In Halifax and Sydney for Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired
In September 2017, the APSEA BVI Social Worker and the BVI Preschool Team created a framework for a monthly preschool playgroup for babies and children on the APSEA caseload. The focus for this school year was to create a monthly playgroup in Halifax and Sydney. There were a few reasons for the creation of the playgroup; to create a play environment designed for children with a sensory loss, to connect families, to learn from each other and to have fun. The dates were set and distributed to itinerant teachers in the Halifax and Sydney area. Families were encouraged to bring preschool siblings as well.
As with most new programs, we started small but we built on the momentum. When our families who are English Language Learners were interested in joining the playgroup we provided interpreter services. We had many repeat families, and in Sydney we were delighted to welcome preschool children and families from the DHH caseload.
The parents had an opportunity to talk to each other, share stories and helpful information. Many times we heard parents saying this is exactly what was needed, a safe place to bring the children where they can be different and that is the norm. The children were happy to be in a place where they could easily cruise around with other children. The playgroups also provided an alternate place for itinerant teachers to work and observe children on their caseloads.
“This is exactly what I needed, a playgroup for my child with other children who have a sensory loss and other parents who understand.” – parent from one of the playgroups.
Watch for program information for the 2018-2019 school year!