Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure currently operates five centres across Queensland, offering the highest quality care and education, and will take this to a new level with their Proxima centre they hope will be a national role model for inclusive early childhood education and development.
Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure cofounders, husband and wife team Damian and Lauren Hall, predict the Proxima-based centre will deliver social outcomes to assist thousands of families caring for children with special needs, not just those directly enrolled.
Lauren Hall said they anticipate about 25 per cent of the 400 enrolments at the centre would be referred children with identified special needs, with the remaining placements open to general enquiries from the community.
“We have wanted to create a centre tailored towards identifying and nurturing children with special needs for many years and have been waiting for the right time and place to put this plan in to action,” she said.
“Proxima is the ideal canvas for us to work from, with an array of paediatric specialists and allied health services expected to work from within the building, in an established community of some of the country’s best medical professionals and academics at the neighbouring hospitals and university.
“The reason we have been working towards this more holistic model is because we were confronted by research showing the high percentage of divorces and the break down of family units when the requirements for a special needs child were not adequately met.
”We are disheartened by the fact that many young children are slipping through the cracks with physical or mental issues that go undiagnosed because they lack access to educators who are trained to notice early warning signs and communicate these to parents.”
Damian Hall said while their existing centres are already completely inclusive, the new Proxima site will include a more dedicated focus on disability and special needs early education and care.
“We will have an in-house special education director, and will train all staff to be able to manage and identify those with additional needs,” he said.
“We will also be creating partnerships with specialists who come on board at Proxima and those who work at the hospital and university. These specialists will become part of our team and will, with parental permission, have the ability to work with children directly.
“We believe more needs be done to provide streamlined, accessible and timely support for families who may be struggling with a special needs child, and all families who are navigating early childhood development.”
Among the experts the new centre will be able to access close-at-hand is Griffith University Pro Vice Chancellor Health, Professor Sheena Reilly AM, a world leader in speech pathology research, who began her post-doctoral career at the UK’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health – Europe’s foremost centre of paediatric research – before returning to Australia 20 years ago and holding key leadership positions including with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Professor Reilly has received more than $60million in competitive research grants to support speech, language and literacy development in children.
To learn more about Sanctuary Early Learning’s plans visit the Proxima site.
The $80million Proxima building will be the first private development in the Precinct’s Lumina commercial cluster, with construction scheduled to commence in the first half of 2021.