A unique event took place yesterday in my city, Ramat-Gan. A neighborhood, that is – the group of parents and kids who live in the neighborhood, produced a show and brought food to a well organized farewell party, made in honor of a preschool teacher, who decided to retire after 25 years at the job. One of the residents even made sure the mayor himself will come to speak and honor this unique preschool teacher and bid her luck in her new way.
On early graduation photos of the preschool Ronit Shimshi looks like a teenager. She couldn’t have been much more then that. Now, at the age of 46, she is leaving the job and intends to study special education. Her first students are adults now. Some are parents who got their kids to the same preschool they have sweet memories of. On the short clip that was made for her party, kids of 5 to 18 were interviewed about what they liked about Ronit and her classroom, and the impressions are those of a home – the hugs, the food, and the holidays.
But the most important and valuable asset Ronit gave all of her students, and their parents and in fact, the whole neighborhood, is the family sense. “Every kid in my kindergarten becomes, together with his or her family, a member of the kindergarten’s family”, she explains to every new family who joins. “And since we are a family, graduates do not just leave to school, they remain family members and keep visiting”.
And so, every Friday, which is the last working day of the week, the “graduates”, who are now school kids, join the kindergarten in the weekly ceremony of receiving the Shabbat. The kindergarten, built for 30 pupils, can sometimes hold 3 times and more. Parents gather at the end of the day to meet their children, and the family grows, and ties are constantly made.
Whether this idea started with her difficulty to bid her graduates farewell, Ronit has laid foundations for social networking many years before the version we know today. This is so simple really: Find a common ground, and plant the seed – that’s all it takes.
Good luck Ronit!