About the project
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Joint project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Charitable Foundation “Joint” :
Integration of children with special needs into
the Jewish community of Moscow
In 2006, JAFI and JDC initiated the project “Integration of children with special needs into the Jewish community of Moscow” with the financial support from the Federation of Jewish Communities of New York.
Our joint project is one of the largest non-government initiatives in the field of integration that unites the efforts of four Moscow educational institutions, three NGOs and the Jewish community & cultural center MEOD.
The following NGOs engaged in the field of education the children with special educational needs participate in the project:
- Center for Curative Pedagogic
- Regional Public Organization for Disabled “Perspektiva”
- Regional Public Organization for Disabled and Disabled Children “Kovcheg”
According to practicing educators, the percentage of children with behavioral problems has lately increased significantly. Moscow Jewish schools also face this challenge since up to 50% of students now require special approach.
The teachers lack experience and knowledge necessary to ensure the efficiency of educational process in these new circumstances.
The Integration project is aimed at both socialization of children with special needs i.e. severe disabilities and at helping children with behavioral problems such as ADHD or elements of autistic or deviant behavior since the latter are simply rejected today by the existing educational system.
All activities for children with special needs and their parents (schools, Sunday schools, family camps) are held within the framework of groups of “regular” children.
“Regular” and “special” children study and play together; together, they enjoy Jewish culture and tradition. Together, all children and parents overcome social prejudices and complexes through drawing upon Jewish self-awareness and tolerance.
The project has been functioning already for 7 years, so the teams engaged in it already have their own pool of know-how in the field of integration which can be used not only by the schools in the project but by other educational institutions.
At its first stages, the project unfolded in the framework of already existing services and programs provided by Jewish organizations.
But as the project developed, its goals and objectives were becoming broader and more complex.
The Integration project solved the following three major tasks over the period 2007-2012:
Intensive direct assistance to such children facilitated and broadened their access to participation in the Jewish communal life and to education including the studies of Hebrew, history, tradition and culture of Jewish people.
School teams (and, first of all, their faculties) familiarized themselves in practice with the concept of integrative school; the majority of teachers acquired substantial experience and skills in the field of educating children with special needs.
Different models of integrative schools were developed and tested.
The project activities resulted in the following notable changes in the life of children with special needs:
- New opportunities for development and socialization of such children are created.
- Children with special needs enjoy better access to education.
- Parents are being empowered to rehabilitate children at home.
- Families enjoy improved relationship and acquire new vision of life possibilities.
- Children and parents are better integrated into communal life having affiliated with cultural and spiritual values of their people.
The project unites organizations providing formal and informal education.
The following Jewish schools are engaged in the project:
The following institutions participate in the informal education component of the Integration project:
Moscow Jewish Community House (MEOD)
Sunday schools supported by the JAFI educational department
Sunday school at the Center for curative pedagogic
Kovcheg integrative school
OROSIR Sunday schools and Sunday schools run by Jewish schools (Etz Haim, ORT, Tkhia Educational Center)
In addition to above, extra class activities are held in the schools.