Ezer Mizion has always worked on two fronts. The organization provides services for those undergoing crises in their lives such as families dealing with serious illness, special children, an elderly or Alzheimer parent or a member dealing with mental health challenges.
In addition, some difficulties can be prevented, surmounted or ameliorated by means of educational programs offered to families and professionals. Authoritative, up-to-date information will enlighten those involved presenting informative, insightful elucidation of the situation. The family and professionals become empowered with a greater understanding of the disorder which leads to identifying means of overcoming the difficulties or at least preventing exacerbation of the state of affairs.
Ezer Mizion’s preschool division is a prime example. The organization has developed a much-lauded early intervention program which serves to shed light during the preschool years on difficulties that would interfere with the child’s success in his later education. Means of identifying the problems and lessening or eliminating them form the crux of the program. The informational syllabus is being brought to preschools across the length and breadth of Israel. The following letter written by a grateful preschool director is one of the many received.
Much positive change has taken place in our school due to the program. Teachers are more aware of childhood development and how they influence outcomes for children. In addition, teachers are more open to discussing issues that they see in their students The attitude has switched from “all my students are doing great cuz I’m a great teacher” to “as an educator, it is my responsibility to notice where a child’s strengths and weakness lie and to explore how to bring a child up to the next level or to refer her to outside help when necessary”.
A major transformation in our ganim is that now most of the weekly activities are being done in small groups enabling the teacher to gear instruction according to students’ levels. In general, teachers are more aware of what they want to accomplish with any given activity. As our teachers are becoming more aware of early childhood development we have seen an increase in students being referred to gan safeh and therapy, thus enabling them to gain the tools to be successful students in kitah aleph (first grade) .
The course has increased my own knowledge and confidence and has gone a long way towards developing interpersonal skills that make meeting with parents a much smoother process. As a result, we have seen a change in the attitude of parents when meeting with them to explain that their child is showing a delay in a specific developmental domain. We now see much less confrontation and a more accepting attitude when exploring possible intervention for students.
It is our hope that with the proverbial ‘stitch in time’ many, many students will have their needs addressed, thus eliminating a great deal of frustration, poor self- esteem, joining the fringes, drugs, cults – much stemming from lack of success in a school environment.
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.