The Malta Trust Foundation will be giving birth to a music school for children with different abilities after it received close to €1 million from its international partners and 15 Maltese entrepreneurs.
Villa Bianca School of Performing Arts in Santa Venera is expected to start receiving its first students early next year realising a longstanding dream of the Down Syndrome Association.
Malta Trust Foundation chair Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca started following the Association’s work some years back, when it was teaching children with different abilities through the help of Resonaari Special School of Music in Finland.
A rapport was struck and, together with the commitment of the Assistive Devices for the Visually Impaired Centre (ADVICE) and the Autism Parents Association, has led to the creation of this specialised music school.
This school is expected to fill the existing lacuna and help children with different abilities develop through the universal language of music.
Ms Coleiro Preca said: “The realisation of this school fills me with happiness, as I have witnessed first-hand the power that music has on children with different abilities. It is only thanks to the commitment of the private sector who have shared our vision and contributed to make this happen.”
In all, the Malta Trust Foundation’s international partners contributed €600,000 for five years, while 15 local business entities committed €360,000 over three years.
It is estimated that €220,000 a year will be needed to keep the school running, so Ms Coleiro Preca is encouraging more business entities and individuals to come forward and support this cause.
The school will focus on providing high quality music education for all pupils with different abilities, from children with Down Syndrome, to those on the autism spectrum and children who are visually impaired.
It is geared to help develop and nurture these children’s skills — social and communication skills, as well as movement — through music.
The school will be training and employing specialised music teachers, and drawing on the expertise of visiting music professionals to help children express themselves through music.
The music curriculum will be underpinned by Sounds of Intent, the only musical development framework for children with special abilities and early years that is based on years of research.