Benjamin Rothman Magshimim
Zionist Youth farm, Jerusalem
Benjamin Rothman Magshimim is a unique education center for adolescents with autism that promotes independent, shared living within the community. The school is situated in the Zionist Youth farm in Jerusalem, and serves about 50 students aged 13 to 21 from Jerusalem and 9 regional councils. Established in 2004 as the first special education school located within a youth village it has developed a unique and innovative “shared life” model in collaboration with the village. Within the framework of this model, village and Benjamin Rothman Magshimim students live, work and study together. Students can independently make use of the farm’s facilities, and the team creates and delivers a range of joint activities throughout the year – academic, occupational and social. The school is equipped with diverse learning and therapy aids that enable the team of experts to provide some of the most advanced responses available in Israel to the students’ needs.
The school’s classrooms were furnished and adapted to meet the needs of the students. The dynamic furniture allows adapting the learning method to the situation of the class and the changing situation of the students (group learning, learning in pairs and individually, in a separate space). The classrooms include flexible teaching aids and diverse means of display which allow exhibiting the students’ projects in a manner that arouses curiosity, as well as displaying items and information associated with various other topics.
The dynamic activity walls are situated in the central space. They are designed to support direct learning by the students during breaks and between different activities, and enrich the experiences they enjoy. A dynamic sensorial wall with rotating materials is designed to aid sensory regulation, and a magnet wall is intended for exercises and to facilitate self-expression.
The spaces include innovative and flexible furniture suited for group or individual activity, as planned for each day.
A rotating gallery, installed throughout the school, continuously showcases drawings, paintings and other handiwork that the students have created. The students enjoy a sense of pride in their impressively displayed artwork, and the rotating gallery also serves the team as an additional tool for developing communication with them.
Designated spaces for movement, occupational, art and music therapy, as well as spaces equipped with the most innovative virtual reality means, enable each student to progress according to an individually tailored plan.
The social ecological garden is used as a learning, occupational and therapy space. It includes an innovative greenhouse intended for growing edible plants, as well as plants for sale. Benjamin Rothman Magshimim students learn and work alongside the youth village’s high school students, growing and selling their crops.
The well-equipped gym is designed for training in groups and individually.
Training and team development activities take place throughout the year, with the aim of promoting innovation, supporting the development of specific knowledge, and team development in general. Experts from around the country provide the team with professional support on issues associated with autism, as well as on organizational and management aspects.