Educational Approach

1. Security and stability – Stage 1 in the Children’s Home is to ensure that each child feels safe and secure in our institution. This goal is foremost when planning the children’s daily schedule and routine in the dormitory.
Children arrive at Alumim from tragic lives of abuse and disarray. Many are accustomed to sleeping at irregular hours; some have never attended school regularly; and many do not know how to care for their personal possessions, if they own any. They desperately lack basic confidence in people and life itself; they could never be certain where they would spend the night and what tomorrow would bring. This lack of knowledge and uncertainty created lives of terrible insecurity, and they are deeply afraid to trust anyone.
Teaching children to abide by a schedule grants them an initial layer of confidence and trust in others. Our professional faculty of psychologists, doctors, teachers, and counselors works cooperatively to teach the children the importance of habit and norms. Slowly, we lead them into a daily routine. This educational approach is implemented in a variety of ways including imitation, experiential activity, discussions, and overall approach, which is carefully planned and built by a professional faculty that deals with the internal and external life in the Children’s Home.
An organized day influences an organized life. As time passes, the children begin feeling that they understand what is going on around them and are aware of what is expected of them. As they reach the stage that they no longer live with a fear of the unknown and realize that they do not have to scrounge for their basic necessities, they begin developing expectations, aspirations, and dreams for the future.
2. Cooperation – The Stage 2 objective is educating our children to become assets to their environment. It is our paramount goal to turn the tables and transform these innocent children from takers into givers. One way that we do this is by endowing them with all that they need, in order to develop within them the capacity to give to others. We constantly emphasize the importance of contributing to the environment through talents, abilities, strengths, and even time.
To advance this goal, Alumim implements a system of cooperation and giving within dormitory life. Children are expected to perform basic chores, just as any child growing up in a regular family framework would do. They learn to become partners in their home and develop the inner desire to give and connect to their social environment.
Basic chores and duties in the Children’s Home include rotations of serving meals, cleaning up, and homework help. Special group activities focus on helping out within the group and between groups, as well, with special emphasis on older children helping younger children. We believe that every child should feel that he is a giver, not only a taker; and this is emphasized in numerous social activities and functions that boost the children’s social skills.
3. Communal involvement – Alumim’s focus on cooperation and cultivating a desire to give is reflected not only in the dormitory but in the community at large.
Before the holidays, Alumim children are partners in programs to benefit Zhitomir’s Jewish community and Jewish communities scattered throughout West Ukraine. The children volunteer to pack care packages, set up for communal events, decorate the orphanage and community center, and prepare speeches and performances in honor of the upcoming event. Our children also volunteer in a weekly program to visit the ill and elderly in the community.
4. Modeling a family lifestyle Another vital goal is exposing the children to healthy families and teaching them the norms of family relationships. Many of the religious families who live in close proximity to Alumim’s dormitory have become important parts of their growth experience. Every Shabbos, several students are invited to the homes of community members, where they absorb the richness and beauty of a happy, warm home and positive marital relationship. During the week, as well, we seek any possible opportunity to expose our children to happy, healthy homes and warm, close-knit family environments.