The EMSB and the Mackay Centre School in NDG are continuing a joint venture, begun in 1973, in which a limited number of children in pre-kindergarten through Grade 6 are given an opportunity to attend for one year. Reverse Integration students follow the regular curriculum and learn alongside students with physical disabilities at Mackay.
The program boasts small class sizes, smart boards in each classroom, weekly swimming and computer classes, as well as the opportunity to learn and/or play alongside children who use sign language, voice synthesizers, and adapted equipment for recreation and mobility.
If you are interested in having your child/children attend the reverse integration program for a year please complete and submit two copies of the application either by mail or fax (514 485-7254) postmarked by February 13, 2017. Please note that children with special needs or IEP’s are not eligible to apply. Additional application forms are available at your school office or on the Mackay Centre School website.
Please take the opportunity to learn more about our school and reverse integration program by visiting www.emsb.qc.ca/mackay. Children eligible to attend the reverse integration program will be invited for a two-day visit in March. At this time, applicants will be screened and selected based on individual class needs. Parents will be invited to attend an information meeting on the first day of their child’s visit. A tour of the school and the classrooms will be organized at that time.
I interviewed the children that have participated in this year’s reverse integration program at Mackay, and it’s all great feedback. For example, young Ethan (who’s 9 years old), found out about this program from a friend, and knew that this is what he wanted to do. He enjoyed his visits to the Mackay Centre and became a great role model for his classmates.
Ethan and his classmate Charlotte (who has a sister in pre-kindergarten), who’s also an RI student, get involved in their classes and encourage their peers to interact with them and their teachers. They both are very smart and kind kids. Ethan and Charlotte are only in grade 3 but they love to help out their many friends in any way they can.
Autumn, in grade 4, is always eager for work. She has many friends throughout the school and when she’s done her work, she has fun helping her classmates and friends with their work. She’s great at explaining things in different ways to help the others understand what they’re trying to accomplish.
Jaqueline, in grade 6, is the older sister of Ethan. She’s also in the reverse integration program and is having a blast. She’s well adjusted and loves the curriculum. Her favourite class is gym and she has a lot of friends in the school. Her classmate, Asher, told me all about how happy he was that there’s no bullying in the school. He said that everyone gets along great and says, “it’s very inclusive.”
I also talked to some teachers who thought the program was good. Pansy, a pre-kindergarten teacher, says that the RI students “See the other children as friends and regular kids.” She loves that these reverse integration children are able to communicate and go back to their schools with a greet message about what they’ve learnt.
Simon, Simone, Ruby, Ethan, Charlotte, Autumn, Asher, and Jaqueline are great kids in the reverse integration program at the Mackay Centre School. They’re just a few examples of what our community can do if we are open and are willing to learn about equality amongst everyone, disabled or not.
For more information about the reverse integration program at the Mackay Centre School, you can contact Patrizia Ciccarelli (the principle) at (514)482-0001 extension 1600 or Denise Maroun, the vice-principle, at (514)482-0001 extension 1602.
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