Metta will be setting up Maitri School, a new Special Education School. Maitri School is open to admission of all students with Moderate to Severe Autism irrespective of race, religion or financial means, but with priority given to Singapore Citizens. The school will offer 25 places per cohort for students aged 7-18 years old and have a total school capacity of 300 places.
The new building will be located at Pasir Ris, and will be ready in year 2024. In the interim, the new Maitri Programme starting in 2021 with 7 years old students, will be housed at the Simei site, together with Metta School.
Our vision for the students with Autism in the school is to lead independent and meaningful lives. Our students will be equipped with skills for daily living, emotional management and regulation, as well as vocational skills.
慈光福利协会将设立所新的特殊教育学校 – 慈明学校。慈明学校是为中度至重度自闭症学生而设， 收生不论种族，宗教或经济状况如何，但优先考虑新加坡公民。学校将为7至18岁的孩子提供教育，每届25个名额，总学生名额为300个。
We believe that all children on the autism spectrum is unique and their needs are different from each other. They have unique talents as well.
We believe that all children can learn, we have to design programme/interventions to equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes; so that they are empowered to take care of themselves and earn their own keep.
The subjects offered for the young students entering Maitri Programme are:
- Functional Literacy & Communication
- Functional Numeracy
- Personal Management
- Social Emotional Learning
- Home Living & Home Economics
- Adapted Physical Education
- Performing & Visual Arts
5. 居家生活与 家政
Literacy, Communication and Numeracy are important building blocks to learning, living working, and accessing to services. The curriculum will be spaced appropriately with students placed in the appropriate modules. The baseline will be for students to acquire money skills and time management skills when they graduate from the school.
In the area of Literacy and Communications, it will include learning of Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS) and other assistive devices for the students who are non-verbal. The means to communicate is critical to students in the Maitri Programme, to reduce frustration and promote understanding and connection with others.
Social-Emotional Learning refers to acquiring a set of skills necessary to handle self and relationships. Students with Autism has deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.
Students with Autism exhibits challenging behaviours mainly because they struggle to understand what is happening around them or struggle to communicate about their emotional and physical needs; or when they have sensory overload including unable to cope with being in an unfamiliar situations or events. It is important that they learn self-regulation, behaviour self-management, and social skills.
Independent Living Skills
Independent Living Skills includes practical skills required to care for oneself, and function safety and meaningfully in the community. The skills include self-care when they are younger, followed by Home Living and extend to Community Living and travelling skills when they are older. Health & fitness, Aesthetics development will also be good platform for the students to develop interest for leisure activities.
Communications and Social Skills are the most fundamental since communication is the foundation of all human relationships. This is also an area of deficit for students with Autism, and a significant portion of the curriculum will be devoted to training the students on communication and social skills.
The aim is for the students to acquire the ability to learn so that they can become self-directed and life-long learners.