Saturday, August 9, 2008

Israeli Nurseries - The Smell of Success

On Friday we had a party to celebrate the end of term at nursery. The kids all sat down and enjoyed singing and performing the actions for various songs. They waved coloured squares of material, shook tambourines and waved sparkly shakers. The parents videoed their every move and, being Israeli, chatted throughout, almost drowning out the kids.

When the singing ended the feast began. The kids sat down and munched through a whole range of treats. I watched as, one by one, they emerged from the dining room with chocolate mustaches and sticky hands.

The parents had clubbed together and purchased presents for the three staff. I felt bad because I was unaware of any collection. Perhaps it took place whilst my little one was off sick. They were each given a basket of goodies, but what I felt was more meaningful, was that each of them was given a piece of paper with a personal message on, thanking them for the care they had given the children. The message was written out neatly in gold pen and real effort had been made to make it a special keepsake. The parent who organized the collection read each one out to those present and everyone clapped.

It is at moments like this when Israelis really come up trumps. They have such inherent warmth to them and it is little touches like this that make me proud to be here and have adopted this homeland as mine. I think in the UK the onus would have been on the gift, but here, what was stressed and what will, I am sure, remain in the memories and hearts of the recipients, was the heartfelt thanks they received for what is, after all, extremely hard work.

I have been really impressed by the nursery staff. I chose a small nursery with a family atmosphere. The kids are all very well disciplined; when it is time to watch a video they sit down and don’t get up till the end; when it is time to eat they wait for the prayer before tucking in; when they have finished an activity they are involved in clearing away too. The place is full of music and laughter and the kids obviously enjoy coming.

Having left a tearful toddler with them for the last few weeks I know that my child is being well looked after. I know this because when she returns home she smells of the scent of one of the nursery workers. I guess she must be getting lots of hugs, love and security during tearful moments.

Israeli nurseries, like any others around the world, are good, bad and indifferent. I am so thankful to have found somewhere that I am happy with and that, more importantly, my little one has grown to love and enjoy.

Sharona B