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Junk Yard – southern Branch, Beer Sheva

“The Junk Yard” is a program that enables the children to experience a variety sense-motor activities and independent learning through trial and error. In the Junk Yard, the children develop their playing skills that include investigation, imitation, building and symbolic games.

The junk yard in ELIYA Beer Sheva is modified to the needs of blind and visually impaired children ages 1-3 years. The yard is located in a closed and secure space; the objects are placed in permanent locations and close to one another. In the junk yard the children make use of objects that provide diverse senses information. The yard is organized in a way that considers the elements that encourage using the remains of sight such as lighting conditions, lightening and contrast between figures and their background.

The children arrive at the yard (which is in the kindergarten structure) in accordance to their therapeutic plan, and accompanied by the kindergarten staff (para-medical therapists, teachers and teachers assistants).

The experiences notebook

A speech therapist conducts the “experiences notebook” activity. Each child has a notebook that he uses to convey information on an experience he had with his family, to the other children and kindergarten staff.

Through his parents, the child writes down the story of his experience and even pastes a small souvenir from the event. Through the souvenir the child can be reminded of the experience and illustrate it to the entire group.

This activity was created because of the need to strengthen the connection between the home and the kindergarten and in order to encourage inter-personal communication, verbal and expression skills.

The kindergarten staff uses the notebook to share the experiences the child has at school with the child’s family: after a day trip or special activity, the child will “tell’ his parents about it through the notebook.

Group for motor enrichment, orientation and mobility

Visually impaired and blind infants suffer from delayed motor development due to the following causes:

  • Lack of interest in the surroundings which they don’t see and are not aware of.
  • Anxiety and fear of investigating the surroundings that they perceive as intimidating.
  • Dull experimenting and exposure to their surroundings.
  • Tendency of close people to over protect and prevent motor independence from children.

The delayed motor skill exists in different levels in accordance with the severity of the visual impairment.

Blind children have serious difficulties in jumping, running and complex motor and coordinative assignments.

The low volume of movement leads to muscle weakness, bad posture, tendency to be overweight and in the long run pain in joints and limbs that are not moved.

It is essential to exercise these children’s motor skills in order to expose them to their abilities without any fear. To teach them to plan their steps independently, enjoy movement that is so necessary for their proper emotional development and to strengthen their muscles. To teach them to be aware of their posture and to dare and move in the environment and discover the world.

The activity is divided into activity in the sports room – in a defined space and outdoor activity, in the yard – in an open space.

In addition, the children are divided into a group of blind children and a group of visually impaired children. Each group is continuously active in the yard and then in the sports room.

Sensation group

Ms. Avigail Vershavsky, occupational therapist, holds a sensation group for the hostel’s classes once a week. They start out with working on body sensations through hand massages and a variety of movements, and then expose the children to different textures, while making sure that they expand the repertoire (coffee beans, small pebbles, rock salt and newspapers).

Towards the end of the activity the children are exposed to different odors and tastes through a variety of plants and oils.

The repertoire in all parts of the session keeps expanding.

The group is intended mainly for children that suffer from complex development issues and low motor skills.


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