A unique preschool in Murfreesboro has children with developmentally delays interacting and learning from children who are developing normally.
Located on the edge of Middle Tennessee State University's campus, teachers at Project Help are busy getting ready for their preschool students to return from winter break.
“Project Help is an early intervention preschool. We work with children from 14 months up until they go to kindergarten,” explained Project Help Director Susan Waldrop.
Project Help is the only inclusive preschool in Rutherford County.
“We've got kids in here who have a delay, whether it is a diagnosed delay in terms of Down syndrome or autism to someone who is just not functioning according up to snuff in terms of age appropriate milestones,” Waldrop said.
Combing developmentally challenged kids with those who are developing normally is beneficial for both groups.
“Children are going to learn from other children and in our world we know that adaptive skills and socialization and all the kind of interactions that we want children to have comes best when they are interacting and socializing with other toddlers,” Waldrop told Nashville's News 2.
Each of the preschool's classrooms has an observation booth where parents can sit in and watch how their children are being taught.
“So [mom] or dad can see what is going on and replicate some of those activities that our teachers are doing with the children at home,” Waldrop said.
Project Help is partially funded by MTSU and allows college students to get hands on training at the onsite preschool.
According to Waldrop, being partially funded creates a need for staff to raise extra funds.
“We have to find money for baby wipes and paper towels and orthopedic equipment,” she said.
In an effort to raise additional money, staff members host fund raisers regularly in the community.
On January 19, Project Help is set to host its first Zumathon at Dance Murfreesboro located at 730A Middle Tennessee Boulevard beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Tickets to the event are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
All of the money raised will benefit Project Help.