INCLUDE Special Needs

High Holy Days Resources

Printable Activity Pages for Kids

Kids fidget. 
Adults fidget.
Everyone has a little trouble focusing sometimes.

Keep little hands/minds engaged with activity pages created for kids of all abilities and appropriate for all types of observance. Use at home, in the car, on an airplane or during services.  Share it. Print it. Pass it on!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Check out whats inside:

High Holy Days Opportunities for Families from Kesher

INCLUDE Day of Learning | A Window into the Work

Recently, 50 educators gathered from all over the Bay Area for our annual INCLUDE Day of Learning, a day focused on the inclusion of people with special needs in Early Childhood and K-8 Jewish educational programs.  

The experience affords an opportunity to reflect on our methodologies – not WHAT we teach, but HOW we aim to impact Jewish learning.

 Meredith Englander Polsky engages with attendees

Meredith Englander Polsky engages with attendees

In our work, we often face a dilemma.  

Teachers most often seek practical help – tools, techniques, resources – specific tools that they can use to improve their practice.  In the world of leadership development, one might call these “technical solutions.”

 Eve Margol addresses differentiated learning

Eve Margol addresses differentiated learning

However, we are not satisfied by technical solutions, because technical solutions are a band-aid. Instead, we seek to address these technical challenges by pursuing, promoting and training toward higher-level thinking to effect deeper changes – in day-to-day practice AND in the way we think.  

 Dr. David Neufeld takes questions

Dr. David Neufeld takes questions

Addressing these higher-level challenges might be called “adaptive thinking" and have a better chance of resulting in "adaptive solutions.”  One method by which we help influence these adaptive approaches is to provide “educational thought leadership” - helping educators think differently about important aspects of their practice.

But we don't stop there.  We pour tremendous energy into deepening our efforts to expand beyond thought leadership.  We work to equip educators with knowledge, skills and tools that they are prepared to use in their classrooms.

Yesterday, we brought Meredith Englander Polsky, Covenant Educator Award winner and founder of a sister inclusion organization, Matan, and her colleague, Eve Margol, founder of Linked Education Resources from New York to our community to partner with our own Dr. David Neufeld.  Together, the three thought leaders engaged with 50 educators representing a huge cross section of our community on this very subject. 

I'm thrilled to report that participant reactions indicate shifts in deeper thinking, one educator reported "really understanding that every child is made in the image of G-d and remembering and honoring that even in the hardest moments." And, every single educator was able to report concrete actions they plan to bring to their classrooms.  

Other evaluations similarly referred to both modes of learning – “Eve’s workshop…was a dream because it contained a lot of concrete tools and strategies…” and “I loved David’s workshop on integrating sensory  tools…eye-opening and really helpful,” and “I loved how you addressed the emotions and concerns that we educators have about ourselves…”  Though these comments were cherry-picked, the evaluations were uniformly and enthusiastically positive.

If you would like to know more about what was covered during the Day of Learning or if you are interested in supporting this important work in some way, please be in touch with David Neufeld - dneufeld@jewishlearningworks.org

Hanukkah @Shul

Kids fidget. Adults fidget. Everyone has a little trouble focusing sometimes. Several years ago, when Hanukkah fell on Shabbat, we created these printable activity pages to help keep little hands engaged with Hanukkah @Shul. 

Don't let the title fool you - It can be used in your home, in the car and everywhere in between.

Reflection on INCLUDE Special Needs Family Camp Reunion

On February 14th, we hosted another incredible Special Needs Family Camp Reunion.  We received a lovely note from a participating family, which we share here to offer a window into the important work of Inclusion.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful afternoon yesterday.  My husband and I were discussing the whole event on the way home.  Our family had such a good time -- all of us!   It was really wonderful to be in the environment of "family camp" again and to see people who we care so much about.  It was also a joy to share the wonders of camp with the new families.  I hope the day impacted them in such a way that they avail themselves of the opportunity to attend camp.  

I know from experience that it will enrich their lives.  I believe it is our responsibility as "seasoned/more experienced" parents to share with others our experience, strength and hope that, even in the darkest moments, it does get better.  We can live joyous, Jewish lives and be embraced by those who completely understand, through good times and bad. 

We are a blessed community.  I am personally grateful to this program for continuing to create this space and place for us.  It's the camp experience which I credit for teaching me that, although raising my son has been my greatest challenge in life, pushing me well beyond my limits, that it has also been my greatest teacher.  My son has taught me what really matters in life -- love, patience, acceptance, understanding, kindness and resilience, plus much more.

JKids High Holy Days Edition

You're Invited! Special Needs Conference!

Everyone in God's Image: 

A Conference on Inclusion and 

Disabilities in our Jewish Community

SUNDAY MAY 3, 2015
8:30am - 4:30pm 
at Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Community Day School
800 Foster City Boulevard, Foster City
 

REGISTER NOW!

Advanced: $18
At the door: $36

Join the Facebook group!


 . Inspiring Conversations . 
. Illuminating Breakout Sessions . 
 . Parallel Programs for Kids . 
. Childcare Available .

