People and Potential – The Power of Recycling
ALEH’s unique Animal Crafts Project has enabled even the most disabled children to express their creativity, connect with nature, and help preserve the environment through use of discarded materials. ALEH’s educational, paramedical, and nursing staffs worked together in a collaborative team effort throughout all phases of the project, which ran throughout the past school year.
A building-wide collection was made of empty bottles, broken chairs, discarded strollers, covers of broken garbage cans, and other discarded or seemingly useless objects and materials. After much discussion, students and staff made a joint selection of the animal designated as the focus of the project.
The children were an integral part of the entire project from beginning to end. The abilities of each child were taken into account as all performed tasks suited to their individual level and skills such as tearing, folding, kneading, and painting. The project afforded residents a great deal of enjoyment and feelings of achievement and success; it also helped further therapeutic goals and sensory stimulation (auditory, visual, and tactile).
The project also included students from the community-at-large; finishing works were done by children from a local ‘regular’ school. The integrative, inclusive aspect of the project helped raise awareness of the abilities of children with special needs, and the finished products speak for themselves!