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be prepared

'Shamayim' (Preparing for first grade‫ )‏‬is a Regional Council program built through collaboration between different departments of the
council. The program is founded on awareness and understanding of the need among a portion of kindergarten children who struggle in
attaining the skills needed for the transition to 1st grade. The goal of the program is to advance 1st grade preparedness among kindergar-
teners while professionally advancing kindergarten teachers so that they can guide the process in the kindergarten's daily routine. Thus
the program is delivered in the kindergarten, to both the kindergarten teacher and the children, with the knowledge and involvement of
the parents.
The Preparing for first grade‫‏‬program includes a weekly session with an occupational therapist and a speech therapist for the older children
followed by professional guidance for the kindergarten teacher following the activity. Every
session is planned ahead of time and comprises a subject taken from the kindergarten's daily
routine. Each activity places emphasis on the skills required in preparing for the transition to
the first grade. This does not involve scholastic abilities but rather school-related behavioral
aspects such as: organizational skill, problem solving, independent thinking,
organizing school supplies, language abilities and their use in the need for solving motor
problems. The program combines between working to improve problem solving skills in vari-
ous areas and general
enrichment. In order for the work to be as professional and precise as possible, the kinder-
garten teacher receives weekly guidance sessions for conducting the program's activity. Both
teacher and guide devise the activity so that it best suits the specific kindergarten. Thus the
teacher's ability is enhanced, for spotting nuances and implementing the work of the sessions
in the kindergarten. During the second year of the program, the teacher is accompanied in
incorporating the tools acquired in the first year, spotting children who are struggling, and tai-
loring an adapted program for them. Each year since the beginning of the program, three kin-
dergartens in the regional council are beneficiaries of its activity. All partners in the program
are reporting significant learning among the kindergarten teachers including an expanded
set of tools at their disposal. Parents are describing a change in their children's attitude as well
as their ability to handle content in preparation for the first grade. They also report on their
children's improved skills and ability to conduct themselves. In summing up, this program is unique to the Regional Council and generates
a common language in 1st grade preparation, as part of the Council's overall 'transitions' program. The program is currently in the process
of evaluation and a push for improvement. The evaluation is based on feedback from the schools and is being accompanied by the Du-Et
Institute.

Ein
Hashofet

Kibbutz

Ein
Haemak

Moshav

Megidon | February 2015 7
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