Tuesday, 23 February 2016

ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER CONDUCTIVE SCHOOL


Tsad Kadima's, in Rishon LeZion


Yesterday Conductive World presented the educational concept of Fortschritt Rosenheim's inclusive conductive school at Oberaudorf-Inntal:


There are of course other CE schools, in different social contacts and at different points in their own historical development.

Accounts of the principles and practice of conductive schools are rare. Below is an account of Tsad Kadima's Rishon LeZion school, in principle and in practice, written by English special educator and author Michael Farrell. This account was first published in 2012, acknowledging how his visit and understanding were informed by Rony Schencker.

The Tsad Kadima Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Tsad Kadima as a specialist centre is a professional hub and a social identification hub for the community with physical disabilities from early childhood to adulthood. It offers a continuum of services for children with cerebral palsy living within the municipal area. Pupils from other municipalities around Rishon LeZion participate as well. It is also a training centre for students who study to become conductors. It offers accessibility to a 'conductive upbringing environment' for pupils and teachers in the regular educational system as part of the socialisation process. The centre develops and nurtures a special 'tool box' which includes specialised pedagogy (conductive pedagogy) for children, parents and staff. Tsad Kadima provides educational, didactic, therapeutic and social processes, practised mainly but not only in special educational institutions for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy and their families. This aims to facilitate both optimal learning experiences and inclusion within the children's capabilities. The Center has a variety of specialists including, importantly, 'conductors'.


'Preparation for inclusion' at the Tsad Kadima Special Education Center allows and supports the development of an orthofunctional personality of the child and his family. An orthofunctional individual has a general capacity for adapting or learning, allowing him throughout his life to adapt increasingly to his natural and social environment. 'Complementary inclusion' is implemented outside the formal educational framework, involving mainly extracurricular activities, free time, development of social skills, and preparation for independent housing. 'Inclusion in stages' is designed for children with cerebral palsy from the age of kindergarten up to secondary school. It involves partnership between the special education system and the regular education system, and offers a range of various possibilities of conductive inclusion stretching between special education and regular education.

This partnership exists in a number of ways: a bridge to inclusion and neighbourhood inclusion. A bridge to inclusion is in partnership with the educational frameworks not geographically close to the Tsad Kadima Center. The partnership relates mainly to children of kindergarten age at the Center. These frameworks are designed to enable children to become familiar with social interaction and living together at an age when typical children are more accessible and open to accepting others. 'Neighbourhood inclusion' allows children with cerebral palsy to belong to both the special and regular education systems simultaneously, benefitting from the advantages of each. In time, a common language is created which influences what is being done in each of them.

The sequence of the possibilities of inclusion moves from the separate to the inclusive. At the Tsad Kadima Center there is a professional staff (conductors and the health and care professionals) in keeping with the idea that inclusion starts while the child is still learning in the special education setting. Accordingly, an individual progressive programme is created for each child designed to lead him towards inclusion through three basic stages:
  1. The special education framework at the base, preparing for inclusion and the initial experiences in it.
  2. Partial inclusion in the regular education system with the base still in the special education framework.
  3. The child's inclusion in the regular education system, accompanied by the regular guidance of the school's inclusion team, with the child's special needs provided for by the special education staff.
Parents are full partners in all of the educational processes. The conductor accompanies the child, the family and the including school at every stage from the separate framework to full inclusion. In Tsad Kadima Center conductors provide children with learning experiences in their daily lives incorporating a variety of functions designed to move the children towards independence. Additionally conductive support and instruction are available to the children and the staff at the including school. At the elementary and at the middle school [in Rion LeZion], where some 30 children with cerebral palsy are included, there are homeroom teachers, teachers of various subjects, special education teachers, health professionals and advisory staff. In these schools the conductors play an important role as the intermediaries between the child and his special needs, his family, and the school's environment with all its complexities. Tsad Kadima provides services for a variety of age groups in the community included in special or regular education. This includes active summer camps for children included in regular education, a practice flat for teenagers in preparation for independent living, and a flat in the community for adults with cerebral palsy.



It is instructive to read the reports on the conductive schools in Rishon LeZion and Rosenheim side by side, though the two accounts are not of course directly comparable:
  • accounts by visitors present both advantages and disadvantages
  • the same may be said about accounts by those closely involved
  • this second edition of Michael Farrell's book was published in 2012, and is may thefore already be an historical account, a report on work in progress, with time for further development to have occurred since, in both model and practice.
Reference

Farrell, M. (2012) The Tsad Kadima Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel, in Educating Special Children, second edition, Oxford and New York, Routledge, pp. 22-24




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