Mother sets up preschool for her autistic child after being unable to place her in education system
A mother who was unable to find a preschool for her autistic child has created her own school to provide a bright, welcoming place where young children can play and learn.
Olga Legosz was originally looking for a preschool for her youngest daughter, Tosia, who is on the autism spectrum. Unable to find a suitable place, she decided to create a new sort of institution in Poland: a preschool for children with autism.
The result is Blue Bees, a private preschool in Warsaw that calls itself an “autism academy”. It gets its name from the peacock carpenter bee, which lives in Australia.
Open daily from 8 am to 4 pm, the preschool combines elements of Montessori education with Applied Behaviour Analysis, which applies techniques based upon the principles of learning to change behaviour of social significance.
This approach draws on Legosz’s own experience trying to combine everyday life, work and therapy for her child. It aims to help parents in a similar position simplify their lives by providing everything that children on the autism spectrum need in one place.
“By using natural reinforcements, we try to build the internal motivation of our charges. We care about their empowerment and teach them to take initiatives,” the preschool explains on its website.
“Our goal is to care for overall educational, emotional and social development – we want children to like to come to us and spend time with us in an attractive way,” it adds.
The preschool’s design helps. It has a neutral-coloured interior filled with natural light providing a calm space for daily learning. The child-sized furniture in natural wood and an array of sturdy toys appears to offer a reassuring antidote to today’s technology-driven world.
In addition to group sessions, children receive individual therapy, which can include behaviour therapy and speech therapy. There are also music lessons, classes with animals and a forest kindergarten, and a broader emphasis on promoting environmentally-aware attitudes.