Templates II comes to an end (January 2022)

Our school project “An iPad in every classroom” (Templates II), which we launched on 1 September 2019, came to an end just before Christmas 2021. Thanks to this project, eight of our teachers took continuation education courses where they learned how to work with iPads and how to use them during instruction, the school purchased ten new sixth-generation iPads for its pupils, four teachers visited other special primary schools in order to exchange information and experience, and we organized four project days at our school. Although Covid restrictions sometimes made it difficult, we managed to meet all our obligations, had a fun and interesting time together, and learned many new things.

Fruit for schools (September 2021 to June 2022)

Fruit for schools (September 2021 to June 2022)

This year, our school signed up for the FRUIT FOR SCHOOLS project, which was organized in collaboration with the State Agricultural Intervention Fund. For the entire school year, we will be supplied fruit by the BOVYS company: fresh fruits and vegetable once every fourteen days for free. The project’s goal is to promote healthy nutrition and to increase children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. The project has its own website, www.ovocedoskol.szif.cz, where schools, parents, and children can learn all about it. At our school, the project is being organized by the autistic classroom as part of its lessons in reasoning and work. Pupils will learn to identify various types of fruits and vegetables and will be involved in the process of distributing and counting out the fruit for their classmates. And of course, they get to taste them as a reward.

Cooperation with the Center for Visual Impairment at Motol Hospital, 2021

Cooperation with the Center for Visual Impairment at Motol Hospital, 2021

We are glad that despite the limitations caused by Covid restrictions, we were able to take our pupils to the Center for Visual Impairment at Motol Hospital for examinations. And it wasn’t just any old examination – a kind therapist was waiting for us, and each child spent just under an hour with her. It barely felt like a medical exam. The friendly doctor, Markéta Skalická, talked with the accompanying parent or teacher (or both) and then played and chatted with the kids while testing their vision (which could help improve their ability to pay attention in school), observing how they view the world, what strategies they use, what helps them during observation, what makes visual perception difficult for them, what might help them see better, room for improvement and other development, and finally what objects, pictures, and aids are the most suitable for them at the moment. During each visit, we learned something new and useful. After that, the kids get some drops in their eyes and went for an exam with Dr. Filip Beránek, whose bedside manner made even this procedure a pleasant experience that the kids looked forward to. While waiting, we passed the time watching an iPad, inspecting the decoration in the hallways, eating a snack, or going for a walk outside the medical building. Many thanks to all who helped make this useful event a success. 

Continuing with Templates II (December 2020)

While the school was closed by government order from 2 to 17 November 2020, our teachers were working hard with four external assistants to put together the program for several project days. The first three project days were held in December, thus enriching the school’s educational program in the pre-Christmas season.
The final project day, “Happily to School, Happily to the Library,” will be held in the near future. 

Participation in the Templates II project

Template “Making use of ICT in education” with the title “An iPad in every classroom” and template “Educating Primary School Educational Workers” 

As part of the simplified Templates II projects, in the fall of 2019 our school purchased ten new iPads, thus nearly doubling our inventory of mobile devices while also allowing us to regularly incorporate the use of iPads in our instruction and for a larger number of pupils.
The project, which will be realized by December 2021, includes teacher participation in accredited educational seminars where they will learn how to effectively use the tablets in their classroom work. In view of our type our school and the high degree of supportive measures, our pupils primarily work with applications aimed at stimulating the senses (Gravitarium, Fluidity, Sound Touch, Kalendo Free), developing fine motor skills (Build it up, Tobík uklízí, Glow Draw), and practicing much-needed communications skills (Eda play Toby, GoTalk).
Many of our talented pupils are capable of working on iPads independently or with just minor help, while others require greater support throughout the entire lesson. iPads are used not only during instruction, but also for independent work. Some of the most popular applications are My Tom, Lipa Knight, Candy Crush, and Toca Doctor. The kids like to browse the photos and videos they took during their many different activities, such as their private teaching hour, working and movement activities, and the like. During free time or while relaxing, we use the iPads to listen to music, stories, or radio plays.
Teachers also pay attention to practical skills related to the wider use of iPads – they learn how to properly set up the tablet, how to work with photo and video editing apps (panoramic photographs, Pic Collage, slow-motion or sped-up videos), and how to properly archive and share documents. iPads are also used for online meetings and distance teaching.
Our use of iPads makes instruction more interesting and varied for teachers and for pupils with special educational needs, who often surprise us with how successful they at working with iPads. 

Integration Upside-Down 2019 (September – November 2019)

Integration Upside-Down 2019 (September – November 2019)
Our most successful year yet of the Integration Upside-Down project is behind us. We and our pupils were more than pleased at the openness of the group of kids from the Korunka Primary School and both their teachers, who guided their charges and prepared them for each of our visits. The series of three encounters took place from September to November 2019.
We expended every last effort to make sure that the time spent together would be beneficial to everyone involved, and that the “healthy” kids would get a look at the world of their peers with handicaps. We would like to thank the City of Prague’s Citywide Programs in Support of Education for funding these efforts.

