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Chinuch Starts At HOME: Part 2


Preschool in Israel: Some Basics


Mazal tov on the birth of your baby! This is your private simcha, as well as for all of Israel which prides itself on its family-friendly culture.


Maternity leave is most often 15 weeks. Israel's current law allows the father to split the 15 weeks of maternity leave with the mother.


What’s next?


Ages 3 months to 3 years


Maon Yeladim is a public daycare center for children from 3 months to 3 years. Directed by various organizations (usually women’s organizations), they are under the supervision of the Israeli government. You must register and be accepted; full-time working mothers are given priority. The cost is between 1550 NIS (New Israeli Shekels) to 2050 NIS, with subsidies offered based on family size and salaries.


Mishpachton, also called Gan Prati, is usually from the ages of 3 months to 2 years. These are private playgroups and much of the schedule and cost depends on the person running it. The hours can range from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and anywhere in between. Most ganim are in the morning, while some entrepreneurial playgroup morahs offer afternoon-centered ganim which cater to parents working American hours. If the family has a kollel lifestyle, Ima drops the baby off at 3 p.m. before her work begins, and Abba picks up the baby at 7 p.m. when his kollel schedule has finished.


The cost can range from 2500 NIS to 4000 NIS for a full day, less for half days. For ages three months to a year, the activity consists of mainly games and motor activities, playing music and songs, reading stories and more. The activities for the ages of one or two years focus mainly on motor, movement, music and creativity.


Language: Because these are private playgroups, the language of the group can be in English. It is possible to find a teacher that speaks both English and Hebrew to the children. This can be important if a child comes from an English-speaking only household, allowing the child to be centered in a comfortable group setting while learning some basic Hebrew.


Programs for 3 to 4 year-olds


Preschool begins as early as two years old and is sponsored by the government. Preschool classes can be morning, afternoon, or full-day.


In the general Israeli world, municipal three-year-old preschool is called trom-trom chova, four-year old preschool is called trom-chova, and five-year old kindergarten is called gan chova.


In some school systems the grade levels are the same, but the names of preschool may be different.


The boys’ schools call three-year old classes ganon; four-year old classes gan; and five-year old classes are called mechina.


The girls’ schools call three- year old classes gan shalosh, four- year old classes gan arbah or (kdam chova), and five- year old classes gan chova.


Afternoon programs


Tzaharon (afternoon programs). Since structured preschool programs end between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., loosely structured yet supervised play time in the afternoon is called Tzaharon. Children receive a hot lunch and have time to continue playing in a supervised setting.


Tzaharon is very well subsidized and the prices are often less than 1000 NIS for the school year (including the hot lunch). For the price, it’s worth signing your child up, even if he or she won’t be attending everyday.

5-year-old programs


Gan Chova(Kindergarten) for five-year-olds is free and compulsory. The curriculum aims to teach fundamental skills, including language and numerical concepts, to foster cognitive and creative capacities, and to promote social abilities.


Class sizes are large - up to 35 children in a class with one teacher and several assistants. Gan Chova children are also able to stay for Tzaharon.


Israel is well versed in moving your children through the school years and into first grade. First grade is a big milestone in Israeli culture. Be proud!
















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Notes:


Preschool begins as early as two years old and is sponsored by the government. Preschool classes can be morning, afternoon, or full-day. They aim to provide the social and learning skills necessary for future academic success. Nurseries include three levels: three-year old preschool (trom-trom chova), four-year old preschool (trom-chova), and five-year old kindergarten (gan chova).



