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Creativity and Healing at Shaare Zedek

08 March 2017

Shaare Zedek Medical Centre’s school within its children’s hospital recently featured a week of activities to educate young patients about road safety.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, more people have died in road accidents than in war or terror attacks in Israel. As Jerusalem’s largest and most central hospital, Shaare Zedek plays a crucial role in the treatment and prevention of road trauma.

In honour of Road Safety Week in Israel, the teachers at Shaare Zedek’s school created a series of educational experiences for children. This school is an integral part of the Shaare Zedek’s Wilf Children’s hospital. The Lincoln David Abraham Paediatric Educational Institute is a Ministry of Education school which offers young inpatients the opportunity to continue their studies while they are hospitalized.

The road safety program drew on the many creative therapies that are an integral part of the unique therapy options available at Shaare Zedek. The hospital’s school regularly uses innovative approaches to education and healing. It incorporates pet therapy, music therapy, and art therapy among others. The Dream Doctors medical clowns play a central role in activities in the school.

During Road Safety week, young patients enjoyed an array of activities that stressed the importance of road safety and taught the children how they can cross streets, fasten seat belts and recognize road safety signs.

Teachers and therapists in the hospital set up a range of exciting educational experiences. They created model crosswalks, put together stations to teach about using seatbelts, sang songs in music therapy about road safety and made cupcakes designed like traffic lights.

Even the star animals from the pet therapy program were involved. Patients in the Paediatric Inpatient Pavilion enjoyed guiding hamsters, guinea pics and rabbits through a special play area.

Police officers from the Law Enforcement Academy in Bet Shemesh joined the young patients for special activities designed to educate children to cross the street safely and to understand the importance of fastening their seat belts.

Psychotherapist Hemda Didovsky head of the Animal Assisted Therapy noted, “It was fascinating to hear the children telling the animals about all of the different road safety guidelines that we had been explaining to them.”

One parent of a young patient shared, “My son learned so much about the importance of seat belts. We came to Shaare Zedek because he was very ill. I did not expect him to have fun while he was in the hospital and I feel he has learned things that will help keep him safe for years to come.”

Professor Agi Bankier, Deputy Chair of the Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek recently toured the Wilf Children’s Hospital. Agi says, “During my visit I was most impressed by the high level of medical professionalism in an atmosphere of compassion. Shaare Zedek’s creative approach to healing its youngest patients is truly inspiring.”