Ein Bustan, the multicultural and bi-lingual Arab-Jewish Waldorf Kindergarten, is now well into its second year.
It was a difficult summer for all of us. The war between Israel and Lebanon disturbed the lives of all residents in northern Israel, the families of our kindergarten among them. Some of us left home, while others stayed and had to cope with sirens and staying in the shelter during day and night, with the accompanying feelings of fear and tension. Certainly this is not what we had planned for this summer.
The war made impossible the planned summer activities, and badly interrupted our ability to prepare for the year. It was only through the great efforts and exemplary hard work of Gidi and Ola, the teachers, which lead to the successful and timely opening of the kindergarten.
We were happy to welcome new families into our program, primarily from the village of Hilf. The kindergarten also has a new look since last year. The puppets received a new corner, and the little kitchen and the nature activity space found new homes as well. New shelves appeared on the walls and even a new storeroom was born behind the sand box. The children started the year joyfully, happy to reconnect after not having seen one another over the long summer months.
Towards the end of the last school year and the beginning of the summer of 2006, an in-depth evaluation of the first year was conducted, with in put from the teachers, the administrative staff, and the families. Different subjects were discussed in depth, ranging from the day-to-day activities in the kindergarten, which of the many holidays to celebrate (and in what fashion), as well as the special dilemmas posed by conducting a bi-lingual kindergarten. The conclusions of these sessions shaped the way in which this year’s curriculum and activities were planned.
We celebrated the Fall holiday season with the Jewish New Year and the Muslim Ramadan and Eid El Fitr, and the Winter season brought us Chanukah, Christmas and Eid El Adha.
Friends of Ein Bustan
We are fortunate to have the support and kind donations of many individuals, Foundations and communities, both in Israel and abroad. We would like to mention a few: the children of Ein Bustan were overjoyed to recently receive aprons that were hand sewn and embroidered by children in the 6th grade of the Philadelphia Waldorf school in the U.S. Our thanks also go to the 6th grade class of The Waldorf School in Lexington for their donation, and to the Evergreen Kindergarten (also in the Waldorf School in Lexington) for the gift of a beautiful rainbow silk birthday robe, which has already been in use for recent birthdays. A recent donation from one of our
supporters has enabled us to employ Nira Nahtomi, a well know teacher who is a graduate of the London School of Eurythmy, and the children are already enjoying weekly Eurythmy classes.
Stephanie Alon, our pedagogic counsellor, continues to advise the teaching staff, and is now working with the older children on special projects in preparation for first grade. At the end of this year these first “graduates” will join the local Waldorf school, that has expressed its willingness to prepare a multi-cultural program for an Arab-Jewish class. This is the first of its kind at a Waldorf School and something that we see as a real success in moving forward in a broader framework.
We are pleased to report that once again our kindergarten has received recognition from the Israel Ministry of Education, yet to date this has yet to be accompanied by financial support. On top of the emotional and technical difficulties caused by the war this summer, it slowed the fundraising and organizational work required for the successful ongoing functioning of Ein Bustan. It is the generous support of our donors that allowed us to open Ein Bustan and operate it successfully until now. At this stage, donations are essential for the continuation of our activity.
The need for an Arab-Jewish kindergarten is greater than ever, as the recent war raised many feelings of isolation and separation. Ein Bustan is a safe and pleasant place for our children to play as well as an opportunity for our families, Jewish, Christian or Moslem, to meet and connect. It is a source of hope, pride and inspiration both for us and for the wider community.
We thank all the friends of Ein Bustan for your attention and support, and look forward to staying in touch.