When St Paul’s College students step onto their new school grounds in 2019 – there’s one place six-year old Jack will beeline for.
“Jack is a little guy who loves all things automobile,” his mum Gabrielle says. “Give him a truck, digger, train, bus, boat and he is a happy boy. He loves going to the park and riding his bike.”
Jack is one of 65 students who will benefit from Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ (VMCH) Donate to Create appeal, funding a new Discovery Centre of Imagination at the soon-to-be relocated St Paul’s College.
Part of the new centre in Balwyn will include fantastic outdoor play spaces, perfect for inquisitive and active kids like Jack.
An indoor trampoline, cubby houses and interactive games and are just some of the items set to enhance the students’ lives for generations to come.
“We hope that Jack will continue to be inquisitive and keep learning and progressing. The different rooms will help children learn in different ways. Jack loves playing outside so a new outdoor area will be fantastic,” Gabrielle said.
Unlike most students at St Paul’s, Jack and his nine Bridging Program classmates are hopeful to not enjoy the new school for very long.
The Bridging Program provides a gradual transition into mainstream school for preps with additional needs. They attend St Paul’s three days a week where they benefit from small class sizes, support from allied health professionals and specialist teachers. They also attend the mainstream school of their choice for the other two days.
Though the ultimate aim is for Jack to graduate from St Paul’s to Richmond Primary School full-time, Gabrielle encouraged the community to support the appeal.
“To get behind this appeal means so much to families and the children with needs attending the school. It will help children like Jack to thrive in their new environment and be able to continue to learn and hopefully one day be able to be independent.”
St Paul’s College Principal Tim Hemphill said the centre will “support real life scenarios and give life-affirming skills in a safe and sensory- specific learning environment”.
“We are fortunate to have highly skilled teachers, therapists and education support staff who are committed to supporting our children to reach their full potential,” Tim said.
“We hope that – with community support – we can give our teachers and their teams the best possible environment from which to deliver an outstanding education so that our students can continue to flourish and thrive.”
If you would like to be a part of this life-changing appeal, please make a donation online, call us on 1800 036 377, or come along to our free Art and Craft Exhibition fundraising event at Hawthorn Town Hall, 10am to 4pm on Saturday, November 17.