The End of an Era

Earlier this week I received some sad news that I'm having trouble getting over. The American Embassy International Preschool, where my girls have attended these past 3 years, will be shutting its doors at the end of this school year. I'm more than upset, I'm devastated.

The preschool was founded in the late 1970's by an Embassy spouse, who wanted a playgroup for her special needs child. Over a few short years, this playgroup grew into the leading English-speaking, and only American preschool in Herzliyya Pituach. For many of us, the preschool was the second most important place outside of our own homes. We went to the preschool at least twice a day; to drop-off and pick-up our children. We participated in Circle Time, holiday events, and fundraising for new playground equipment, a computer, and updated materials. Riley has been in all 3 classes, I've taken class / school photos for the past 2 years, and this year I became the Parent Board President. These teachers have been my friends, my extended family, my life for the past 3 years. They've met every family member who's come through Herzliyya, they've signed up for this blog, they've cared. Oh have they cared.

I'm so sad.

The United States Embassy Association, who manages the preschool, has been in dire financial straits for as long as we've been in Tel Aviv (and actually much longer). Due to mismanagement of money, all four of the Embassy Association's entities have now closed. First they closed the pool as they were no longer able to afford to pay the pool cleaner to maintain the pool and the cleaning crew to clean the bathrooms and grounds. Then they closed the newly updated Recreation Center. Next they closed our Commissary. And this past Monday we got news that they were closing the preschool at the end of the school year. A preschool that follows the strict American standards and curriculum as set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which accredits preschools across the United States. A preschool that has professionally certified teachers, all who have been there from 8 - 20 years! A preschool that for a long-time has been the only profit-center for the Embassy Association, yet was sadly attached to the sinking ship.

When you leave a place and move on to the next, your biggest hope is that you left behind a legacy; a place that has thrived from your participation, your donations, your love. I'm leaving behind memories of a special place that once was, and will be no more.

I know that the teachers will all rise above this, they'll band together and find an alternative to the preschool's closure. They're amazing women with a gift, and in no time they'll figure out their plan "b" and move forward. For now, I'm working through my grief, and can only hope that our footprints in the dirty sand at the preschool did not go unnoticed.

1 comment:

karey m. said...

outrageous. really. i'm speechless.

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