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Sailing Through Stormy Seas: An Israeli Kindergarten Teacher Confronts Holocaust Remembrance Day (Case Study)

Early Childhood Research & Practice 2009, Fall, 11, 2

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Introduction The destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001 triggered discourse among early childhood educators about the wisdom of including young children in discussions about a national disaster (McKersie et al., 2003; Gross & Clemens, 2002; West & Albrecht, 2007). Exposing children to violence has been found to be damaging to the emotional well-being of the young child (McIntyre, 2004). On the other hand, helping the child to process information available in the media and in the general cultural milieu may be a primary task of the preschool teacher, who is recognized as an important socializing agent (Epstein, 2007). Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, mass murders, and even isolated events of violence enter the home through the media, and young children are not immune to horrific visual and verbal stimuli. In places around the world where terrorism and large-scale violence frequently directly impact children and families, such issues are of particular interest to the early childhood community. In Israel, in particular, the commemoration of the Holocaust has penetrated the national ethos in such proportions that the teacher of young children has little choice but to include Holocaust Remembrance Day in the program. Although the historical boundaries of the Holocaust curriculum are not specified, the period is generally defined as beginning with the Nazi party's rise to power in 1932 and ending with the Nuremburg trials in 1945. However, Israeli educators typically add on the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 as a final outcome of the Holocaust. (1) While this content is not a compulsory component of the state-mandated preschool curriculum, the preschool supervisors, parents, and society in general expect the teachers to mark the day as a national event (Rina Cohen, National Supervisor for Preschool Curriculum in the religious sector of the Ministry of Education, personal communication, March 19, 2009). Holocaust education is presented as an important part of the program by the preschool supervisors, who offer both teaching materials and inservice programs on the topic to the teachers in the region. An example of this official stance is the article on the Ministry of Education's preschool Web site that proposes an active role for the teacher in exposing children to the topic of the Holocaust written by Ora Goldhirsh (2008), the state Early Childhood Department's psychologist.

Sailing Through Stormy Seas: An Israeli Kindergarten Teacher Confronts Holocaust Remembrance Day (Case Study)
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  • £2.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Education
  • Published: 22 September 2009
  • Publisher: Clearinghouse on Early Education & Parenting
  • Print Length: 32 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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