Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pre1A, The Gan Chovah Journey Begins

With the deadline for registering Raphaela for Pre IA (Gan Chovah in Hebrew) approaching faster than the speed of light, I met with her current Head Gan Teacher for a consultation.  Here is a women with vast experience teaching this age and with personal knowledge of my child; Raphaela spends nine hours outside the house each day within the educational context, and I know there are things I don't know.

As a Chiropractor, I find it easy to look at a client and the elements of his/her life and diagnose the need for changes, in the physical and emotional realms.  It is one million times harder to look at yourself and your child as a family unit and assess the strengths and weaknesses in an objective way.  It is one billion times harder as a Jewish mother with Jewish guilt not to take responsibility and blame for something that ultimately you cannot control.

Here is what I learned about my daughter today:

She is warm and gentle and physically affectionate, and she carries herself with grace.
She has "wrapped herself around the hearts of everyone on staff."
She is methodical and diligent about assignments, and completes tasks well.
She needs improvement holding scissors, as she is a lefty.
She is both self-aware and communicative of her feelings, as well as being sensitive to how others relate to her, and she reacts accordingly.
She has become much more social and less shy since the beginning of the year, and interacts easily with her friends.

She is "ever so slightly stubborn."
["Really?" I said.  "Ever so slightly? I think you are understating the truth..."  Then both I and the teacher laughed for five minutes.]
Her stubborn-ness results in Raphaela sometimes acting slowly to follow instructions, as she gets lost in her wide world of Fantastic Imagination.

Language acquisition was Rapheala's teacher's largest concern:  while my daughter speaks in Hebrew, she sometimes struggles to find certain words in a complex sentence and then reverts to English.  Her Hebrew should "flow more," according to her teacher, a factor which could negatively influence her social life as she gets older within the Israeli system of education.  As well, Raphaela seems to be the kid who could benefit from an extra year of what her teacher called "unadulterated play."

With that in mind, Raphaela's teacher recommended that I add more Hebrew movies and television programs to her day, not the advice I expected to hear.  She also recommended that I monitor Raphaela closely next year, because it might benefit to repeat Gan Chovah.  That way, my daughter goes into the more rigid framework of First Grade as one of the oldest children, with an extra year of play time, affectionate teaching and with absolute confidence in her Hebrew speaking skills.

I also mentioned that Raphaela has begun to ask about the identity of her biological father/sperm donor, and the teacher offered me wonderful parenting and phrasing possibilities.

G-d bless this woman, who closed our discussion with a hug and the assurance I needed to hear as a single parent, "You are a great mother and an amazing woman."

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