Vanessa Cameron – Gan Balagan, Sofia, Bulgaria

Blog 2

Friday has always been a good day for me. Well, you can easily say every day is a good day when you see it as a possibility for a new adventure or a day of growth. Attitude is everything. New day, new strength, new thoughts.

Today started early with a cup of strong coffee and an intriguing meeting at Beth Sholom Early Childhood Center. We were properly introduced to the Reggio Emilia approach by an inspiring woman – we will get to her name, so keep on reading. Let me tell you, a two hour meeting is definitely not enough to understand everything we’re told. What’s helpful is seeing all the warm faces around you, ready to answer your questions and show you the right way of understanding the Reggio approach. After the introduction we got from Dr. Na’ama Zoran (the inspiring figure I mentioned) we visited two different, but both amazing schools. Beth Sholom Early Childhood Center was our first destination and that’s where the meeting was held. That’s one of the transitioning schools, so you could also call it a Reggio inspired school. We got to see the building and meet the staff. Believe it or not, just that already makes you feel excited about the upcoming week. You’re going to hear more about Beth Sholom Early Childhood Center in my upcoming blog posts because that’s where I am going to spend most of my time during the week. The second school we visited was Temple Emanuel – a school which started as a Reggio school. We got to meet the pedagogista and atelierista (very important pieces in the Reggio puzzle) and they gave us a tour of the facility and some background stories. The beauty in both was the high level of involvement of children and teachers, the never ending creativity floating in the air, the jewish values as a foundation of teaching and a lot more than that. A little side note – the whole schedule we follow is very well planned, because each place we go to and each person we meet has it’s own purpose and it all makes sense in the end. Fridays goal was to give us the image of two Reggio schools – one which started as one and one which was still transitioning. The schools had a different vibe but as I said both of them were full of energy.

Friday was a good day, full of new experiences. There’s a saying that a mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.

Blog 1

The first day of our visit has come to its end and I am feeling overwhelmed. I had an amazing experience today and I’m looking forward to all of the upcoming events. I was lucky to participate in the Jewish Early Childhood Education Conference and meet so many people of different age and nationality, all with a different background. What was really amazing was being surrounded by all those people and knowing that we all have one thing in common – we are all trying to be better and more innovative and effective in what we do with passion and love.

We grow by learning and by sharing our knowledge with others. Today gave me the opportunity to learn from people with experience and great ideas – I felt excited, curious and motivated. As we all know, curiosity is the fuel of development and the engine of achievement. Children are born with all the curiosity they’ll ever need and our job is to feed them with ideas daily, so that their curiosity would last a lifetime. We all have a unique contribution to education and it’s our responsibility to help our kids form and thicken their Jewish identity by understanding what being Jewish really means. It’s not just a special activity, it’s a lifestyle.


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