Olena Zelenska got herself acquainted with the Israeli system of socialization of children with disabilities

According to the teachers, each pupil attends primary lessons, music lessons, acquires social skills through movement, arts and crafts.


In the framework of the working visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the State of Israel, the First Lady Olena Zelenska visited a school for pupils with complex types of disability.

A special feature of HaDvir HaHadash school in Jerusalem is the integration of children with special needs into society. Therefore, the emphasis here is placed on social aspects rather than educational ones – they teach children to be self-sufficient, cope with everyday life, instill the basics of personal hygiene.

According to the teachers, each pupil attends primary lessons, music lessons, acquires social skills through movement, arts and crafts. Duration of classes varies from 20 to 45 minutes. There are no more than six pupils in each class. There are 29 children aged 6 to 21 in the school. Typically, up to 70 people study in such institutions in Israel.

Among the group methods of therapy are occupational therapy, physical therapy, shiatsu, horse riding, hydrotherapy and more. Tours and annual group trips are organized. From the age of 14, pupils work in student workshops – baking bread, recycling paper and making tableware from recycled paper, gardening.

A regular city school is located next to HaDvir HaHadash, in a neighboring building. As explained to the President’s wife, the idea is that the pupils see each other, interact, spend time together, communicate. In order to make children feel part of the community, the school also initiates common lessons and community cafeterias on a monthly basis.

The school leadership told Olena Zelenska about a decision to provide home-type meal – a menu of mostly vegetarian dishes cooked by the staff together with the students. The school has about 60 employees.

The President’s wife asked how Israel managed to achieve such a level of inclusion. Representatives of the school called the new law on full inclusion, which entered into force last year, a significant step. The concept is, first and foremost, the acceptance of one another and the willingness of society to be open and friendly.

“Normal society should not isolate, brush off. I have heard about Israeli schools whose profile is socialization – their flexibility, their focus on the child’s social needs, their caring attitude and instilling of autonomy. Now, with my own eyes, I was convinced of the effectiveness of such approaches,” Olena Zelenska said in a conversation with the administration of the educational institution and personally thanked the teachers.

“Your school is a truly unique state-public project. And I would like to separately thank the teachers, who help the children in adaptation, for their noble mission,” the President’s wife emphasized.


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