Saint Catherine’s Special School
Saint Catherine’s is a special school which is located in the Northern Suburb of Harare, Eastlea, for girls and boys (5 years to 18 years) who are intellectually challenged – moderate, severe and profound.
The school which was a property of the Anglican Church and had named it “Saint Catherine’s” was donated as a junior training centre and workshop to Hopelands Trust, an association for the care of the mentally handcapped. In 1981, Hopelands Trust was absorbed into Zimcare Trust, an amalgamation of all Zimbabwe’s societies for the mentally handicapped. At the same time, Saint Catherine’s was registered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as a Special School.
We have the capacity to enrol 105 children at Saint Catherine’s Special School, of which 50 of them would be boarders and the rest day scholars.
The school day begins with Assembly, hymns and prayers. If it happens to be one of the children’s birthday’s, he or she is suitably congratulated and given a present.
Classroom time begins at 8:15am and goes on until 12noon, with a half an hour break at 10:30am for recreation. At mid-day, the children have a meal cooked in the centre’s kitchen.
12:30pm till 2:00pm is rest time, after which the children get ready for their afternoon activities which include among other things swimming, soccer, music and movement, art and craft or watching television. Our school day finishes at 4:00pm.
Work at Saint Catherine’s school includes self-help skills, communication, domestic skills, occupational training and socialization, and where possible, we introduce the children to the academic skills of a normal school. The time table also includes recreational pursuits and a variety of special occasions and outings. For the children in residence, we have television and often over the weekend, a church group or another school comes to play with the children, and occasionally, they might take them out for a picnic.
It is our AIM to provide the highest possible standards of comfort, care, education and training for our Special Children at the minimum expense to their families.
Our VISION is to provide quality education and care for the independence of each child at Saint Catherine’s.
The following are values that are being pursued by the school:
- Effective communication
- Quality work
- Respect / dignity
INCOME SITUATION OF THE COMMUNITY
Although the school is situated in the affluent suburb of Eastlea, as a school offering both day and boarding facilities, our children come from all over Zimbabwe and sometimes outside the country. Most of our children are from poor socio-economic backgrounds, with some coming from children’s homes.
The SDC works closely with the school administration to see to the needs and the welfare of the children.
The SDC at Saint Catherine’s holds meetings once every month, except for school holidays, to appraise themselves on the activities at the school and to assist in developing the school in various ways.
SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION (SNE) OFFERED
As a special school for children who are mentally challenged, although the school covers all subjects at Primary school level, the thrust is on the functional aspects of the “normal” curriculum and curriculum common places including self help skills, communication and speech training, domestic skills, occupational training, behaviour management, the arts, co-curricular activities such as athletics, netball, football, volleyball, traditional dance, percussion band, golf and according to each child’s ability and inclination, children are introduced to more academic skills or more vocational skills training, using an Individualised Educational Programme (IEP). The IEP is developed using a multi-disciplinary approach whereby all stakeholders are involved and have an input, such as the teacher, psychologist, parents, the nursing sister, hostel matron, therapists and others and where
possible. There are however challenges as parents have to outsource therapists as the school cannot afford to employ these.
In beginners classes, ECD, or reception classes, emphasis is more on self help skills and communication as in most cases children lack skills such as dressing, feeding, toileting, and others due to the nature of the disability which causes developmental delays. As the children acquire these skills they are then moved onto junior classes and subsequently senior classes with those children who are more academically inclined being placed in junior or senior academic classes and those who are more practically inclined going to classes offering more practical skills.
INCOME SITUATION OF THE COMMUNITY
Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
Young adults nearing the age of 18 who are capable of pursuing vocational skills are absorbed in a prevocational skills class where skills such as gardening, sewing, laundering, cookery and general work amongst others, are emphasized.
We have various projects running where the young adults learn skills in:-
Toilet cleaner making
Peanut butter making
We have a Committee which has overall responsibility for the centre’s income and expenditure. We do have to seek fees for both boarding and local day. Sometimes we receive help from the Government. However, it would not be possible for us to meet our aims without charitable assistance. Therefore we would ask for your help.