Saturday 19 January 2019

Moo Moo's is for everyone

St Margaret's playschool pioneers inclusion model

Fiona & Joseph Ward with Mary McGuinness.
Fiona & Joseph Ward with Mary McGuinness.
Shauna Davis, Mary & Heather Hendrick and Brigid Luttrell.
Catherine Noone, Catherine Dwyer, Adam Harris, Fiona Ferris, Jackie Braddish. Photo by Kevin Mcfeely

John Manning

A playschool in St Margaret's is setting the standard for inclusion by developing an early intervention model that helps integrate children with all kinds of special needs within a mainstream playschool.

Catherine Dwyer of Little Moos Moos playschool in St Margaret's explained: 'At Little Moo Moos our whole ethos is inclusion. We fully believe that if sufficient support is provided that any child can be and should be co-educated alongside their typically developing peers.'

The playschool has already won recognition for making that policy a reality. The playschools efforts have been recognised by Early Childhood Ireland and in 2016 Catherine Dwyer of Little Moo Moos Playschool was awarded the overall National award for her Inclusion Policy.

Catherine explained: 'Little Moo Moos Playschool has developed its own model 'Fledgling Model' for Early Intervention within a mainstream playschool.

'Little Moo Moos is unique in that we are a mainstream Playschool that provides inclusion with full support of an active on-site Early intervention Team.

'We also strongly advocate that inclusive education benefits not only children with additional needs but also hugely benefits typically developing peers and siblings.'

Explaining how the model works in more detail, Catherine said: 'Little Moo-Moos Playschool utilises an original model when assessing the educational needs of each child and provides an individualised education plan and continuous behaviour support for all children with additional needs.

'Early Intervention Support is offered at Little Moo-Moos to children aged two and eight months to six years with a variety of needs and diagnoses such as and not limited to, Speech and language delay, Dyspraxia, ASD and physical care needs.'

She explained: 'We encourage a multidisciplinary environment, and work alongside parents and their child to ensure we meet the needs of each child.

'We offer a diverse environment that allows generalisation of new skills to be achieved.'

As part of its diverse work force, Little Moo-Moos currently has am active multidisciplinary team which consists of a consultant Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), Qualifed ABA tutors, Montessori staff, Early years educators and a resource teacher. According to Catherine: 'Each child's individualised education plan is designed following individual assessment to incorporate individual learning areas and behaviour support intergrated into play-based, emergent and Montessori Curriculum underpinned by the Aistear and Síolta quality programmes.'

Fingal Independent