My town doesn’t attract a large number of new English-speaking olim, having been eclipsed by Raanana, distant Beit Shemesh and Modiin. But we now have a new attraction–an English story hour.
Our group consists of six or seven families. Some I knew before, and the rest met through our community’s email list. Each week a different family hosts, chooses a book and plans a related activity. I was impressed with J, the most recent hostess. Despite having only one child, she managed to welcome the crowd and make us all feel comfortable. When I had only one or two small children I couldn’t imagine inviting over one large family, much less a few small ones (most parents bring one or two children).
Today’s story, The Gruffalo, is a cleverly written rhyme about a mouse who avoids getting eaten by the other forest animals and J provided materials for making a forest collage. I don’t know where J got the idea, but the internet is full of activity ideas for popular children’s books so non-crafty parents like myself don’t have to scramble. When we hosted we read Pancakes by Eric Carle, and made pancakes. (No, I didn’t have to search the internet for that idea.)
My kids (age 4 and 6) look forward to the story hour all week, and until I realized that my older children all end late that day I thought I would send them to supervise. But like all successful cooperative ventures, the story hour turned out to be as much fun for me as for the kids. I’ve even made some new friends, which doesn’t happen often at my stage of life (“virtual” present company excluded).
We had something similar a few years ago but I never dreamed of finding enough parents to start it up again. So now all we have to do is await the influx of English speakers to our fair town. (Even though my location is an open secret, I hope you’ll forgive me for being annoyingly circumspect.)