The aim of the Good Child Foundation is to have as many children that have Down syndrome to be included within an inclusive education system as possible. Currently in Thailand it is very difficult for a child to be accepted into a school if he or she has Down syndrome. The law states that the exclusion of children with disabilities is not allowed, however in practice this law is not adhered to or enforced.
Since the year 2009 the Good Child Foundation has been actively seeking children that have been born in the surrounding area of the school so that they can be educated. We have an arrangement with the hospitals in the province that they will inform parents when their child is born that there is a place for them at our school.
Children with Down syndrome start their school life within Kindergarten when they are aged from three to five years old. They are in mainstream classes and participate in all the activities of the rest of the class on a daily basis. It is here where they develop their concentration skills so that they are prepared to enter primary education and not be a disruption to the other children.
We have found at the school that the children with Down syndrome learn just as much from their friends as their teachers. The other pupils also reinforce what they have learned when doing this. It is the long term goal to change the perception of the condition within society and take the stigma away from it. When we first started the program it was met with initial resistance but this has now rescinded and is looked upon with pride in the community.
The funding of the Good Child Foundation has come mostly through its unique method of raising awareness of its cause. Mr. Paul Lennon, a volunteer for the charity, had been using the method of teaching the children to sing songs to aid the pupils English vocabulary. He took this one step further by combing the two passions in his life, Down syndrome and Celtic Football Club. From then on he would teach the children songs related to Celtic F.C and their Scots- Irish background.
Celtic Football Club was brought into creation for charitable purposes, and it’s a theme that has remained ever present throughout its extensive history. The songs that the pupils sing have captured the imagination of the Celtic Family, who have taken the Good Child Foundation under their wing. They have shown that it does not matter what race, colour or creed you are. When you are a member of the Celtic family you can count on them for their enduring compassion and generosity.
Written by Good Child Foundation volunteer teacher Iain Johnston.