My 5-year-old son goes to a Tel Aviv kindergarten with 32 other kids. He has been in the Israeli school system a year and a half – since we moved here from San Francisco. Prior to our move he went to The Haight Ashbury Co-Op.
His first year in Holy Land Central (HLC) he struggled with culture and language gaps, geographical differences and a general longing for the familiar. Amidst adjustments, his father and I separated.
This year he feels more grounded and is excelling socially. But his kindergarten teacher recommends he stay back a year. Because she says he is somewhat immature emotionally and she also feels that his language skills won’t suffice through an entire day of 1st grade challenges (in Hebrew).
Coming from the American culture of “push push push, go go go!”, I at first rebelled internally against the teacher’s recommendation. But then I began consulting with other mothers, former and current teachers and my resolve softened.
I kept hearing from other mothers: “Keep him back! Let him play for one more year. Don’t push him.” What is this? I wondered. Laziness? Why don’t they favor pushing forward?
And then one mother voiced what I suspected might be behind the seeming slacker mentality.
Are you in a hurry for him to go to the army? Let him stay back a year!
Because just maybe, as is the popular suggestion handed down from parents to children for decades, there will be peace in my child’s lifetime and he won’t have to go into the army. So why not give the opportunity for peace an extra year?