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Daria Goes to Kindergarten

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 1.

By Andrew McChesney


t was a big day for 3-year-old Daria. It was her first day of kindergarten in Romania.

Daria liked to dress up in pretty clothes, and she dressed up for her first day of kindergarten. The little girl with curly brown hair wore a white blouse, and a pink hat, and purple shoes. On her back, she had a little backpack that she carried all by herself.

Then she stood outside the house, waiting eagerly for Mother to take her to the kindergarten.

But Daria didn’t like her first day of kindergarten. She didn’t know the other little children. She didn’t know the teacher, and the teacher looked big and scary. Daria’s eyes showed her fear. It was like she was thinking, “Please, don’t eat me, Teacher!”

After two days of kindergarten, Daria changed her mind. She liked the kindergarten! She quickly made friends with the other little children. Teacher was kind and gentle. Daria looked forward to going to the kindergarten.

“I want to go there! I want to go there!” she told Mother.

Daria learned a lot of things in a very short time at the kindergarten. Mother saw she began to act differently. When Mother called her to eat, Daria refused to come to the table right away.

“We need to wash our hands before eating,” the little girl said.

Mother was not upset. Actually, she was pleased. Before, Daria played in the mud all day and was always dirty. Mother used to have to tell her, “Wash your hands, wash your hands.” Daria always used to say, “No!”

Now, however, Daria was washing her hands without even being asked.

“Finally, something good!” Mother said.

After washing and drying her hands, Daria sat down at the table for a traditional Romanian meal of samalie (stuffed cabbage) and cornbread. Both were smothered in sour cream. For dessert, Mother sometimes made pancakes with plum jelly.

But again, Daria refused to eat.

“We need to pray,” she said.

Mother was surprised. The family didn’t normally pray at the table. “If you want to do that for yourself, you can do it,” she said.

Daria bowed her head and closed her eyes. Her face looked so innocent as she tried to fold her little hands in prayer. Finally, she succeeded in putting her hands together.

“Our Father in heaven,” she prayed. “Help us now and tomorrow. Amen.”

Daria learned many things at the kindergarten. She learned about being clean and about God and about how to pray. She also learned to paint, and she painted flowers and angels on rocks and wood and paper. She learned the alphabet, the colors, and plants.

In Romania, children go to zero grade between kindergarten and first grade. When Daria finished kindergarten and started zero grade, her new teacher was surprised. Daria was the only child in zero grade who knew how to read and write. “Where did you go to kindergarten?” she asked.

She learned that Daria had gone to a special kindergarten — a Seventh-day Adventist kindergarten in Romania.

Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a school and an after-school center in Romania where children like Daria can learn the alphabet, the colors, plants, painting, cleanliness, and, most important, about the God of heaven who hears prayers. Thank you for planning a generous offering.