Co-existence today

News coming out of Palestine is relentlessly bad (the latest Amira Hass column rightly describes the situation in Gaza as akin to a “zoo.”)

For a piece of rare good news, I was recently told about an interesting project called the Ein Bustan kindergarten:

The Ein Bustan kindergarten is the first Jewish/ArabWaldorf Kindergarten in Israel, and is situated in the small Arab village of Hilf, near Kiryat Tivon. The kindergarten, which is based on the principles of the Waldorf educational method, accepts both Arab and Jewish cultures equally. The 15 children of “Ein Bustan” (meaning “spring in the garden”) come from Kiryat Tivon, (a Jewish town) and the surrounding Bedouin (Arab) villages Hilf and Bosmat Tab’un.

The founders of Ein Bustan share a vision of a society in which Jews and Arabs live together peacefully in equality and understanding. In order to create this reality, there must be education that fosters true friendship, trust and shared culture and language. An educational system that separates children by their religion and nationality fails to take into consideration the widening gap between the two communities, which will take years to bridge and generations to mend.

We believe that children deserve to grow up in an environment enriched with the religious and ethnic folklore and traditions surrounding them, and feel that incorporation of a humanistic and Waldorf approach with a multicultural genre is the way to prepare children for the complex world in which they live.

Amen to that.

Their latest news release provides an insight into the important work they are doing:

A year has past and in our kindergarten, “Ein Bustan”, two new groups have opened: “the “little kindergarten” and the “big kindergarten”. I suspect these are but temporary names and with the formation of an additional group these names will become more formalised as well.

The younger group, which operates five days a week, has 10 children between the ages of two and half & three and half. Culturally, six of these children speak Hebrew, and four Arabic, though they are yet to master their mother tongue, which makes their play-time less dependent on words. Their teachers are Eshel, a resident of Tivon and Amana, a resident of Ka’abiya.

The second group, “the big kindergarten”, is largely based on the children from last year, (apart from those that were older and went on to other frameworks). Currently we remain with those between the ages of four and five, with several younger children aged three and half who recently joined them. Recently, Ibtisam, a resident of Zubidat has joined this group as teacher alongside Gidi. Sultana continues to work as a replacement teacher, as this kindergarten operates 6 days a week. This group has 14 children, out of whom eight are Arabic speaking and six Hebrew speaking. Please note, that since there are more vacancies, we would be more than happy to fill them.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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