Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emunah Birthday Bash

Israel does an amazing job with nursery school birthday parties, the protocol is firmly in place:  crown, picture collage from the rest of the class, traditional songs and dances.  Your child will feel like a Princess, a Movie Star, the Center of the Universe. 

The new Gan did not disappoint today, and in addition to the regular and expected chain of events, I felt almost as included as the young guest of honor.  I sat next to Raphaela in a slightly larger but just as decorated chair.   I was asked to give my daughter a blessing in front of her class mates, and became overwhelmed by the emotion; her three teachers followed, each coming up to the front of the room and bestowing their personal wishes and affection.  For a brief period - as much as the patience of toddlers would allow - Raphaela's friends were encouraged to ask me questions about her, to tell stories about the origin of her name, her family, and what kind of games she prefers to play.

Raphaela and I had a special dance at the center of the circle, a girl and her Mommy.

At a certain point in the ceremony, Raphaela was encouraged to give money into the classroom charity box, to show that we should remember others during happy occasions.

The chocolate birthday cake, which I designed myself this year in an African jungle theme, worked its magic, with all the children inexorably drawn to lick the frosting, seemingly hypnotized and chanting softly, "Cake, cake, we want cake." 

All in all a successful party, and it pleased me most of all to see Raphaela interact with her friends, behave like a leader and role model for the other slightly younger children in the group.  The self-confidence and leadership skills she gains this year makes the change worth while, and adds tools to her life experience.

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