Fourth year of the Children’s Smile project in the 2018/2019 school year

Fourth year of the Children’s Smile project in the 2018/2019 school year

During the 2018/2019 school, our school participated in the fourth year of the Children’s Smile project, and we are glad to say that our pupils’ parents have shown great interest in the subject of dental health. The project is organized under the auspices of Dr. Hana Zallmannová, with the patient support of dental hygienist Vendula Jaklová, who teaches parents and teachers how to properly look after children’s teeth, helps practice proper cleaning techniques, and aids in the selection of cleaning aids. Cleaning the teeth of children with multiple handicaps isn’t exactly easy, but increasing the quality of dental care is highly desirable, especially for preventative reasons.



Integration Upside-Down 2018 – City-wide support for education

Integration Upside-Down 2018 – City-wide support for education


During the second year of the “Integration Upside-Down” project, students from Chelčického Primary School’s class 2D met with students from Zahrádka’s rehabilitation class in three sessions at the Zahrádka Primary School.

The project’s aim is to bring together students from a regular primary school with their handicapped peers, and to familiarize them with how we teach handicapped children, including their support, therapy, and other activities. Thanks to these contacts, the project helps to remove any barriers that might exist between the two groups of students.

These objectives were met through self-experiential activities in which students from both schools participated. During the first meeting, the children could try out what it is like to perceive the world with all their senses, but with a focus on touch, taste, and smell. They explored a broad range of scents (for instance during aromatherapy), tried out various tactile aids, and experienced what it’s like to walk across interesting surfaces. As a result, they learned many new things about spatial orientation.

During the second meeting, the kids tried out various alternative forms of communication (signs, gestures, picture systems, photographs, sounds…). All these tools promoted mutual interaction, cooperation, and functional communication among the students from the two schools.

One interesting experience was learning about elements of basal stimulation during the third meeting. Basal stimulation can help students – and not just those with handicaps – to discover their own body and teach them to be more aware of it. The students from Chelčického learned about proper positioning and tried out various vibrational aids, a vibrating heat mattress, weighted blankets, and therapeutic pillows and tube cushions.

One important part of the program that was also a pleasant experience for all involved was the shared lunches that our students, aided by their teachers, prepared for their guests. At the end of each meeting, we engaged in a summary of what we did that day. All students could share their feelings and views on the day’s activities, and these talks naturally led us to focus on the main skills and information we learned, which can be applied to future interactions with handicapped individuals. Besides these social benefits, the visiting kids could also experience and learn about non-traditional activities and aids that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter at their school.

Also as part of the program, the students from Chelčického Primary School created interesting aids and objects that might help in daily instruction of Zahrádka’s students while also bringing them joy. For instance, they created a picture book with photographs of Chelčického’s students, showing how they were creating the various aids. Another creative product was a book of pictures and poems or songs, to be used for alternative communication. These books are still being used during classroom time with our students.


Integration Upside-Down 2017

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

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

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

“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
Project team

Music therapy studio

Music therapy studio In the 2006–2007 school year, our school completed its music therapy studio, which is used for active music therapy programs. With its audio and lighting equipment, the studio is a reflection of our school’s holistic approach to music therapy. The studio’s illumination through spotlights and the use of colored lights is done with a view towards the physical effect on the human organism. The surfaces on which pupils sit or lie contain integrated vibration surfaces allowing them to consciously ...

Building the SNOEZELEN room

Building the SNOEZELEN room In 2007–2010, we worked with the Zahrada Integration Center to build a SNOEZELEN room in the building’s basement. The word snoezelen is a combination of the Dutch words “snuffelen” to smell/sniff, to snoop) and “doezelen” (to doze).This multi-sensory stimulation room is built in order to meet the needs of the school’s students and the integration center’s other clients. After several years of practical use, the snoezelen room definitely has found its place among the search for new techniques ...

Conference: “Comprehensive Care for Pupils with Combined Handicaps”

Conference: “Comprehensive Care for Pupils with Combined Handicaps” Faculty of Education, Charles University, Prague20–21 October 2006The conference “Comprehensive Care for Pupils with Combined Handicaps” was organized by the Zahrádka Primary School in collaboration with the Special Education Department at Charles University’s Faculty of Education. It was held under the auspices of the faculty’s dean, Pavel Beneš, and Member of the European Parliament Zuzana Roithová. The conference was held as part of the faculty’s 60th anniversary.The aim of the conference ...

Publication on Rett Syndrome

Publication on Rett Syndrome  In the autumn of 2005, the Zahrádka Primary School, in cooperation with the Rett Community civic association and with the financial support of the Fund for Education, published the first Czech print publication on Rett syndrome.The publication offers professional contributions on Rett syndrome ...

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