Homai Early Childhood Centre (HECC) is a licensed and chartered early education centre for children aged from birth to 6 years of age who are blind, deafblind and low vision and their whānau. It is located on the BLENNZ Homai Campus in McVilly Road, Manurewa and is one of the core services of Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ. The centre has a roll of approximately 30 children. Attendance is limited to 1 or 2 sessions per week, so children are able to attend a community centre in conjunction with HECC.
Admission to Homai Early Childhood Centre
The criteria for admission to HECC is enrolment in a Visual Resource Centre. Referral forms for admission to BLENNZ Auckland Visual Resource Centre are available from BLENNZ, Auckland Visual Resource Centre 09 2667109 or you request one by contacting you local Visual Resource Centre.
Placement is determined on an individual basis through consultation with HECC staff, the child’s whānau, Resource Teachers Vision and other involved professionals. In accordance with our inclusion policy, the BLENNZ team regularly reviews the placement of each child enrolled in the centre. When it is appropriate, children will transition to a community early childhood centre or school.
Each child’s programme of learning is individualized in consultation with parents, whānau, Resource Teachers Vision, HECC teaching staff and other involved professionals.
These team members work together to create an Individual Plan based on parent/whānau priorities.
HECC programmes are developed using Te Whāriki and Stepping Stones: the Expanded Core Curriculum. All experiences are planned to support and complement other programmes and activities in the child’s home and local community.
HECC is staffed by two qualified early childhood teachers and three education support workers. The programme of learning for each child is supported by their Resource Teacher Vision, who also visits the child at home and in their local community.
Additional specialist consultation may be provided by an:
- Occupational Therapist
- Speech Language Therapist
- Music Therapist
HECC staff welcome and promote the involvement of parents and whānau within the centre. Communication between centre staff, Resource Teachers Vision, parents and whānau is considered critical to the effectiveness of the HECC programme.
Tuesday Whānau Group Sessions (9.30am – 12.30pm)
Introduction to the centre often occurs when children, parents and whānau attend the Whānau Group Sessions. These are whānau focused sessions where an adult family member participates in sessions with the child. Siblings and other family members are also welcome to attend.
Whānau attending this session have the opportunity to meet with other families of children who are blind and low vision while learning strategies and techniques to assist with their child’s learning and development. A wide selection of resources and activities are available. Loan resources are available through the Muffin Break Toy Library and the Homai Special Formats Library. A maximum of 14 children are enrolled in this session.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday (8.45am – 2.45pm)
The children attending these groups are either blind or low vision. These sessions provide an adapted and expanded curriculum with a focus on children learning to be both independent and interdependent. Enrolment at a centre in the child’s local community is also promoted. Links are maintained to ensure an appropriate and holistic educational programme is delivered across both centres and the home. This group has a family focus with opportunities provided for parents/whānau to attend sessions. A maximum of 10 children are enrolled in these sessions.
Thursday Sessions (8.45am – 2.45pm)
These sessions provide an individual needs-based programme for children who are either blind or low vision with additional learning and medical needs. The programme has a multi-sensory focus and incorporates therapy facilitated through specialist intervention utilising a trans-disciplinary approach. A maximum of 9 children attend this session.
BLENNZ Special Character Statement
The Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ) is a special character school which in 2014 provides national education services to approximately 1,500 blind and low vision learners from birth (or diagnosis) to age 21, including those who are deafblind, or with additional special needs. BLENNZ is one of eight state schools nationally which have been legislated to provide residential provision for learners. Established on 1st February 2005, BLENNZ has just completed its ninth year.
BLENNZ is a national school with a national community which includes children and young people, their families and whānau, partner service providers and sector organisations.
More information about HECC can be found by visiting the Homai Early Childhood Centre website.