Developmental Preschool Network: Arugot runs a network of five developmental preschools for children with special needs age 3 – 6/ 7. All children are assessed as eligible for special education and referred by the Allocations Committee of the Education Department at the Municipality. Each child has an individualized work plan, which is updated periodically according to his progress. The main goal is to mainstream children in the regular school system. Some children spend one or two days a week integrated in regular preschools as preparation for mainstreaming, while receiving all their treatments at Arugot Preschool. A team of highly professional staff caters to the needs of the children. In addition to a regular preschool schedule, the program provides paramedical treatments: speech and occupational therapy, psychologist (sent from the Municipality) and a pet therapist. Children enjoy musical activities and benefit from a gardening project – growing their own plants, vegetables, and flowers – a fun activity that enhances personal development. The success rate of this program is measured by looking at the schools that children are enrolled at when graduating to first grade. The results of this program are astonishing – since its inception in 2003, 75 – 80% graduate to regular first grade classes every year.
The overall aim is for children to develop and improve and join their peers in regular school frameworks.
Mirit Levy, Director of Developmental Preschools, recently completed an in depth 2 year training course in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) which will enhance her work with children and enable her to train preschool teachers under her supervision.
The staff received training in D.I.R. – The Greenspan Floortime Approach, giving them valuable tools when working with children.
Giraffe Language is an innovative approach in one of our developmental preschools. Giraffe Language – Changing Learned Communication Patterns – is a behavioral method helping children speak the language of the heart, the language of emotions, to resolve conflict, to communicate effectively, to promote mutual respect and compassion while clarifying feelings. The Giraffe is characterized by a big and compassionate heart, as opposed to the Jackal who is aggressive and has limited communication. Children are trained to choose Giraffe Language and not the Jackal’s language and his reactions. Following a fight, children go and sit in a cute little “reconciliation room”; there they work out their feelings together. Usually they exit the room arm in arm with smiles on their faces.
In order to enable all staff members to use this method, the entire staff of the preschools participated in a series of lectures on this topic.
Sensory Diet is an approach used to enhance sensory integration using a range of interventions. In one preschool children start off the day imitating animals: crawling like cats, sliding like snakes, jumping like frogs and walking on all fours face up like spiders – all this contributes to their sense of self, helps them organize their bodies and calms them down. When they have to sit down they are able to concentrate and learning flows.
Special Project to learn about the neighbourhood included a learning excursion followed by the building of a model including streets, houses, shops, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and street signs. The second stage of this project is learning road safety.
Recycling materials, water conservation, looking after the environment
Much effort is put into teaching children about the importance of the environment.
When planting, plants are hung vertically, and water drips from top down, teaching water conservation.
Creating works of art, while working together in groups, and using materials that are recycled is a great success. This includes team work, planning and sharing.
In this picture is a “coffee shop” designed and built by the children from recycled materials. The children stand in line to “buy” and then enjoy cookies, which they themselves baked.
After-School Framework has been established for children of working mothers who need a full day framework, including a hot lunch. Developmentally delayed children are integrated with their typically developing peers during the after school hours. This mutually beneficial program enhances their social, cognitive, and physical development. Mothers benefit when they are able to work a long day and rest assured that their children are well cared for.
“The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis.”
– Temple Grandin –
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