Wairoa School in Bondi

The Lord’s Taverners Sydney branch is always looking to give what we can to the local community, and at our Cocktail Function in November last year, we were proud to contribute a donation to the Wairoa School in Bondi.

The Wairoa School is a K-12 institution that educates children that have an identified intellectual disability.

With 11 classes, each containing seven students, the staff are dedicated to fostering the growth and development of the disadvantaged children who attend.

Many of the students have difficulty engaging with a traditional learning program and require a constant network of support from teachers, parents and volunteers.

“Wairoa holds the highest level of support for students in terms of their learning and support needs,” said Wairoa Principal Carmel Seeto.

“Our students have disabilities that impact on their daily lives for all of their life.”

Seeto emphasises the importance of fitness and recreational sport in the education of her pupils, including developing a specific program that caters to their physical requirements.

“Physical activity is important for their learning, but also their overall wellbeing – we all know how we feel after a good workout,” said Seeto.

“A lot of their activity isn’t intuitive; it has to be learnt.

“Our students start every day with morning fitness… we try to get them moving right from the beginning of the day.”

The social component of sport and games is also vital for the students’ interpersonal growth; skills such as learning to take turns, being part of a team and finding joy from their achievements.

November’s donation went towards the growth of Wairoa School’s fitness program and building a play area specifically designed for students in wheelchairs.

“We’re repurposing an area that currently has a trampoline in it,” said Seeto.

“We’re going to be able to take some of our young people out of their wheelchairs so they can go there during their lunch breaks.

“I’m really excited about that because I haven’t seen it in other schools.

“We also have a small gymnasium in our school which provides students with the opportunity to climb and explore, and take a tumble safely.”

Seeto would encourage young people in the local community to connect with the intellectually disabled as friends, whether that be through sport and fitness or other areas.

“If we have people volunteer to come into the school, interestingly it is usually around supporting our young people with some kind of sport or physical fitness activity – we find that highly engaging,” said Seeto.