Hino Trucks has revealed it is providing vital funding for an award-winning school  nearby to its Australian HQ in the Sutherland Shore of Sydney, Minerva School in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, enabling students to be assessed by allied health professionals .

Hino has formed a partnership with the Minerva School, which enrols 50 students from Kindergarten to Year 12 who have autism, intellectual disabilities and complex mental health needs.

“This funding allows us to engage a speech therapist and play therapist to assess the students’ play, communication and social skills, as part of a ‘Learn to Play’ program that has been successfully implemented at similar schools,” said Sarah Ellingham, acting principal of Minerva School.

The program is designed to improved children’s language, emotional regulation, problem solving and social skills.

“We are already seeing increased confidence from the students in implementing play, and improvement in sensory regulation both at school and home.”

“Additionally, we were able to complete our purpose-built Sensory Room, with funds helping to purchase equipment including a restoration tree, a rainbow infinity wall and tube lighting features – this room is vital for helping children regulate their senses and emotions.”

Minerva School has previously received the NSW Premiers Award in 2020 for Highest Quality Education for its Learning for Life Project, which improved learning outcomes for students who have autism, intellectual disability and complex mental health needs, using an Occupational Therapy framework.

“Donations such as this provide us with additional options to support our students to reach their full potential,” said Ms Ellingham.

President and CEO of Hino Australia, Sam Suda, said Hino is proud to support Minerva as part of the truck manufacturer’s partnership with Schools Plus.

“For the second year, we are proud to support four schools in the Sutherland Shire – Minerva, Bates Drive School, Cook School and Dunlea School – to continue their vital work supporting students with complex needs, as part of our Schools Plus partnership,” he said.

“As a local Sutherland Shire business since 1995, it is important that we are able to make a tangible difference within our local community and support these students, teachers and families for the best possible outcomes,” he continued.

“As part of the Toyota Group of companies, we are pleased to continue the School Plus legacy that Toyota started in 2017,” he concluded.

Rosemary Conn, CEO of Schools Plus is keen to see other donors realise the benefits of the school and business partnership.

“Our partnership with Hino is a fabulous example of the impact local businesses can have on students and the community.

“Schools Plus exists to help ensure every child, regardless of their location or background, has the opportunity to succeed at school.

“We’re delighted that Hino shares our passion, and supports us in making that mission a reality,” she concluded.

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