 

Click Here for More Details

A day at Special Needs Family Camp

A letter to our Board and to the many supporters who enable our work

 

I spent a few hours this weekend up at our Special Needs Family Camp, as usual, I was blown away.

My wife, Ellen and I attended the talent show Saturday night.  This is an annual highlight when (mostly) the kids perform.  Some parents, some staff but mostly the kids.  And by the kids, I mean those kids who are there because of their special needs and also some of their siblings for whom the opportunity to be the center of attention is itself a rare one.

Kids ages 6 to 24 from the Peninsula to Sacramento, San Francisco to the East Bay took the stage to perform "from each according to their ability."

Performances included singing songs, playing an instrument, doing a dance, or even just blowing one note on a recorder.  The audience – kids, siblings, parents, staff, guests – all took enormous delight with each performance.

After the talent show – there was a pajama party for the kids and a wine reception for the parents.  These are, for the most part, parents who are rarely, if ever, able to hire a baby-sitter;  one of the great benefits of this weekend is our 1:1 staff-camper ratio gives them much needed respite.  As one dad told us:  “I actually took a nap today.  I can’t remember the last time I was able to just take a nap.”

Our staff consists of adults and teens from a variety of backgrounds. Several Jewish LearningWorks staff (present and past) VOLUNTEER and we also rely on Sonoma State students– which means a ton of youthful energy.  We had some teen volunteers and seasoned volunteers as well as some experts brought in to lead workshops for parents (e.g., speech pathology, financial planning, etc).  Rabbi Rick Winer (Fresno) was our designated spiritual leader, along with his wife, educator Rabbi Laura Novak-Winer and their son Max Winer who was our Song leader.  Rabbi Meredith Cahn and Reb Irwin, former Family Camp Spiritual leaders, as well as Dance Specialist Bruce Bierman also joined us. David Neufeld was there, of course; we contract the wonderful Cheryl Cohen, an East Bay educator, to direct the camp.

When I attend INCLUDE events, parents always come up to thank me – which is odd because I have less to do with the camp than any other staffer there.  I try to act humble, but the fact is – they are thanking me as the representative of YOU.   They know  that this project costs money – they are thanking me, they explain, because Jewish LearningWorks continues to make them and their kids a priority.  Because we, by virtue of this camp, continue to remind them that they are part of the Jewish people, and that they and their children are important to us and our community.  This is, unfortunately, not always obvious to them and not always reinforced in their interactions with the Jewish community (this is what we are trying to change, right?). 

Our tag line for “Creating Inclusive Jewish Community” reads – “Creating safe space for all families to feel welcomed and included in Jewish communal experience, regardless of background or ability.

That is exactly what I take away from Special Needs Family Camp each year and that is why we do it.

So, again, on behalf of the parents, I convey their message to you:  Thank you.


David Waksberg, CEO
Jewish LearningWorks

One Experience at the Sensory Friendly Purim Carnival

Read what one parent had to say about her son's experience at a Purim Carnival and the impact INCLUDE made:

I would like to thank you so much for making the sensory friendly Purim Carnival.  That wing was a life-saver. It was our first time at that Purim Carnival and I did not realize how intense the main rooms were.  They were very crowded, very loud, the lines were long and the children were very excited.  It was actually overwhelming to me--there is no way we could have had a successful experience without the sensory friendly wing.

Thanks again,

Rachel

Many Thanks

Read a testimonial from one of the participants from the Navigating Difference, Embracing Inclusion workshop,  Assessing Your Inclusivity: Best Practices & Ways to Improve.

Hi, I attended today's first of four Include sessions in Oakland today and I am thrilled by the experience. Before my work week sets in motion, I want to thank you and the other leaders for providing us a well organized and meaningful experience to address the complexity of diversity in our Jewish communities. It was immensely inspiring to realize that throughout the Bay Area Jewish congregations are striving to improve their efforts towards inclusion.  I am far less isolated and far more optimistic as a result. I hope to attend future sessions. Please pass on my email and gratitude to the other leaders: David, Diane and Marilyn.

-Leslie King
(Beth Am)

We want to thank the individuals and the institutions who were present at the Navigating Difference workshop on February 23rd. 

Special Needs Family Camp Weekend 2015

INCLUDE presents the 14th Annual Special Needs Family Camp Weekend 2015

Friday, May 8th - Sunday, May 10th


Register here

Experience personal, family and spiritual growth in an inclusive, caring Jewish environment.

At camp, families will celebrate Shabbat together, learn together, sing, dance and have fun together. You'll find a welcoming community of families having similar experiences who will become your friends for life.

Activities include: outdoor games, Alpine climbing tower, arts and crafts, hiking, swimming, yoga, music, and talent show.

Kids: Make new friends and challenge yourself.

Parents: Relax, share common experiences and receive support.

If you have questions about the weekend, please call Cheryl Cohen, Camp Director at (925) 922-0765 or email  chercohen@me.com

View the full brochure

After you register here at Eventbrite, you will receive a confirmation with additional information about payment options as well as a complete family camp packet by mail and email.