It seems that every time we go to Disney World, we forget where we park. We always have to hit the lock button on our key in order to follow the noise to our car. This year I was determined to not to let that happen, so I had my daughter count how many spaces were between our car and the tram car.
I must have looked baffled when she started counting away because she looked at me and said, “That is five spaces, Mom.” My daughter had been counting in Hebrew.
For some reason, I started to tear up. My little girl is learning another language at the age of 4. In Disney, surrounded by such a diverse crowd, you realize how important it is that your children are diversified in their language and experience.
Reflecting back on that moment a few weeks later, I realized how important it was to send my children to a Jewish preschool. I initially sent my daughter there to learn more about her religion, and to this school in particular because of its reputation. Little did I know, I would fall in love with it more and more each year. I love the sense of community, but more importantly how my daughter is not just learning math, science, etc., but how she is learning about another culture.
Last year she learned her prayers that even I (the non-Jewish parent) have memorized, but this year they have expanded their studies to directly correlate with what they are learning in math and reading. She can count in Hebrew and sing many songs. It is important for our children to learn a second language, something that I value in education. In addition, since my father-in law speaks Hebrew, it’s cute that they can have a short conversation. He even has brought over books and started working on expanding on what she learns in school.
Beyond the language, she is also learning life skills, kindness, and compassion. Every Thursday night we pack her school bag with a canned good, tzedekah, and mitzvah note describing one mitzvah she’s done that week. Of course there are times when a mitzvah for a 4-year-old simply consists of sharing her cheerios with her sister, but it is the example it sets for the children that is important.
There are times throughout being a parent that you question if you are making the right choices, and doing what is in the best interest of your child. I can safely say that her experience at this school and my decision to send her there is one of the best decisions I have ever made.