A private Preschool – “Gan Prati” (3 months – 4 years) Hours of operation: on weekdays usually 7:00 / 7:30 – 16:00/ 17:00 and Fridays until 12:00/13:00. Cost: The price per month for a private preschool is determined by the owners of the preschool, usually according to demand and prices in the area. The price ranges from NIS 2,800 to NIS 4,000. Number of caregivers in relation to children: For children aged 3 months to 2 years in a private preschool: Usually one nurse for every three or four babies. The ratio between a nanny and children aged two to four will usually be one for every six or seven children. The ratio between a nanny and children aged four to six will be in most places one in ten children. Structure: Usually a private building with a yard

Educational and pedagogical: seasons, holidays, annual topics. In the private preschools there are also activities for children, such as movement, music, and more. Supervision: The Ministry of Labor supervises the daycares that are listed in the following link https://apps.moital.gov.il/Daycare/FramesSearch/ you need to choose (day care)מעון in the search and (Rehovot) רחובות in the city and use google translate.


MISHPACHTON (Usually 3 months - 2 years) Hours of operation: Usually the hours range from 7:00 to 17:00. Cost: The price per month ranges from 2500 NIS to 4000 NIS. Number of caregivers in relation to children: Determined by the head of the place. There is no supervision, and therefore there is no recommendation in the regulations or in the law. Structure: In most cases, the place will be in a private home. Contents: For ages of three months to a year, the activity will be mainly games and motor activities, playing music and songs, reading stories and more. The activities for the ages of one or two years will deal mainly with motor, movement, music and creativity. Supervision: there are Mishpahtons that the Ministry of labor welfare and social services supervise – they are not many, and you can find a list of the ones in Rehovot here: PARENT’S GUIDE TO CHILDCARE OPTIONS IN ISRAEL 4 https://apps.moital.gov.il/Daycare/FramesSearch/ you need to choose (Mishpahton) משפחתון in the search and (Rehovot) רחובות in the city and use google translate. What is important to know and check? It is important to check that the place is suitable for the needs of babies and toddlers and make sure that it is clean and protected, to check the subject of nutrition (whether food is prepared or brought from outside) and sleep conditions. It is also important to check that even if the family is in an apartment or home without a garden, the caregiver takes the children out for a walk (weather-permitting). It is also important to check that there is an emergency exit, a safe room and a fire extinguisher, and you should also check with other parents about the treatment of children and the family



Municipality preschool - Gan Ironi (3 years to 6 years) • ages 3-4 (Trom-Trom Hova or Tat Hova) • ages 4-5 (Trom Hova) • ages 5-6 (Hova) - Compulsory Opening hours: Sun – Thu 7:30-14:00, Friday 7:30 – 13:00 What is the Gan calendar? Gan follows the same calendar as schools. School begins on September 1st and ends on June 31st. This is regardless of the day of the week. If September 1st is on a Friday, Gan (and school) will begin on Friday. There is usually a three-day gradual introduction to Gan for three and four-year-olds. On the first day, expect to pick up your child at 10, and on the second day at 11. The full day usually begins on the 3rd day. Kindergarten is a full day from day one. Cost: The preschools are under the Free Education law - therefore there is no charge for these hours, except one-time payments for insurance, (the rest is up to the kindergarten and classes, which vary according to the parents' decision). Number of caregivers with regard to children: The ratio in kindergartens is typically one preschool teacher and assistant to 30-35 children. Structure: Buildings designated for this purpose by the local authority. The planning and building process requires the approval of the Ministry of Education which finances the construction and grants the operating license to the kindergarten.

Contents: Hebrew calendar, holidays and tradition, language skills, music, life skills (education for personal safety and road safety), health education and physical education, mathematics and science. Supervision: the municipality's education department, the education department and the preschool department. What is important to know and check? Do you have to bring the child to kindergarten only after weaning or not? What is the treatment of the staff for detoxification, an agenda, nutrition, whether there is a security guard at the entrance to the kindergarten, what facilities are there in the yard? Are there small toilets, where do we sleep at noon, and what preparation is there for first grade?




Education in Israel begins at a very young age in order to provide children with an augmented head start, particularly in terms of socialization and language development.

