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The Meshi Early Childhood Development Center

Meshi’s Early Childhood Development Center welcomes children from age six months to eight years, born with neurological or developmental disorders or who developed muscle or nervous system disorders following a debilitating illness or injury. The Center consists of a nursery daycare facility (operating from 7:30 AM to 4 PM), and a kindergarten (open from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM.) One of the country’s top rehabilitation facilities, the Meshi Center is also one of the very few places to accept children under age three into a daycare/nursery school environment. Although most of the children are from the greater Jerusalem area, some make long round-trip journeys daily from cities in central and southern Israel in order to attend Meshi.

Children are given nutritious, warm meals each day---cooked with love by a special crew who are careful to blend and mash portions for children who cannot swallow well.

Early Intervention, Individualized Therapy—and an Amazing Multi-Disciplinary Team

Early Intervention, Individualized Therapy Programs—and an Amazing Multi-Disciplinary TeamA student’s first moment in Meshi begins well before their first day of school. Upon the child’s acceptance, Meshi therapists travel across Jerusalem and the nation to make a personal home visit. They come to offer professional suggestions on improving handicap accessibility in the home—and for an opportunity to meet and involve the parents from the start.

In keeping with Meshi’s client-centered approach, the parents—and not solely the medical assessment-- become a major force in determining the goals and the components of the child’s therapeutic and educational program. In time, as the child grows, he or she will take an active role in determining the pace and path of the development program as well.

Meshi’s professionals offer intensive therapy at a very early age. This focus upon early intervention, comprehensive rehabilitation and intensive therapy has proved to be a virtual lifesaver, time and again, for children with physical and neurological damage. By seizing this rare, very limited window of opportunity, children can make major developmental progress.

Meshi students are given between eight to twelve sessions weekly of specialized therapy, including physical, occupational and speech, in careful coordination by the staff. Each therapy is individually adapted to the child’s needs, and frequently combines conventional therapy with bold, innovative techniques that Meshi has pioneered in Israel.

The wellspring of Meshi’s dynamic operation is its outstanding professional and educational staff. Many have been with Meshi since the Center’s inception, and all are given the freedom and encouragement to introduce new, innovative programs. Most important, the staff works closely in a multidisciplinary approach that takes each child’s physical, emotional and developmental needs into consideration. The extremely high staff to student ration enables a great deal of one-on-one attention for Meshi’s very important young clients.

8-12 Intensive, Innovative Therapy Sessions Per Week

Intensive, Innovative Therapy Sessions Per WeekThe youngsters in Meshi’s Early Childhood Development Center are given between eight to twelve therapy sessions per week, far above the minimum hours required by the government. In a bright, lively rehabilitative environment, each Meshi child is given both individual and group treatment in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, plus supplemental music therapy and animal therapy, hydrotherapy at a therapeutic pool, and psychosocial sessions.

Physical therapy treatments are enhanced by regular "work-outs" in Meshi’s extraordinary fitness room, complete with a treadmill (with a low screen to watch videos while exercising) and other specialized gym equipment. There’s also a spacious "gymboree" area for group exercise fun on a wall-to-wall mat.

The Finest Equipment for the Most Precious Children

A glance down any Meshi corridor or classroom reveals a seemingly endless array of metal, plastic and wooden rehab equipment of various small sizes and shapes. Hundreds of pieces of specialized equipment are available for the changing needs of the youngsters. The sophisticated, custom-made equipment includes state-of-the-art power and manually-operated wheelchairs, specially equipped chairs, standers, walkers, benches, scooters, seats, bicycles and tricycles. Many children require the full gamut of apparatus, which must be adapted or changed as the child grows and develops. Beyond helping Meshi’s children stand, walk and speak, these devices also enable children to play and to gain independence and mobility for interaction with teachers, therapists—and the world at large.

A Time to Learn

Children are taught in traditional nursery and kindergarten settings with four classes of students aged one to three, and nine classes of four to six-year-olds, and seven-year-olds.  Activities, lessons and structured play are designed to cultivate cognitive and reasoning skills while building physical strength and self-confidence. Small classes of eight to ten children allow for individualized attention while providing the group structure necessary for social development and shared interaction. Each class is staffed with its own team of teachers, assistants and therapists who offer students boundless love and positive reinforcement.

Kindergarten is Fun!

Kindergarten is Fun!Like all kids, Meshi’s children love special activities. The custom-equipped outdoor playground provides a great chance to enjoy playing on a slide and a jungle gym with friends, in Jerusalem’s warm sunshine. With their "fleet" of therapeutic tricycles and bicycles, the Meshi kids stop traffic as they ride off, with therapists in tow, to explore nearby neighborhood parks.

Singing, arts and crafts and birthday party celebrations are always great attractions. And the children work as a team on projects too---The highlight is a class play at the close of the year, where everyone has a starring role. Even children who cannot speak "recite" their lines proudly, without missing a beat, thanks to the help of their computer-communication devices.

Where Do the Children Go From Here?

The primary goal—with an excellent record of success-- is to help children reach mainstreaming into the regular school system. These children and their families are well prepared for the move not only academically, but also through special sessions by the psychosocial team to ready them to leave the security of Meshi’s protective environment.

Children who are not capable of mainstreaming into regular schools continue from kindergarten into the Meshi School, acclaimed for its outstanding therapeutic and educational program to help students reach their full potential. Click here for Meshi School

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