Over the past year and a half, Little Hearts Preschool in Jerusalem faced many challenges. But despite financial struggles, national restrictions, and ever-changing regulations, they never gave up. With support from Israel and abroad, they overcame.
Since the beginning of the school year, the kindergarten is once again fully operational! Today, filled with sounds of laughter, play and song, the children and teachers alike welcomed the season of Hanukkah with renewed hope.
Embracing the Diversity of Jerusalem
The demographic of Jerusalem is one of the most fascinating ones in the world. Statistically, it may not be as diverse as Toronto (which is considered to be the most diverse city in the world). But it sure is more complicated than the Canadian metropolis.
For centuries Jerusalem has attracted merchants, armies, and spiritual leaders from around the world. Many have settled in the land, while others come and go.
In a way, so it is to this day. The Old City of Jerusalem may be officially split between Jews, Muslims, Christians and Armenians. But one does not need to walk far from the city gates to come across compounds inhabited predominantly by Ethiopian Jews or the Russian Orthodox, to name a few.
With hundreds of diplomats and international expats thrown in the mix, it is no surprise that the diversity is true of every generation in the city – including children.
Little Hearts in Jerusalem
Aware of this cultural wealth, one remarkable preschool in Jerusalem is helping the different groups of the society interact and integrate. The Little Hearts Preschool created a loving and nurturing environment that is a model of unity.
Built on cooperation, Little Hearts welcomes all children while making sure their staff is equally diverse. The teaching languages are English and Hebrew, nevertheless at the premises you may hear a dozen more.
The Little Hearts Preschool embraced the world renown Montessori method of education and implemented it with huge success. The idea behind the Montessori system is to help and allow children to develop independence according to his or her inner directives.
In a country like Israel, it seems pivotal to take that into consideration and cater to every child’s individual needs and circumstances. And the individual circumstances are many.
Hanukkah – A Time for Miracles
Little Hearts Preschool is the only kindergarten in Jerusalem that openly teaches children of all backgrounds about Jesus. Faith in Jesus unites the teachers, but the kindergarten is open to all families. Aware of the religious affiliation of the school, the parents do not mind it or in most cases even appreciate it.
Each child at this extraordinary preschool in Jerusalem gets a chance to hear about the God of Israel. The children listen to Bible stories every week – told in a different language each day. They learn traditions and sing songs about Biblical feasts.
Recently, they colored a Hanukkah drawing which we shared with you in our free Hanukkah guide (you can still get it here!).
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights that celebrates victory over darkness. The Maccabees saw God do a miracle that sustained them for a week. A light that wasn’t meant to last, kept burning for eight days.
In many ways, Little Hearts Preschool has been living this miracle since their inception.
Little Hearts Changing Jerusalem
One parent shared with the school’s director that, having grown up in an Arab village, she has never met a Jewish person until she went to university. She sends her children to Little Hearts Preschool because she doesn’t want that to be the case for them as well.
Here, they are not just surrounded by children of other faiths and ethnic backgrounds – they become friends with them! The mother is not a Christian, but appreciates the values taught at the school.
Her greatest desire is for her children to avoid many misunderstandings in life that could be caused by lack of knowledge or relationship. And Little Hearts has been the best place for her children to gain these.
Pay it Forward
Little Hearts Preschool serves up to 65 families each year. The children are learning reconciliation and cultural diversity at a very young age, along with Biblical values.
Ministries like this one, although seemingly small, are making a huge and lasting impact on the people of Israel. You can be a part of it, too!
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