Three of us huddle around a phone perched precariously on the back of a tiny classroom chair with our fourth colleague speaking with us from Israel. Three of us are brand new to the kindergarten team (or in Hebrew ‘gan’), and one is beginning her eighth year in Gan, with a wealth of experience and ideas. Long before the children start school, we share goals, hopes, essentials of who we are, and questions. The phone slides down. Disconnected. We start again and resume our discussion. We are four teachers starting to form a vibrant and cohesive team. This is some of what we discuss: how to communicate with each other and with students, staff, and the community; our goals and themes; strategies for transitioning between activities; methods for redirection; and how to build on strengths (each other’s and the children’s). We finish our meeting and smile.
The next step is a group photo to send to the children before school starts, but how to do it while still including our new colleague who sits halfway across the globe? Our creative photography and graphic design experts in the office come to the rescue chiming in “Just photoshop her head into the photo! How about all of you on a bike?” Within minutes, there we all are, happily riding a four-seated bicycle! Problem solved!
Fast forward several weeks. This is some of what we see and hear: Children on the classroom stage…”Quiet on the set! We’re ready to perform!” In the kitchen… “Would you like to come to the wedding we are planning?” as wooden food, including a magnificent pink and white cake, is piled high on a table. Children helping each other make spirals or put the letters of their names together on a train. At recess, one student shows the other how to play tetherball and another runs over to invite a classmate to play. Watching the children work together, inclusively and naturally, we are witnessing the making of a team – the Gan team.
“G-A-N Gan! G-A-N Gan! Gooooooo, Gan!
Gimel nun, gimel nun, yay Gan!” G-A-N Gan!