Students at Cessnock’s DALE Christian School have moved into their new building.
DALE, an acronym for Dynamic Alternative Learning Environment, is a school for children with diagnosed social and emotional disabilities.
The Cessnock campus is now home to 30 students in years 5 to 10.
Students involved in the program include those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, depression or oppositional defiant disorder.
Located on the grounds of St Philip’s Christian College at Nulkaba, the new building has four large classrooms, plus ‘chill out’ rooms designed to help reduce anxiety.
“For some of these students, being in the playground is the worst time of the day,” DALE Christian School principal Bronwyn Thoroughgood said.
“It is providing them a beautiful space, an area that they want to be in.”
The new building means DALE’s Cessnock campus can cater to up to 60 students.
Executive officer Kevin Berger said the move from demountable classrooms to the new building has proved positive.
“The bigger space has made such a difference,” he said.
Ms Thoroughgood said the new building is an expression of how the school values its students.
“It puts us completely on the map – it’s a prominent place, at an amazing school, and it’s state-of-the-art,” she said.
“While we are blessed to be part of St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock, this is their own facility.”
DALE is a part of the St Philip’s Christian College group of schools, and the Cessnock campus students have the opportunity to be involved in many of the college’s activities.
DALE has been working with students with special needs in Waratah since 1997 and expanded to Cessnock and Gosford in recent years.
The school also runs a young parents program at Newcastle and Wyong, and is investigating the need to expand this program into Cessnock.
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