Monday, August 27, 2012

New Gan Fresh Start

A few days ago, I did a project with Raphaela in which we both made beaded necklaces with the same butterfly charm at its center.  I explained to Raphaela that she could wear the necklace when she starts her new Gan, and she will know that even when Mommy is not there with her, we are connected to each other.  Several times each day since then, Raphaela will come over and insist that her butterfly kiss mine.

Together we set off this morning to her new Gan, a wonderful and quick walk from our house, these hills of Jerusalem will either kill me or finally whip my body back into shape.  I was most pleased to learn throughout the morning that at least half of the families are Anglo-Saxon, because it means that culturally and linguistically Raphaela and I will better relate to those who float between Hebrew and English, those who chose to leave their country of birth and their extended family to live and thrive in Israel. It doesn't matter how many years you live here, that 'security blanket' of like-minded people makes you feel like you belong.

The room was bright and full of toys and books, the teachers warm and inviting, and the place radiates a sense of joy and prosperity.  Raphaela moved from table to table, trying out all the various art projects and tasks that had been set out for the children.  We introduced ourselves to the other kids sitting with us, and have already set up several play dates once the school gets settled into its regular schedule.  To our happy surprise, there is a boy named "Carmi," and now Raphaela's imaginary friend has been made real.

The administrator of the program made an effort to know each child and the parents, and made it clear that she welcomed our input, questions and concerns.  She seems like the kind of woman who will stop and say hello if she sees you on the street, outside the context of the Gan.

When they served the morning snack, Raphaela wolfed it down and I was impressed with the variety and healthiness of the meal.

The morning concluded with story time and an art project, and as each child left for home, they received a hug and a special treat of chocolate in honor of their first day at a new school.  Both Raphaela and I can't wait to go back to Gan tomorrow, and I can rest easy knowing that I made a good choice.

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