History of our Inclusion: From Integration to Inclusion

Canossian School has the distinction of being the only Special Education school in Singapore that has adopted an inclusive model of education. In this model, students from Canossian school study alongside their hearing peers throughout their schooling day. For each student, varying levels of specialised support is provided so as to ensure that they are able to adapt to a mainstream setting and curriculum. In the early years (while the school was at Jalan Merbok) the school identified students for integration into mainstream schools nearby. When the school relocated to its original site at Sallim Road, the inclusive model continued to evolve to a point where every student in Canossian School is fully included in its mainstream partner schools for all their years in primary school education.

The success of this model has been possible only because of the astute vision and commitment of the Canossian Sisters to provid a nurturing environment for the development to their fullest potential of every child in the school. A large part of the success of its inclusive educational model is attributable to the mainstream school partners that it has worked with. From the year 2000 onwards, Canossa Convent Primary School embraced all students from Canossian School which has allowed the provision of an inclusive education for children with hearing loss to become a hallmark of the educational model at Canossian School.

Inclusion began in 1989 when the school embarked on using inclusion for the purpose of developing language competence in its students. The school was then situated at Jalan Merbok and selected four students who achieved good academic results in their Primary Three streaming examinations to pilot the model. These students were integrated into the nearby Bukit Batok Primary School. Two years later, the school worked with St Anthony’s Primary School to host ten of its students for the purpose of inclusion.

In 1999, Canossian School relocated in its original premises at Sallim Road as one of five entities within the Canossian Eduplex. The Eduplex is a five-in-one concept conceived in 1993 by the religious community of nuns who set up the school. The five sectors of the Eduplex included Canossa Convent, founded in 1941 and remains as the home of the Sisters in Singapore. The most striking feature of the Eduplex is that the complex was developed on an open concept with only ‘soft borders’ separating each sector which facilitates the seamless movement for staff and students from one sector to the rest. The largest education sector was Canossa Convent Primary School was officially opened in 1941. Within the same year a Children’s Home was also set up. The Home provided residential care for girls aged between six and twelve. In addition, it provided before and after school care for primary school children, including those with hearing loss, dyslexia and families in need of financial assistance. The Home ceased providing residential care in 2017 and has since morphed into an social service agency, Canossaville Children and Community Services, which through the years stayed true to its mission of providing varied and invaluable support for students within the Eduplex. The fourth sector within the Eduplex was Canossian School, which was set up in 1956 to provide education for children who have moderate to severe hearing loss. The final sector was a kindergarten, Magdalene’s Kindergarten, founded in 1974. The kindergarten also adopted an inclusive model of education for the children with hearing loss that were enrolled. It ceased operations in 2017 and has since evolved to Canossaville Preschool which began operations in 2018.

At the Eduplex, students from Canossian School were included, progressively in more programmes beyond academic learning, at Canossa Convent Primary School. In 2006, the school also established a partnership with MacPherson Primary School to facilitate the inclusion of the Upper Primary boys in a co-educational setting for their social well-being. In 2019, the Ministry of Education affirmed the school’s efforts in promoting inclusion at both Canossa Convent Primary School and MacPherson Primary school. Under the Framework for Satellite Partnerships between Mainstream and Special Education schools, the school was highlighted as a Model 3 school where students are included at multiple levels across the two mainstream schools. At this level, inclusion extends beyond academic learning and students are included in all areas such as CCAs, learning journeys and school-based events. Such inclusion augurs well for the social emotional learning of children with special needs.

The year 2019 was a milestone in the history of its inclusive model. MacPherson Primary School was merged with a nearby primary school and moved further away from the school. In the same year, Canossa Convent Primary School accepted boys and became co-educational, which meant that both boys and girls from Canossian School could benefit from inclusion within the educational complex at Sallim Road. The school not only saw a change in name to become Canossa Catholic Primary School, it strengthened its commitment to the inclusion of children with hearing loss in its educational programming. Around the same period, the Eduplex evolved to what it is today, the Canossian Village, where inclusion is the mainstay of the education provided for children with hearing loss from as early as 18 months (at Canossaville Preschool) to 12 years at Canossian School.

The successful inclusion of children with special educational needs within a mainstream setting requires a transformation of the psyche of the community working with these children. It requires the total commitment of everyone working with the child to embrace each child and to see that each one is made in the image of God. The values, the beliefs and the ethos of the community must resonate with this philosophy. Inclusive education is the hallmark of Canossian education where every child receives the best education regardless of race, gender, religion, age, ethnicity or their socioeconomic status.

Let’s Get In Touch

Reach out to us if you have any questions! We are always ready to answer any of your queries.

Skip to content