The Principals’ Forum

November 10, 2013

The Principals’ Forum “This kid’s a real serious problem. In class, he sits like a stone, staring at the ceiling. At recess, it’s no better. He’s always alone. He never plays with the other children.” The principal looked down at the desk and signed. “I really don’t understand what’s going on. In preschool, his entire class was screened for developmental delays as part of the Maagan Achiya program, but now that he’s in second grade, he’s floundering. Could you take a look at him, and try to figure out what’s going on?”


It did not take me long to detect that the child had gross motor problems, mostly involving the upper body, difficulty distinguishing between different body parts, and a general lack of coordination. He also complained that he hated sitting in class, and that it hurt to write.


Of course I also looked at the child’s file. Yup! In preschool he was diagnosed with motor difficulties that were severe enough to require outside professional therapy. The parents were strongly advised to take him for professional help. They refused.


Rabbi Tennenbaum, a Developmental Assistant for Maagan Achiya Bnei Brak, opened the first session of the Principals’ Forum with the above story. “This short story,” Rabbi Tennenbaum concluded, “illustrates the importance of early intervention in preventing later problems. As principals of large schools, it’s important that you understand the importance of Maagan Achiya’s screending and intervention program, and use you influence to encouarage parents to take full advantage of the program’s services.”


On October 20, 2013, principals of eight well-known Bnei Brak boys’ schools joined representatives from the Bnei Brak Municipality, representatives of Achiya and representatives of the Maagan Achiya Program, to attend the first of six sessions focusing on the Maagan Achiya Program presently operating in their pre-schools. The meeting focused on conveying to the principals the full impact of the program and their important role as partners toward its success.


Future sessions will encourage dynamic discussions between the principals, representatives from the Bnei Brak Municipality and representatives from Achiya and the Maagan Achiya Progams to look for ways to improve the program and find practical solutions for any problems that might come up. We expect that all these sessions will be a practical learning experience for all.