Gan Gurim is not an ordinary preschool, where you drop off in the morning and pick up at the end of the day. I's a community, it's Gan Gurim's family.
Because I know first hand about the difficulties of raising children away from the extended family, it was important to me to create a place where people can also connect with each other.
In order to strengthen the ties between parents, we have a few events throughout the year, events that are scheduled almost always on weekends, so parents don't have to miss work.
We have our back to Gan/fall picnic, and 3 parties that are open to the whole family - so that siblings who attend public schools can also enjoy the holidays and feel connected. We celebrate Hanukkah, Purim and end of-year, and our parties always include several activities and are famous for being inviting, happy and yummy.
We also have 3 field trips per year, where we go to the pumpkin patch, the Matzah bakery and the butterfly exhibition, all with parents volunteereing to chaperone and experience a fun day.
I truly believe with all my heart that in order for the educational experience to be complete and whole, we have to embrace and maintain all the sides of the child-family-Gan triangle in "big" events as well in day to day communication.
We have several means of communication between Gan and the parents, and also between parents.
For logistics and information sharing we have an email group.
For every day instant communication we have a Watsapp group (that there is no need to silence, since we make sure not to abuse it). The whatsapp group is used for short daily updates, and occasionaly a photo or short video.
We also have a secret group on Facebook, not found in searches, by invitation only. In this group I post pictures I take of the children, and through the pictures, the group members can enjoy and be part of activities and learn about what we do here.
parents can invite (with permission) extended family members from Israel or from here - so that they be part of the daily experiences we go through.
And lastly, at the end of the year each child receives a printed photo album that documents and commemorates what we have experienced over the course of the year.
This is a wonderful memory from Gan, and parents of children who graduated years ago, report that the kids still enjoy looking at the pictures from when they were at Gan.