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The Joseph Varga School was originally established in 1980 as a pre-school at which time it was known as KINDEE. The pre-school was an early childhood environment designed to accommodate children with and without special needs.
Inspired by Joseph Varga, a caring philanthropist who was eternally grateful to Australia for giving him refuge, an infant’s class was set up, in 1983, primarily to service the needs of older children.
As a result of this initial infant’s class, a registered school was formed, and housed in a separate building from the original KINDEE. The primary school was created with a distinctive “family” oriented ethos, in order to create a warm accepting, nurturing and safe environment for children who did not function successfully in mainstream settings.
An important feature of the school was the belief of the two founding principals in the dignity and rights of children to be honestly heard by educators as they formulate appropriate programs to accommodate the needs of all children despite their differences.
Such an advocacy service was strengthened by the demand for the school to expand into providing for high school children who were “at risk” in the community. This came into existence in April 1989 at which time the first intake of high school students with emotional disturbances enrolled at the school.
In 1996 a residential component was incorporated into the services of the school in order to fulfil a request by the Department of Community Services to service a child with acute psychiatric needs.
The vision of the Joseph Varga Centre, is to embrace the full spectrum of a primary and high school, and where needed, further develop a system of care and advocacy for children with multiple and complex needs.