“We’re looking for people to donate, spread awareness and donate prizes for upcoming pub quizzes so we can raffle them off,” Anna said. 

“We’ve been reaching out to companies for products to raffle off, but we’re looking for help in any way, including time.”

The fundraising will continue over the Christmas season with staff singing in Dundrum Shopping Centre from 7pm on December 7 and in Blanchardstown on December 14 from 7.30pm. The school will also be at Familibase in Ballyfermot with mince pies and music on Thursday, December 13.


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