Harold B. Davis Special School

History & Background

 The Harold B. Davis Special School was commissioned on January 20, 2014.   It is named in honour of late former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Harold B. Davis, CCH who dedicated 22 years of service to the Centre.

When the PRRC came into existence as the Polio Rehabilitation Centre on January 19, 1967 , it  soon became apparent that the academic needs of the children who resided at the Centre needed to be met.  So the nursing staff took it upon themselves to do what was possible in order to develop the literacy and numeracy skills of the children.  As more and more children accessed the residential services, the need increased.   Thus the Ministry of Education was approached for a teacher, and so the school began with one class and one teacher.

The end of the poliomyelitis epidemics saw a gradual decline in the number of children with this condition requiring rehabilitation.   The Centre then aggressively conducted public awareness programmes via TV, radio, newspapers, health centres and electronic media, attracting clientele with varying physical and developmental disabilities.  The development of the Centre progressed steadily over the years into a comprehensive rehabilitation complex.

As time went by, the school's single classroom expanded to three, each with its own teacher, and was called the Special Education Unit (SEU).  Classes were divided into Nursery, Prep and Primary.  The SEU was formerly housed in the top flat of the building which necessitated the use of the ramp and porters to ferry children to and from class.   A system of transportation was not without its challenges.

During his final year in office, former President of Guyana, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, a long time friend of the Centre, observed the cramped condition of the classrooms and saw how difficult it was for the children to use the stairs, and dilapidated wooden ramp.  He immediately took steps to initiate the process for the provision of a school at ground level.

Elated at the news, the Management Board and Headmaster wasted no time working along with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education to help bring the school to realization.  In July 2011, the entire management team of PRRC organized its bi-annual retreat to Suriname with the aim of visiting special needs schools, where we took video recordings of the six schools/homes, and had extensive consultations with administrative staff.  The video and photographs were given to architect Mr. Deen Kamaludeen, of Deen + Partners and with much discussions and changes between designer and the Centre’s staff, a state-of-the-art new building was constructed providing an environment conducive to the provision of education for children with disabilities in Guyana.

Activities/Programmes

 The school consists of Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.  Focus is placed on individualization, to meet the specific needs of each child attending the school.  The teaching staff combines its efforts with the therapists, the nursing staff, the Workshop staff, the social worker and the parents to address the needs of the children.  To date, we have seven teachers, two aides and 40 students on roll (the school can fully accommodate 60 students).  Here the Ministry of Education must be commended for demonstrating its commitment and support for children with disabilities. 

Currently, the school accommodates both residents and non-residents, and offers such subjects as:

-        Mathematics: figures & counting, using concrete objects to solve problems

-        Science: living things; plants, animals, our body

-        Social Studies: important events, festivals, the environment, current affairs  

-        Language Arts: speech patterns, rhymes, picture comprehension

-        Information Technology: becoming familiar with the use of computer, iPads, phones

-        Art: colouring books, veg prints, floral arrangement to bring out their creativity

-        Agricultural Science: planting in containers, this ties in with science

-        Music & Movement: instruction, information, concepts, stimulation, physical education

Extra-curricular/therapeutic activities such include:

-        Hydrotherapy (swimming)

-        Horseback riding

-        Organized therapy for individual students

-        Tours

-        Games – outdoor cricket, Bocci