PHOTOS: Laois autism preschool receives beautiful wooden gifts

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

A Laois preschool for children with autism has shared pictures of the handmade wooden toys they were given last Christmas.

Christmas 2019 was one to remember in Naíscoil Kantara, Timahoe as the children were treated to a massive surprise in the lead up to the holidays.

Santa Claus arrived early, laden down with a sack full of beautiful hand-made wooden toys, much to the children’s delight.
This was no ordinary Santa visit however. The visit came about due to the generosity of the John Sisk & Son construction company who every Christmas make wooden toys for children’s organisations.

Now in its 40th year, the toys are made by apprentice carpenters and joiners in their Christmas workshop in Dublin. Work on the toys starts in mid-November with suppliers providing materials like wood and fixings at special rates.
When the toys are finished, the apprentices – some dressed in Santa suits – load the toys into their trucks and deliver them to children all across the country.

The wonderful surprise for the school was organised by Deirdre Conlon, a Timahoe native and employee at Sisk & Son Ltd.

Everybody at the school was thrilled with teachers Patsy Healy and Eimear Moore particularly delighted.

“The children couldn’t believe their eyes when the toys appeared. It was a remarkable gesture and it really made
our week.” said Miss Moore.

Miss Healy was very thankful to Sisk & Son and to Deirdre for organising the toys.

“It is an amazing initiative at a special time of year. We are very thankful to all involved and I think it’s clear to see that the children are very thankful too," she said.

Naíscoil Kantara caters for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This vital service welcomes 12 children each day between the ages of three and five and has state of the art facilities. It incorporates a sensory room, occupational therapy
room, class room, outside play area and modern equipment.