Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Gan II

Headline, front page, this morning's Israeli papers (27/8/13)

The 2013-14 school year opens today:  2,129,562 children and youth start nursery and elementary school today
The Minister of Education says, "Today is a holiday, excitement is in the air."
The next vacation? Next Week [Rosh HaShanah]


For the past several days, Raphaela has been sleeping with her new back pack and water bottle, bought specially for the start of the new school year.  Last night she got ten hours of sleep, while I could not fall asleep until almost midnight because of nervous excitement. 

Raphaela's first day at the new Gan began with the security guard at the gate (Benni) handing each child a heart-shaped chocolate. Only in Israel...

Her class has 34 children, and she is one of the older children, one of the "first birthday parties of the year."  At least half of her classmates are bilingual Hebrew/English, and have at least one native English-speaking parent.

Three of her classmates from this past year join her, as well as two children from the Montessori Gan, which Raphaela attended for two years.  As well, three other children she knows will attend the afternoon English program.

The class room is bright and airy, and we spent the morning sampling the toys books and puzzles in every corner. I will admit that I had a few emotional moments, realizing that Raphaela has matured so much in the last year, and that today represents a milestone for both of us.

Raphaela has one energetic head teacher and two assistant teachers.  Normally there would be only one assistant nursery teacher, but because there are at least two children who have food sensitivities and allergies, they assigned a separate medically trained assistant teacher to the classroom.  It is the responsibility of the individual families, the Jerusalem Municipality and the nursery staff to make sure that no one goes into anaphylactic shock.

Given the recent push by the Ministry of Health for all children under the age of nine to receive the Oral Polio Vaccine, we explored the bathroom and I reminded Raphaela to be sure to wash her hands. It's natural, children in nursery will expose each other, and the more hygienic the safer.

The children participated beautifully in their first morning meeting, and the parents seems lovely as well.  We have already begun to organize a time-saving and aggravation- avoiding program:  to arrange for a healthy breakfast to be provided at the nursery and by the nursery, rather than having to pack a bag full of snacks each morning.

Indeed, today is a day of celebration for mothers and fathers (who briefly get their lives back, before the Jewish holidays) and for the kids, who get to meet a new group of friends and experience the routine they crave.

1 comment:

koshergourmetmart said...

To a great year of growth and fun