Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Sunday Gan Report

When I arrived to pick Raphaela up from Gan today, one her teachers asked me a series of questions:  "Do you change Raphaela's diapers standing?"  "I just realized that Raphaela hears English at home, do you want me to speak English to her here at Gan?" (Hell, NO!)  "Did you know that Raphaela, of her own initiative, goes over to the sink and washes her hands after she eats?"

At some point Sarah, the head Nursery teacher, came over and scolded the two of us for talking over Raphaela's head, when she was clearly right there and the topic of conversation.  The observation was correct, of course, no person at any age deserves to be ignored, and I take pleasure in being corrected, because it reaffirms my belief that I chose the right place for my daughter.

I then had a long conversation with Sarah, to obtain her permission to organize the parents as a group, to give one of the other recently-married teachers a wedding present.  Sarah's policy, as part of the philosophy of her school, forbids the giving of presents; and in fact she said that under normal circumstances, she would fire an employee who took gifts from parents, she considers it "bribery."  (Sarah grew up in Romania, where she saw corruption on every level, including in the educational system.)  A wedding gift was an exception, she said, but she wanted to make sure that we parents did it together, and that the overall present be "modest."

On the way out, another mother told Sarah a story about her son, and his behaviour this past Shabbat.  Her son, it seems, was insulted because he was not served food before his father.  This boy told his parents, "I am a big boy, I go to Gan and I sit quietly in shul on Shabbat."  Sarah, rather than being impressed by this child's self-assurance, encouraged the mother to reinforce the heirarchy in family roles:  "The father is the King, the mother is the Queen, and your son is the Prince.  He has to accept that the Prince becomes a King one day, but he respects his parents because they are his parents." 

I knew I liked this Gan.

When we arrived home, out of habit I started carrying Raphaela up the stairs.  About half-way, I could have sworn she said, "I do it!" I put her down, and she then happily climed up the stairs and into the house by herself.

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