Thursday, February 7, 2013

Family Matters III

Raphaela's Gan, in honor of Family Day and Israeli Mothers' Day, hosted an event yesterday evening for the mothers of the children of all classes within the school. The program included a festive meal and socializing, a lecture on communicating with toddlers from a child psychologist and a musical interlude.  The lovely and creative manager of the Gan, and all the teachers and moms had the opportunity to get to know each other better, outside the quick and dirty morning drop-off and afternoon pick up, and occasional play date.

The catered quality food came out of the on-site kitchen;  if this tasty and luxurious spread is at all indicative of the meals Raphaela receives every day, I envy her. 

[Note of useless interruptionthe more I see this Gan operate, the dramatic development and growing self-confidence of Raphaela since the beginning of the year, I am kicking myself for not switching her out of that Montessori Nightmare sooner.  She was clearly sidelined there, one of the youngest and made to feel like the mouse in a den of lions, and I feel like a somehow inept parent that I did not see it sooner and act accordingly.  First pancake of the batch, I know, and I still feel lousy.]

The first thing that struck me was the bulletin board in Raphaela's classroom, which had been appropriately festooned in the family theme, to teach the children about relationships and the random names that language assigns to members of our extended tribe.  In the center stood the smiling mother and father, with siblings on one side and grandparents and extended family on the other.  Framing this scene were certain drawings the children of the Gan had made, and a section that highlighted typical loving families, pulled from photos that parents had sent in from their personal albums.

Among the various typical pictures of nuclear Israeli families eg mother father, brother sister and baby playing in the snow, I saw, prominently featured, myself and Raphaela and our cat Harry, laughing together.

It is one thing for a religious institution to make all children and their assorted families feel accepted within the broader system, it is above and beyond to highlight the Jewish single mother by choice, with feline.  I give them credit and I thank them for recognizing all of us as part of the greater community.

No comments: