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Toronto school provides innovative educational programs to children with special needs

WATCH ABOVE: A friend is a friend regardless of abilities

Bloorview School is an educational facility located on the same site as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. It provides innovative school programs to children and youth with special needs.

Within the school you’ll find Paul Alcamo’s integrated Junior Kindergarten to Grade One class. Simply put, friends are friends regardless of their abilities.

“The children just see each other as classmates,” said Alcamo.

“I play with my friend, my friend needs some changes to be able to play, or that other child would say, ‘You know, this is my friend, he might be able to go a little faster than me, but I know that we can change things so that I can play too.’”

The full day program is based on the Ontario curriculum with a holistic approach based on each student’s strengths and needs.

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“Bloorview accommodates everybody. It makes everybody feel welcome. It gives each child a sense of belonging,” said parent Marlaina Resendes.

The small class setting allows teachers from the Toronto District School Board to focus on early literacy and numeracy skills, which creates a strong foundation for early learning.

“Every single staff member, every volunteer, they bring so much to this, so much passion and care,” said parent Dominic Fernandes. “And that whole aspect of everyone being included and having a way of contributing to absolutely every piece of the program.”

“You know there’s a general level of acceptance in our room between all the children and that it is something that is just natural for them,” said Alcamo.