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The At HomeProgram "Voyage of the Stork"

This program is the original founding program of the nonprofit organization that commenced in 1985 with the first immigration wave of Ethiopian Jewry (Beita Yisrael), and was financed by the Van Leer Foundation.

When Almaya, the Association for the Advancement of the Ethiopian Family and Child in Israel, was established in 1989, the founder of the nonprofit organization and the at home program, the late Chassia Levine, continued operating the program in the framework of Almaya.

ganmotheranddaughterIn 1991, with the second wave of Beita Yisrael immigration, the Almaya's team and the professional tools developed in the home program constituted milestones as the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants throughout Israel commenced.  With the passage of time, additional needs surfaced, as the immigrants settled down in permanent housing and this prompted the development of additional programs at Almaya.

Target population:

  • Mothers of children ranging from newborn to three year olds
  • Children who are not integrated in any other educational framework whatsoever and children of mothers referred to us by the family social worker
  • Families interested in advancing the development of their children but are unable to do so by themselves due to cultural gaps, lack of information and knowledge, or lack of resources.

Objectives of the program

  • To promote the healthy development and enrichment of the children
  • To impart tools to parents allowing them to be the principal educators of their children
  • Developing the parents' responsibility (physical and educational) for educating their children
  • Enriching the mothers by expanding their knowledge and exposing them to a variety of educational frameworks
  • Raising the self-image of the mothers and their sense of capability, by providing legitimacy to their culture of origin, and in this way also enhancing the self-image of the children, by integrating the Ethiopian heritage and utilizing its contents.

The program's goals:

  • 24 families from the Ethiopian community.
  • Raising parental awareness about the importance of games as an educational tool
  • The counselor from the community becomes a role model for personal empowerment
  • Holding four group meetings during the year's activity
  • Monitoring the progress of the mother and child during the year's activity (checking at the start of the year, midyear, and at the end of the year)

The program's framework:

The program is based on individual counseling, provided to the mother at her home once a week by the counselor.  The counselors are guided by a coordinator who is a social worker by profession and receives professional guidance herself in the area of early childhood education.

The operation of the program incorporates the following contents:

A.      Early childhood counseling - defining the essence of early childhood to the mother, illustrating concepts pertaining to sensual development, cognitive development, and emotional-social development, according to the mother's concepts and her capability for internalizing, as well reinforcing the roles of the mother and father and the extended family in the child's development in early childhood

B.      The game as an educational and communicative tool - demonstrating didactic games such as memory games, Lego building, and use of home accessories for games with a child, preparing games from scrap materials, use of different games, preparing didactic games and preparing accessory materials that include elements of Ethiopian and Israeli culture.

C.      Language acquisition - creating a cultural bridge between the heritage and the family unit in a communications process between the adult and the child, while demonstrating verbal communication between the mother and child from the day of his birth, reinforcing use of songs and stories for the mother and child as well as demonstrating the way to read a story, illustrating and dramatizing it, the story as a means of emotional expression, intelligent television viewing, the use of children's programs and videotapes/discs.

D.      Child rearing - counseling the mother in caring for the baby at home, health: vaccinations, oral and dental hygiene, habits of cleanliness and order, proper nutrition, the prevention of accidents at home

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