Ilanot






Ilanot School for Special Education




Summer camp.

Photo: Ilan Foundation

Our first impressions of Ilanot School in the Katamon neighborhood
of Jerusalem were the bright colors, the well-tended pet corner, framed student
artwork, and smiling students and staff. As we toured the school with Principal
Puah Flex, these first impressions did not disappoint.


Children between the ages of six and
21 learn academic and life skills at the Ilanot School for Special Education.
Students at Ilanot suffer from degenerative cerebral conditions which cause
muscular disabilities. Additional difficulties, such as speech and learning
disabilities, also manifest themselves.


The school’s 53 students span nine
grades. Since students are grouped by ability, not age, there may be a three-year
age difference in a single class. Children come from all sectors of Israel’s
population: religious and secular, Jews and Arabs. The regional school serves
children from Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and the surrounding areas.


The Ilanot goal is to bring each student
to the highest level of which they are capable in academic and independent
living areas.


A particularly wonderful feature of
the Ilanot School is the model apartments which are furnished just like the
real thing — to further help students learn the ropes of independent living.
In addition, there is an on-site store for students to learn how to purchase
goods.


Together with the students of Amit’s
Dror School
, Ilanot students participate in art club at the Israel
Museum.
Two Ilanot classes also have joint programming with two classes
of the Keshet school.




Original artwork in the corridors of
Ilanot School.

Photo: M. Kaplan-Green


The school staff of 50 includes teachers
in various disciplines and a medical staff of psychiatrists and clinicians.
Volunteers play an important role in running the school: among other roles,
an on-site carpentry shop constructs custom equipment and furniture to meet
specific needs.


The Ilan Foundation provides
daily transportation for the students and runs an on-site after school program
until 5:00 PM five days a week. Each year in August, during summer vacation,
the Ilan Foundation assists the children through day camps run at kibbutzim
such as Ein Tzurim, Merav and Ma’ale Gilboa.


Text by M. Kaplan-Green.






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