Language Skills Program

The Language Skills Program was a three year pilot program that concluded at the end of the 2014 school year. The program was so successful that it is being expanded  into a new program aptly entitled A Taste of Honey.

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pictGOAL
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 To develop and promote language skills, expression and interpersonal communication in the Haredi preschools (3-6 year old children).

IMPACT:  in 2014
· 1,800 children in 60 preschool groups in Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit
   58 teachers who received intensive training in implementing language skills in their classrooms
   268 parents attended workshops and/or lectures

To view a presentation on the Language Skills Program

 

Partners in the Language Skills Program: Israel Ministry of Education, Yad Hanadiv, JDC Israel Ashalim, Wohl Foundation

 

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General Coordinator: Tzali Perlstein - B.A. Education, Former coordinator of Educational programs for the Karev Program for Educational Involvement, 38 years of experience in informal education
Consultant: Dr. Aviva Sverdlov – Ph.D. in Education, University of Tel Aviv, Former Director of Development of Early Childhood Education for the Israel Ministry of Education, 35 years of experience in the Field of Education

 

Faculty

 

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Yiddish Book Project -Faculty

 

 

The Language Skills program consists of:

  1. Implementing Language Skills in the classroom
  2. Teachers’ in-house workshops
  3. Parents’ workshops
  4. The Yiddish Book Project
  5. Mother-Child Play Group

 

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Achiya’s Language Skills Program is an outreach program for boys between the ages of 3 to 6, aimed at developing and promoting language skills, expression and interpersonal communication in young children.

 

Achiya’s pedagogical counselors provide intensive training through workshops and lectures to the over 50 teachers (melamdim) participating in the program on (a) the importance of language skills and enrichment, (b) techniques to improve communication and (c) how to implement speech skills and encourage verbal participation in the classroom. Once the melamdim have undergone basic training and understand the program, the pedagogical counselors work with the melamdim within the classroom, guiding them how to adapt what they have learned to the specific needs of their young charges. Achiya also assists the teachers in designing and equipping the classroom area in a way that encourages verbal interaction, both among the children as well as between the children and their teacher.

 

The Yad Hanadiv Foundation has provided Achiya with a generous grant to purchase suitable didactic games and socio-drama accessories for each of the 51 classrooms. Each class is equipped according to the children’s ages. The teachers are trained how to properly use the games and accessories as tools for improving language skills and general language enrichment. They learn that playtime through storytelling, drama and playing games, can be both enjoyable and educationally enriching.

 

Aviva Sverdlov, Educational Advisor for the Language Skills Program, explains the importance of the program: “Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between a young child’s mastery of a first language and later cognitive abilities. Since, at present, the majority of male preschool teachers have no professional training (a fact that is quickly changing, thanks to Achiya’s Teachers’ Training College) Achiya has seen the importance of providing younger children with language skills, in addition to giving the teachers knowledge that they will use to enrich future classes.

 

Shlomo Feurstein, who guides the teachers in implementing the program, explains: “Although the Talmud Torah curriculum is comprehensive, most of the learning that we encountered was passive. The children listened and then repeated what they had learned. As a result of our guidance and training, both within the classroom and in teachers’ workshops, the melamdim are now encouraging the children to express themselves. The teachers use the games and picture books that we’ve given them as springboards for class discussions.”

 

Parenting Workshops and Lectures are an integral part of the Language Skills Program.  Parents are made aware of the importance of encouraging verbal expression; given tips on improving children’s pre-reading skills and provided with guidance on regular parenting skills.

Teachers’ handbook: Following experience gained in the three year pilot program, Achiya professionals have written a teacher’s guide, which contains all the theoretical and practical material that the teachers need to implement the program in their classroom.

 

iddishbookTo augment Achiya’s Language Enrichment Program, Achiya, in collaboration with JDC-Ashalim and the Israeli Ministry of Education, has produced 20 beautifully illustrated children’s books written in Yiddish for children in Yiddish speaking kindergartens. The content of the children’s books were devised and designed by a committee of early education experts to be used all through the year in conjunction with the standard kindergarten curriculum. TO LEARN MORE

 

Mother &Child Playgroups in Bnei Brak and in Beitar-Ilit, provide real-time guidance to mothers, teaching them how to use toys and books to increase their children’s vocabulary and express themselves accurately. The program is limited to children at risk, and is under the guidance of JDC-Ashalim, the Social Services Department of Bnei Brak and the Social Services Department of Beitar-Ilit.

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Research

To view the English executive summary

To view the full Hebrew report

As part of a research project, the Meyers-Joint-Brookdale Institute has been evaluating the program since its inception in order to provide data that will be used to help perfect the program’s design and development.

Research includes:

 

1) Monitoring the program

 

2) Evaluating the impact of the program on the teachers’ general teaching ability

 

3) Evaluating the program’s influence on the teachers’ conversations with the children and the teachers’ ability to integrate language enrichment into their classrooms.