This past week I attended a special party at ds5’s kindergarten, as the gala event following weeks of learning about Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). It was only for mothers and the children in the kindergarten, but the day of the party the teacher told me that I was welcome to bring my older girls. They were happy to come along and share in their little brother’s excitement about his special party – there have been lots of preparations going on in his class!
It was beautifully set up, and what was unusual for Israel is that the children made everything – often you see a huge amount of teacher decoration and wonder where the kids’ part was. This particular teacher is extremely good; she and I have very similar ideas about education at this age. She does lots of educational games, integrates writing and math into the games, and so on, so the kids think of learning as fun.
Every corner of the classroom had different aspects of the Yerushalayim theme – for example, one side had a model of the famous outdoor market, Machaneh Yehuda – the boys had made tiny miniature fruits and vegetables and fish from clay, rolls of fabric from small pieces of cloth.
Another corner had a replica of the Biblical Zoo, another was the transportation of Jerusalem and the boys built a city of blocks with roads and cars leading to it…all very nice.
Then the boys performed a few songs – they were so cute! The teacher had put music on for them to sing with, and as I listened, I noticed the music was from an American boys’s choir, with the American accents singing Hebrew words. I suddenly and unexpectedly got a big lump in my throat hearing those familiar accents. An Israeli mother commented to during the singing that ds5 was singing just like an Israeli, and he really was! He was very cute as he did the hand motions to accompany the songs.
Light refreshments were provided, and a couple of mothers brought themed cakes for the party – here’s one that was decorated as the Western Wall. I enjoy baking but my creativity in doing stuff like this is very low!
This is the second time that all the mothers have had an opportunity to meet, and with time, these are people that I would look forward to getting to know over the years as we would continue to meet for school events. However, it looks like I’ll be sending ds5 to a different school next year than most of his peers. Seriously, I don’t think that making a decision about first grade should be so heart wrenching. But it is, and not because I’m overemotionalizing about it.
Maybe I’ll write another post about the social realities here, the fear people have about sending to a school that’s different than their neighbors, the frustration I feel that everyone – everyone – that I’ve spoken to about the concerns I have regarding the popular local boys’ school choice seems to agree with me but practically still keep their kids in the same educational framework…
For now, I’ll say just that going to these events is a bittersweet feeling; I hope that in the future we won’t be viewed as no longer belonging socially in the same way we do now.