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Tubishvat – Eid Ishajara (Arbor Day)

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Every year the Primary School celebrates this tree planting day that is popular in both Palestinian and Jewish culture.

This year, all the children in the school took part in the tree planting and class room activities. The tree planting was arranged with the cooperation of the village landscape gardener, Eitan Kremer, as well as the nature and life science teacher Voltaire Shamshoum. The children planted eucalyptus and pine nut trees along the road that leads up to and skirts the village.

The day’s activities were suited to the children’s age groups. In first grade, the children learned about the value of trees, especially fruit trees such as citrus, apple and olive. They made picture cards of these. The 2nd grade teachers spoke of the importance of trees to the earth’s ecosystem. The children also planted seedlings in pots. In 3rd grade, the children acquired vocabulary related to the holiday, learning words such as watering can, garden fork and hoe in Hebrew and Arabic before going to do the planting. They watched a TV show on the subject of Tubishvat and learned about plant germination. They ate dried fruit and nuts as is customary to the holiday. The art teacher Mary worked with the 4th grade class, preparing colorful drawings. The fifth grade class drew signs with the names of trees in Arabic and Hebrew. They saw a slideshow and did an exercise whereby they associated trees with ideas of friendship. They also split up into groups and went out to seek specimens of the trees about which they had learned. The sixth grade class took part in the tree planting and the nature and life science teacher, Voltaire Shamshoun, explained to them about the place of trees in the ecosystem, showing the children how insects, animals, birds, as well as vines, creepers and climbing plants benefit from their existence.

Asked about the significance of the holiday, Reem Nashef, the pedagogical coordinator and science teacher, spoke of its importance in teaching environmental values. The school is situated in a beautiful natural environment and tries to use this to full advantage. Reem recollected how, as a child raised in the urban landscape of Jerusalem, she had much less awareness of nature than these children who grow up in and around Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom.

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