In this week’s blog, Talya Greenblatt, PPI – ME’s International Fellow, describes a fun event in Jaffa, showing how it’s never too early to bridge divides.
“It was amazing to see the kids do activities and cooperate so well together and not care about differences in their cultures. I guess it’s because they are only 4 years old. They just want to have fun! It was really fun for us to see that.”- LDP Participant
In the last weekend of December 2017, members of PPI-ME’s Leadership Development Program ran a basketball event for kindergarten kids and their parents in Jaffa. Jaffa, an ancient Arab port city alongside the new Jewish city of Tel Aviv (and also home to the PPI-ME office), is one of the few places in Israel where Jews and Arabs live together. Not surprisingly, it is also the location of a Hand in Hand school, one of six in the country. Hand in Hand schools are unique Jewish-Arab integrated bilingual schools, as opposed to most other schools in Israel that are either Jewish or Arab. The Hand in Hand school in Jaffa is relatively new, and currently serves students from kindergarten to the third grade.
Of course, our awesome Leadership Development Program (LDP) participants and coaches from Jerusalem ran the show!
They started by introducing themselves in both Hebrew and Arabic to the kids and their parents, and then playing a quick icebreaker game that got everyone moving and smiling. From there, the parents and kids were split into two stations. The first station was a relay race, and the kids had to jump over obstacles, throw the basketball through a hula-hoop, and crawl under hurdles. With parents involved, it got quite competitive! In the second station, two teams sat in a line and passed a basketball, hula-hoop, and cone with various body parts. This might sound super simple, but it was actually very difficult because adults are so much bigger than kids. Of course, this led to lots and lots of laughter. Holding and running with the ball, the final relay was all parents and kids needed to work up an appetite for closing snacks.
Not only did the parents and their kids have a great time, but our LDP and coaches did as well! Here are some impressions from the event:
“At PPI-ME, we don’t usually work with kids this young, so it was really fun! I think it is super unique to see Arab and Jewish parents have such good communication and fun just talking to each other. They really are a community of friends and I look forward to the next event with them!” – PPI Coach
“I really liked how the children are friends because it is a mixed school. They didn’t wait for LDP to encourage them to talk, they did it all by themselves because they are friends from the beginning. And it was great that the parents were so interactive because they helped a ton!”- LDP Participant