Yahav, a senior lecturer at the School of Social Work at the University of
Haifa and director of its Interdisciplinary Clinical Center, was cited for her
system to identify and treat environmental and developmental problems in young
children, including sensory-motor, language, emotional and behavioral
difficulties, within the context of the regular kindergarten classroom.
The system has been successfully used since 2004 in kindergartens throughout
Israel, and Yahav recently presented a lecture about it at a major conference in
"It's important that this model be recognized in Israel and beyond," she
says, pointing out that her program is holistic and non-disruptive. Therapeutic
professionals come into the school to identify and evaluate children needing
early intervention, and work with the classroom teacher to incorporate treatment
in the context of the classroom on a daily basis. There is no stigma from being
pulled out for evaluation or for therapy sessions. "Not taking them out of the
classroom is critical," Yahav says. "Until we did this, the professionals
weren't in the kindergarten."
Yahav is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who is head of the
board of directors of the Israeli Psychotherapy Association. Among other
programs she has introduced was an emotional therapy for Haifa's children during
the Second Lebanon War; therapy for children of Ethiopian descent with emotional
difficulties; an interdisciplinary program providing developmental supervision
for at-risk children from before birth to kindergarten age; and therapy groups
dealing with loss and bereavement.
The committee that selected this year's winners was chaired by National Economic Council head Prof. Eugene Kandel. Members
included Tami Hauspeter, adviser to Netanyahu and initiator of the Prime
Minister's Prize for Initiatives and Innovation; Intel Israel General Manager
Maxine Fassberg; Ben-Gurion University Dept. of
Business Administration Prof. Dafna Schwartz; Dr. Harry Yuklea from the
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Itamar Medical Co-Chairman Dr. Giora Yaron; and "Start-Up Nation" co-author Saul Singer.