Gananot on little brothers and sisters

Another truth known to all Israeli gananot (preschool teachers) is that younger siblings should never be brought to a party in the gan. One ganenet actually sent home a poem with a story about a boy who was so upset because instead of watching him sing and dance, the mother was occupied with the little brother. Can you say propaganda?

Now let me be perfectly clear. I have no desire to bring a small child to a gan party. Any party that lasts more than half an hour is torture for me, and much more so for a toddler. My almost 3-year-old, as much as she is insisting that she is coming along, will have to stay home with my older children. But I still remember those years of leaving an older baby or toddler at home with an unfamiliar babysitter and spending the whole party wondering what was happening at home. We don’t have grandparents around and my husband was hardly ever able to make it home in time for those afternoon functions. As for smaller babies who were happy in a sling or on my lap, I just brought them.

And who says that the older child prefers to leave the baby at home? Many preschoolers love their little brother/sister and never got the message that in order to be happy, they must have Ima all to themselves.

It bugs me that instead of just saying that small children are a distraction in a crowded gan, the ganenet tries to make the parents feel guilty for not giving the older child exclusive attention. Obviously, the ganenet’s job is to make sure that the parents notice, for once, that they have an older child and that they don’t always put the toddler first. Didn’t you know that is why gan parties were invented? That is also the justification they give for giving “homework” to the parents, as one ganenet explained: It’s so wonderful when parents actually spend some one-on-one time with their child.


  1. I thought gan parties were invented to torture the parents by making them sit in those tiny chairs.

    Also, it does get a bit crowded what with 38 kids and 76 parents. Not to mention that with the mercury finally dropping below 30C they all need to come with winter coats, scarves, hats and boots.

  2. makes me wonder what kind of training these gananot are getting.

    i see you moved to betablogger – are you happy with it? why did you do it?

    it’s pretty annoying that it doesn’t recognize my regular blogger identity.

  3. mother in israel says

    Actually, the toddlers also tend to get in the way of the video cameras. Have they turned on the heater in your gan yet? Are you going to reveal yourself anytime soon?

    JJ–It asked me to switch one day so I decided to be compliant. Even before I switched, I stopped having problems commenting on beta blogs. I’m sorry you still are, and I hope it won’t stop you from commenting! I like the tag topics in beta. The only thing I wish they would have added to the beta version is the ability to save your draft as you go, without having to reopen it.

    I actually admire gananot as they have many organizational and artistic abilities that I lack.

  4. It is nice to offer achild one-on-on attention, but by the teacher’s logic, you would have to get rid of your other kids to make a celebration for the birthday child at home. Unless there is something seriously wrong in the relationship, it should be seen as a positive thing to have one’s sibliing join in. Of course, the real concern is overcrowding or disrupting the routing she has set. So you’re right, she should be honest about that rather than play these games. Schools do sometimes invite parents to join some events with the stipulation not to bring younger children. If I had a younger child at home, then, I would skip such things. I only hired babysitters for work.

  5. mother in israel says

    In Israel, you can’t skip this kind of party short of a family emergency. I remember one Chanukah party where my daughter was sick, and I met a mother who told me that I should have brought her anyway. I mentioned this to the assistant in the gan, who described how many kids came with fever, coughs, etc. These parties are hyped up like you wouldn’t believe. I had to set the timer so my son would be able to see for himself how long he has to wait.

  6. Here in the states, my daughter has two wonderful, old-school Israeli gananot. Tomorrow is their Hatzagat Chanukah – you’d better believe my toddler is staying with my neighbor’s babysitter (who I’m paying – I am a stay-at-home mom and don’t have a babysitter). Although, I have to say, maybe because many of the parents are American, there wasn’t any pressure from the teachers not to bring other kids. I just know my son, and know he’d be a distraction, and be miserable.

  7. The snipets into Israeli life really interest me. Thanks for posting.

    And, do you like the new beta-blogger. -SephardiLady

  8. mother in israel says

    RM-thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed the party, and that your toddler was happy at the babysitter. My kids called my cellphone about 100 times during the hour-long party, but eventually my husband came home and things settled down.
    SL–Glad you enjoy it. See my comments about bb in my reply to jj.

    And JJ–I don’t believe it’s a question of training, it’s a question of cultural attitude.

  9. We’ve also gotten those “brother should get all the attention” poems. A miracle occured this year, and there was only ONE sibling present. Last year the room was so stuffy and noisy with all those extra kids jammed in, it was AWFUL.

    The show was great, though- I’m always impressed at the songs/dances/special effects the gannenot come up with.