Preparing Kids for First Grade
ESRA's First Steps project is in its fifth year of operation. This year, the kindergarten in Hefzibah Netanya (a population of Ethiopian descent) closed and we transferred it to a kindergarten in the Vatikim area of Netanya, a few hundred meters away. The new kindergarten of 22 children accepted us with warmth and were happy to work with us.
Below is a letter from the teacher, Oshra, to Rachel the supervisor of the Ministry of Education in Netanya:
I have to write and share with you some details about the ESRA staff and volunteers with us in the kindergarten, Orly, Sapir and Judi. All of these women, including Judi who is a volunteer, are motivated professionals whose main goal is to help and improve. They understand the children and show great care and empathy towards them. They display love and warmth and so much more.
They arrive every Wednesday. The children look forward to their arrival and their visit. When they walk into the room the children's eyes light up and they enthusiastically join the activities. So much to do: motor skills, language enrichment, social skills, print and literacy sensitivity and mathematical skills. This is a true example of learning through play.
The children are learning so much. We are succeeding in actually closing the gap which sadly exists, through games, activities, conversations, and ideas. Everyone seems to be having a great time, even the kindergarten staff who always join in and have become an integral part of the program. The cooperation between our staff and the ESRA group is outstanding.
All this is done in a pleasant and cooperative manner. The staff is respected and listened to. They are included in every decision. There is no feeling of competition —we all have the same goal and objective and that is to help these children— not only be ready for school, but for life.
It is our hope that this project will continue for many years to come.
THANK YOU ESRA
First Steps is one of ESRA's very successful projects, preparing the children from the weaker communities to enter into their first year of schooling on a par with the children from the stronger surrounding areas. Our thanks go to our donor and amazing volunteer who runs the program with so much dedication and professionalism with her team of paid professionals.