Arab and Jewish Children Both Need a Hug
My name is Gidi (Gideon) and I work as a kindergarten teacher in the bi-lingual Waldorf kindergarten run by the Maayan Babustan non-profit association. This year, we opened a new pre-school group for toddlers ages 1 to 2 years old, and a pilot first grade class, in addition to the two kindergartens, one for ages 2½ to 4 years old and the other for the older children ages 4 ½ - 6. In order to accommodate the older kindergarten and the first grade, we rented a building in Hilf village, close to the existing kindergarten. We worked hard (and still have a lot to do!) to adapt the building to our needs, since it was necessary to renovate a building that had been deserted for many years, and to turn it into a place that is suitable for a kindergarten and first grade.
A new autumn season has arrived, and I feel that these are times that are full of hope. Something is moving in the human consciousness. There is an awakening. People are seeking justice. And this awakens hope. The principle work in our kindergarten, is to educate ourselves, and thereby also to educate our children and the entire environment, that we are sons and daughters of Eve and Adam.
We are similar to each other - very similar. It is difficult for children, whether their mother tongue is Hebrew or Arabic, to say goodbye and part from their mother at the kindergarten door in the morning, and it is hard for the mother, too. Each of them asks (in their own language) that their mother stay “for just a bit longer”. This is when the true work starts, when a “Jewish” child learns from life that the “Arab” child is very much like him, and wants his mother. When the Hebrew speaking (Jewish) child feels that my colleague Amna’s hug is better than mine, and her smell is more pleasant and her presence is more comforting, I know that the kindergarten has fulfilled it’s purpose. I think that we are successful in creating an oasis for children, which is filled with joy and love for everybody.
The main reason that more kindergartens and schools such as ours are not being established in our area - is financial. Our education is expensive for the Hebrew-speaking sector, and very expensive - for the Arabic speaking sector, whose average income is lower. If we could arrive at a point in which joint education was free or nearly free (such as the public schools) our contribution to peace would be more significant.
We are all happy about the release of Gilad Shalit, and the release of the Palestinian captives.
What is left is to release our soul from its fears and prejudices.
With greetings for a good year, full of inspiration for us all,
Gidi (22.10.11 )
Gideon Hyman, Co-Teacher, Younger kindergarten
Gidi, who is an experienced Jewish Waldorf kindergarten teacher from Tivon and one of the founding teachers of Ein Bustan, has worked in the kindergarten for the past 6 years. Gidi was active in establishing an alternative kindergarten in 1995, and in establishing the “Elroi” kindergarten in Tivon, in cooperation with the Shaked Waldorf organization, where he worked for 8 years. Gidi received his training in the Waldorf Training Seminar in Tivon. Gidi’s has many years of experience, love of children, bilingual language skills and a commitment to coexistence. He is also accomplished in carpentry and gardening, and brings these talents to his work with the children. Gidi is a resident of nearby Tivon and is the father of 3.
Amna Salmana Kaabiya: Co-Teacher, Younger Kindergarten
Amna’s studied for her Early Childhood training both in the Oranim Teacher’s College in Tivon as well as the Waldorf Teacher Training seminar in Harduf. She also has a certificate in Early Childhood care from Nazareth. Fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew, Amna has 5 years experience as a kindergarten teacher, with both Arab and Jewish populations, in Shfaram and in Tivon. Amna is very musical and plays on both the lyre and on recorder. She is also talented in art and handwork. Amna is a Bedouin Arab who is resident of the nearby village of Kaabiya.