September first will go down as a historic day for Jerusalem’s education system.

City Mayor Nir Barkat officiated as Shalva’s one-of-a-kind inclusive preschools held their very first classes in the brand new Shalva National Center. Families from around the city joined together with their children of all abilities as the very first class was filled with learning, song and laughter.

And the mayor really said it best:
“Jerusalem is a city that brings people and ideas together. It’s always been that way. This amazing city rests at the crossroads of three continents, one society building its future on the foundations of its predecessors over centuries. This program, this building, this organization is not only providing an invaluable service of great education and therapies… Shalva is spreading a message that the world is so hungry for; that we must share – even in our differences – so that we’ll learn and become stronger.”

“This kind of program makes me proud to be a Jerusalemite.”

And we get the feeling. There’s good reason that we’ve filled up every last seat available in the program. Shalva’s inclusive preschool has successfully melded an array of program elements to forge a truly breakthrough program. The teachers have devised curriculums based on the research and findings of Shalva’s International Scientific Committee. Field-leaders of inclusion have created programs that allow children to grow at a pace while providing harmonious forums where children of all abilities can learn, play and grow together.

It’s the best of all worlds, all under one beautiful roof.

It’s challenging to put to paper the sheer volume of emotions that filled the event. Hopeful expectation mixed with deep relief as parents basked in the support and camaraderie of peers and staff.

But one thing’s for sure, no one is going to forget it.