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02/11/2018 - Clockwork at Beit Grosman in Jerusalem: Taking the Time to Learn to be Independent

One of Negba’s fundamental goals- helping those in its care acquire skills to determine their own futures- may sound a bit lofty when speaking about young children. But there are simple functions that can be mastered at a young age and shape behavioral patterns for advanced future growth. At Negba’s Grosman After-School Home in Jerusalem, a multi-year educational module aims to do just that.

“Last year we worked intensively on the concept of responsibility, and the children were assigned all kinds of tasks,” said Hadas Sassover, a social and educational counselor at Beit Grosman. “Building on that, this year we are working on helping the kids become more independent so that they can initiate tasks on their own, and not always rely on someone else for instruction or explanation.”

This year’s module began with an opening dialogue about the definition of independence, and the benefits of it. Each child then contributed to a wish list of activities they desired to be independent about, and those activities would be worked on throughout the year. One of the first to be tackled was telling time. The kids discussed the concept of time, breaking down minutes and hours, and then they each made a clock with movable hands to learn how to read a watch or clock. The activity was empowering.

“Now that I can tell time I know when it is time to play on the computer,” remarked Ofer, 7. “Reading a clock is independence.” His friend Linoi, 7, agreed. “Now I don’t have to ask what time it is. I can start my next activity without anyone telling me.”

Other selections on the “Independence Wish List” to be addressed throughout the year include completing homework alone, shoelaces tying, bringing correct workbooks to school, logging onto a computers math program alone, serving oneself food and water at lunch, joining a game by oneself, and settling a social conflict or argument alone.

The kids at Beit Grosman are quickly internalizing that they can determine things based on their newfound abilities. Shai, 7, summed it all up: “All I did was learn to tell time on a clock, and it gave me knowledge and power.”

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