Residents of ADI Bnei Brak have a new special treat – a therapy garden and petting zoo, that go hand in hand with gardening and animal therapies – a gift of the CEPHAS Foundation (Netherlands). The program provides an integrative framework of experiential teaching and therapeutic goals for ADI residents.
The program began with the establishment of a beautiful garden. Dozens of colorful flowers and rows of trees were planted in a set gardening area, bringing color and nature to the facility’s outdoor courtyard.
Shortly after the establishment of the garden, we began the gardening and animal therapy program, in which the children participate in gardening activity and care of animals. Furthermore, during their free time, the children sit in the blossoming garden, enjoying the flowers and feeding the birds that visit the trees.
The children have also been learning about caring for plants, nature and growth during school. To give them a better understanding, we brought in vertical agricultural planters, which we attached to the children’s intravenous feeding poles. Watering the planters is done via the feeding bags that are so familiar to the children. In this manner, the children are able to learn about plants and their care in an interactive way within the classroom.
We also purchased special carts onto which we placed herb plants. In this way, the plants are brought to the children who are unable to go outside, so that they, too, can enjoy the feeling and smells of nature and healing.
Underway at present is the upgrade of the outdoor petting zoo area, where the children will be able to enjoy an enhanced animal therapy program. It is anticipated that this will be completed by July 2017.