A Tafelsig special needs school will soon be opening its doors to more children, especially those with autism.
Agapé School For Cerebral Palsied Children now has to furnish four newly built classrooms with equipment, internet, security and staff to accommodate approximately 36 more pupils.
Principal Bernice Lambert said: “We are glad to be able to provide access to education and support to children with special needs in the community, whom we could not previously accommodate”.
The school previously had 16 classrooms for its 184 pupils.
Ms Lambert said the new classrooms are smaller and will be used for children with autism – a lifelong developmental disability.
It affects the way people see the world and respond to stimuli such as sound, light, touch, space, smell and or taste.
It is also known as a social communication disorder and affects four major areas of development – language and communication; social interaction; thinking and behaviour; and sensory processing.
The classrooms are designed according to the specific needs of pupils.
Ms Lambert said they are grateful for the contribution of the funders of this initiative.
“We are greatly in need of facilities for our learners with special needs. These four classrooms comprise phase one of our ambition to build a substantial centre. On behalf of the school and the school governing body, thank you,” she said.
Funders Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), the Rotary Club of Newlands (RCN), Corobrik, Stonehage Fleming Charitable Foundation and other partners, celebrated the opening of the much-needed building extension at the Tafelsig school on Tuesday April 5, days after World Autism Awareness Day was commemorated on Saturday April 2.
The partnership was formed in early 2020 after the school and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) approached the Rotary Club for assistance to evaluate, plan, fund and build the extension.
Priscilla Urquhart, public affairs and communications manager for Coca-Cola said: “Our partnership with RCN has allowed us to bring meaningful change to communities in need in the Western Cape. By bringing this extension to the Agapé School, we hope to create a safe space for the learners to grow.”
Ms Lambert confirmed that the WCED has made a contribution to the building of a fifth additional classroom, a development project that RCN would also manage.
The school has plans to build six more classrooms, if they are able to raise the required funds.
Rotary Club member Johan Winship said they envisage a centre with up to 10 classrooms, a kitchen facility and treatment and assessment rooms, which would be vital for the school to continue to support those with special needs.