Integration Upside-Down 2017
As part of the “Integration Upside-Down” project, three meetings were held with 2nd-grade pupils from the Chelčického Primary School, specifically from a class for children with learning disabilities. Five pupils from Zahrádka Primary School attended as well. The project’s aim was to introduce pupils from regular primary schools to the world of children with handicaps, to show them ways of supporting people with handicaps, to see their strengths, and to experience joy from being with them. These objectives were fulfilled through self-experiential activities that they engaged in together with the pupils from Zahrádka. The pupils could try out a simulation of various visual impairments, how to move around with a cane, or play regular children’s games while blindfolded. They tried out riding in a wheelchair and learned how to use one. The kids from Zahrádka and a physical therapist showed off some of their physical therapy techniques, which the kids from the regular school could try out for themselves.
In the music therapy studio and the snoezelen room, we presented a program focused primarily on promoting interaction, cooperation, and communication among the pupils from the different schools. The program was structured in a way so that pupils could try out working with aides that you won’t find in a regular school (a massage pool filled with plastic balls, aides for visual stimulation, non-traditional musical instruction, a vibrating podium etc.)
We also covered the subject of self-care, which is one of our pupils’ learning priorities. With their movement limited, the pupils moved from place to place, climbed onto a wheelchair, and put on clothing. At the end of our get-together, we created silk scarves and rainmakers that the kids used while in the music therapy studio. The pupils from both schools worked together to paint the scarves and make the rainmakers from cardboard tubes and beans. Each pupil got to take both products back to their school.
Every meeting concluded with a summary of the key information that the pupils should remember for the next time they encounter people with handicaps. There was also time for pupils to reflect on their experiences from the day and to ask questions and have then answered.
We also enjoyed refreshments together, which were prepared by pupils from with help from their teachers.
From the many photographs taking during each get-together, the pupils from Chelčického Primary School created a 3D folding cardboard book showing the most important and, for the pupils, most interesting moments from the meetings. The book was put on displace at Zahrádka Primary School.
Lectures on teaching girls with Rett Syndrome
On 9 June, 22 September, and 3 November, the Zahrádka Primary School hosted an educational series on selected aspects of “Comprehensive Care for Girls with Rett Syndrome.” Our special education teachers and their colleagues from the integration center prepared an introductory seminar on this extremely rare genetic illness, followed by a discussion of the topics of communication, physical therapy, ergotherapy, and relaxation techniques (especially basal stimulation and music therapy). The series was financed by a grant in support of education within the City of Prague in 2016. A total 48 teachers attended the workshops.
We would like to thank all participants, colleagues, and guests for their interest, and we wish team all the best and much success in their important and difficult work.
The “Children’s Smile” project
One of our key words for the new school year is “health.” That includes healthy teeth, and so we and our school have joined the “Children’s Smile” project by the Czech Green Cross. The project, which is already active at many preschools and primary schools, takes a playful approach to explaining to kids at school the connection between good tooth-brushing habits, nutrition, and the formation of cavities and periodontitis. As part of each lesson, pupils practice proper tooth-brushing skills.
For the Zahrádka Primary School, the project has been adapted to reflect the needs of our pupils and their parents. It consists of six visits by a dental hygienist, Mrs. Vendula Jaklová. The introductory meeting focused on explaining the project’s goals and presenting practical examples. The subsequent meetings will focus on individual work with the children, their parents, and the school’s teachers and their colleagues from the integration center. Since we are the first special education school with pupils with multiple handicaps to participate in the project, we will be working with the project organizers to find try to find the best approach. In any case, we welcome this possibility and are looking forward to it. We are also glad that parents have expressed an interest and are actively involved. Thanks go to Mrs. Jaklová for her patience, enthusiasm, and constant smile!
New Pathways to Practice
“New Pathways to Practice.”
The school is participating in the project “New Pathways to Practice: Innovation in Special Education” by the European Social Fund’s Prague Adaptability Operational Programme.
About the project