“All of us are perfect
And all of us have flaws”
-Sheree Fitch, Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street
For our family, spring 2018 brought the realization that this was the last year we will have a child attending the Ganon Preschool. Reflecting on how blessed we are to have been part of this remarkable program I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
Our two beautiful and talented children have attended the program since the two-year-old class. Both have a learning exceptionality. The morahs and directors at Ganon have been an integral part of so many family milestones: first academic achievements, athletic triumphs, friendships, and the blooming of our little people’s personalities. They were also there through the stress and worry of concerned parents as our children were diagnosed with autism. We received consistent support from skilled and experienced teaching staff who helped us seek assessment, made accommodations and support plans, and untiringly sought unique and creative solutions for making things work in the best possible way. My children have been safe, loved, supported, challenged, and encouraged at Ganon. As a result, they have absolutely thrived. My kids leave the program with a love of Judaism, too many friends to count, and a circle of adults at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) who know and care for them.
Having physical limitations, sensory sensitivities, social challenges, intellectual or learning disabilities are not barriers to friendship and inclusion in these classrooms. All children are given the opportunity to learn, grow and develop to their maximum potential. At Ganon, children with and without exceptionalities participate and play together, which nurtures attitudes of acceptance, understanding and compassion. These experiences foster creativity and advanced communication skills for working with all kinds of people. Observing differently abled children interact with each other is inspiring and humbling as we watch them setting an example for us all.
Ganon’s core values are pillars for an inclusion model that has a positive ripple effect for our entire community. Ganon has strengthened the love of Judaism in our family, encouraged us to pursue further education at the Ottawa Jewish Community School, increased our participation in all kinds of Jewish community events, and inspired volunteerism and philanthropy. We have created social networks that strengthen the health of our family unit and cradle our children in community protection. Our kids are known and welcomed at the SJCC by teachers, staff, and friends. Ultimately, this is a key factor in their safety, happiness, and success.
As we attend our last JK graduation ceremony this month, our family extends a heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff and leadership of the Ganon Preschool for years of poignant and happy memories. Ganon has given our children the invaluable opportunity to be their best.