|EMSB SUMMER LANGUAGE CAMP PILOT PROJECT TO CONCLUDE FRIDAY|
MONTREAL, AUGUST 22, 2001- A two-week English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Summer Language Camp pilot project will conclude this Friday, August 24 (11:30 a.m.), with a presentation of songs by the 15 children. The media are invited to attend this program at Pierre-de-Coubertin Elementary School (4700 Lavoisier) in St. Leonard.
The intent of this camp has been to provide intensive language stimulation to a small group of EMSB language disabled children living in the East End of Montreal, who are at risk of academic difficulties due to their language development delay. Language disabled students in the East End are seen as the targeted clientèle in view of the insufficient English language services available in that area of the city. "The program was intended to be a fun-filled learning experience," say EMSB Interim Director of Student Services Lew Lewis, who notes that four speech and language consultants have served as staff.
Mr. Lewis emphasizes that children with language development delays are often diagnosed before they enter a school setting. If their cases are considered "severe" enough, they may receive a small amount of English language therapy from the Montreal Children’s Hospital. There are also a few private clinics (mostly in Westmount and the West Island) where parents can bring their children to receive therapy, if they can afford the $70 to $90 per hour fee.
Another hurdle for these children is the fact that they (like most children) are not exposed to any academic work over the course of their two month summer vacation. As a result, when they return to school in September, time is required to review the previous year’s material before new lessons can be presented. "For children with significant language development delays, the challenge of school re-entry is even greater", says Mr. Lewis. "Not only have these children ‘lost’ some of the knowledge and language skills they had in June, but they also they require more time and help to ‘re-learn’ certain skills. This camp has given language delayed students a ‘boost’ before the other children are back at school and will hopefully allow them to start the academic year on more solid ground. It is also an opportunity for these children to receive speech-language services on a more consistent and intensive basis than is possible during the school year."
Students have participated in a variety of daily theme-based activities, such as games, artwork, music, and story-telling, aimed at promoting the development of expressive and receptive language abilities, phonological awareness skills, vocabulary and pragmatic skills. Those attending the camp are children enrolled in regular EMSB Grade 1 or 2 classes in September 2001. They must also have received a comprehensive speech-language assessment.
EMSB Speech Language Therapists Elisabeth Christe, Jackie Morrison- Visentin, Paula Rosen and Susan Van Voorst have served as staff.
Michael J. Cohen