A special program for children with neuro-diversities established by Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) entitled JIS Learning Center was officially inaugurated on 21st September 2022 at JIS Pattimura Elementary School, South Jakarta.
The program is sought to further strengthen JIS’ commitment to providing an inclusive educational environment for students from multicultural backgrounds.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by students, education and special education teachers, the Directorate General of Teachers and Education Personnel, the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry, along with parents. As JIS Head of School Maya Nelson expressed in her speech, “Thank you for getting on this journey with us.”
She noted that the opening of the JIS Learning Center is a remarkable way to demonstrate and show JIS’love for all children, speak to the school’s inclusive and diverse philosophy and also support “One JIS, One Community”.
Nelson has always been an educator, wanting to become a teacher since a very young age. She firmly believes every child has the right to learn and it’s a human right to be in school. “We need to take care of each other, support one another, and learn from everyone,” she pointed out during a chat with Indonesia Expat. With a desire to become a special education teacher, Nelson carries an extensive background which led to her role in starting special education programs in different schools in various countries. This time, she’s bringing her expertise to encourage the students of JIS.
“I was a learning disability specialist for many, many years. I taught children and even adults who could not read how to read. I’ve worked with many types of neuro-diversity. I believe they can only enrich the community,” she added.
JIS Learning Center is a child-centred education program providing full-time special education services to students with neuro-diversities needing a more intensive support level. It complies with diverse learning. “JIS strives to ‘Be the Best for the World, and we’d like to show the world what that means,” said Nelson. The world comprises people with diverse backgrounds, histories and learning profiles, therefore, a school should be a reflection of society.
“We respect and believe that no two children are the same. As such, children don’t learn or develop in the same way or pace. As a school that adheres to the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion, JIS understands the need to develop and expand our curriculum to provide space for students with learning differences,” continued Nelson during her speech.
The highly-trained faculty and staff are specialists in learning disabilities, motor development, speech-language, etc. who can work with students requiring language needs, speech needs, and intentional needs, to name a few. They not only support students through academics but also through a range of therapeutic options.
“The JIS Learning Center is an enriching and supportive space for children aged 4-11 with mild to severe general developmental delays. This program is limited to eight students per class to ensure each student receives the attention they need,” explained JIS Education Specialist, Donise Lyons.
The program delivers personalised learning. Students receive instruction from teachers using specialised and effective methodologies including academic instruction as well as adaptive daily living and social skills. Moreover, this specialised program is conducted in specially-designed classrooms that are tailored to various academic, sensory, behavioural, and physical needs. Distractions are minimised meanwhile individual attentions are optimised for students to fully benefit from.
Seven students are currently enrolled in the JIS Learning Center inaugural classroom, located at JIS Pattimura Elementary School. Expansion plans toward accepting junior high and high school children over the next three years are in the process. Families should have the opportunity to stay together when they move to different countries with an educational program that supports the different resources of all their children. “Our goal is to ensure that students can study with us long-term and have support for their entire learning journey,” said Lyons.
JIS acknowledges that students are ought to be prepared to live in a very diverse world; a world where everyone is different yet has similarities to the next person. Diversity and inclusion are therefore significant to JIS because it resembles the world, and a school should celebrate that.
“In Indonesia, there are around 311,000 schools. As many as 40,000 are schools with the nomenclature of inclusive education providers. And to develop regular schools into inclusion, we need the support of a good curriculum, professional and quality teachers, adequate facilities and infrastructure, as well as programs and budgets,” said Dr H. Yaswardi, M.Si. the Director of Secondary Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry. “The Ministry will always give appreciation to regular schools that create inclusive education programs. We believe that this school will become a center for the development of programs needed by children with special needs. Kudos to JIS Pattimura!”