A new program from Move Your Body Studio is helping children with disabilities and developmental delays prepare for school.
The Sensory School Readiness Program was launched in January with children attending between one and three days a week for two hours, before starting kindergarten or pre-primary next year.
Founder Carol Heegan said the program was designed with children who have developmental delays in mind, but there were many neurotypical children who go to the classes as well.
“The program establishes new school routines, builds independence away from parents, works on social, emotional and fine motor skills and communication,” she said. “We do that in a smaller class environment where they can engage one-on-one with a specialised educator.”
Ms Heegan has two children with autism and established the program based on what they needed at that age but was not available in the community.
All the facilitators have either an early learning, disability, psychology or personal training background and all the activities are based around active play.
“We use active play as a self-regulation tool,” Ms Heegan said.
“It helps children feel more content when they’re in the classroom and we use play-based structures to implement early learning opportunities.”
The program is full but there is a waiting list and a plan to add more classes in Terms 2 and 4 if there is enough support.
Move Your Body Studio is a not-for-profit and the Sensory School Readiness Program currently runs at a loss. The studio will be hosting activities in Autism Awareness Week in early April to fundraise.