Many two-year-olds and almost all three and four-year-olds attend some kind of preschool framework. Most programs are sponsored by local authorities, some within day-care centers operated by women's organizations; others are privately owned. The Ministry of Education allocates special resources for preschool education in disadvantaged areas.

Kindergarten for five-year-olds is free and compulsory. The curriculum aims to teach fundamental skills, including language and numerical concepts, to foster cognitive and creative capacities, and to promote social abilities. The curricula of all preschools are guided and supervised by the Ministry of Education to ensure a solid and well-rounded foundation for future learning.


There are many employment opportunities in Israel for qualified preschool/kindergarten teachers and child caregivers. Options include:

  • Maon, or public daycare center (ages 0-3)

  • Mishpachton, or private/home-based daycare center (for ages 0-3)

  • Private Gan (for ages 1-3)

  • Municipal Gan (for ages 3-6)

  • Tzaharon, or afternoon daycare center

Note about Israeli Ganim: In most Israeli communities, children from the age of 3 attend municipal Gan. The government subsidy covers municipal Gan from age 3, offering very low tuition for these age groups. Because of this, there is less demand for private Ganim, though some Olim still prefer to send their children to a smaller group or English-speaking settings. See this for a more thorough description of the municipal Gan system in Israel.

Maon Yeladim (Daycare Center)

These daycare services for children from 3 months to 3 years old are operated by non-profit organizations under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare. While the Maon manager is required to have an MA in Early Childhood, the “sa’yaot” or helpers are not required by law to have any formal training beyond high school. If you are interested in working as a saya’at in a Maon and have taken a childcare course abroad, you should present your course diploma (which they may ask you to translate) to increase your chances of getting the job. All Maon workers are required to take a first-aid course in Israel and speak some basic Hebrew.

Mishpachton

The term Mishpachton, from the word Mishpacha, or family, refers to a smaller, more intimate day care arrangement. A Mishpachton is usually geared towards children under the age of 2. In most cases, it includes a group of 4 to 6 babies or toddlers cared for by a single Metapelet, or caregiver. A Mishpachton is not expected to have the same educational content and rigid structure as a Gan. There are varying requirements regarding child to adult ratio and physical space required to open a Mishpachton.

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening a da care center in a private home or apartment building. Some cities require the day care providers to apply for a license and to make an official public request to open a daycare center. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.

Private Gan

Many Olim who have experience as preschool teachers frequently opt to work in a private Gan in Israel. Typically, private Gan is open to children between the ages of 1 and 3. Some Ganim are designed for children in a wide range of ages, but most Ganim limit enrollment to a more specific age group. Private Ganim can be home-based or can be located on rented premises. Typically, an Israeli Gan will have a group of 10 to 20 children, cared for by 2 to 3 Gananot (depending on group size).

One of the advantages of a private Gan is that you can decide what language is spoken. While most Ganim are conducted in Hebrew, in communities with large English-speaking populations, there is a demand for English or bilingual options. If you’re exploring different communities in Israel, research the cost of Gan in each city or neighborhood. There is a tremendous range, which directly impacts the profitability of running a Gan. Each community has its own expectations of what cost is reasonable.

If you’re running your own Gan or you are a partner in a Gan, salaries in private Ganim tend to be higher than the salaries in municipal Ganim. However, when calculating your salary, keep in mind that you will encounter extra expenses. For example, self-employed Gananot can usually expect to pay substitute teachers for sick days, as well as to put aside money each month for pensions and insurance. If you are running a Gan in your own home, you will have the additional costs of electricity, heating, toys and other supplies for the children. In addition, many Ganim provide children with hot lunches, which is also a significant expense. If you are working as an assistant in a Gan, salaries in private Ganim usually include fewer benefits, and do not necessarily involve higher salaries.

If you’re looking for work in a private Gan, join your new Israeli community’s email list well in advance of your Aliyah. Ganim are frequently advertised by email. You can contact each Gan that advertises, to find out if there are any openings for the upcoming school year.

If you’re planning on opening your own Gan, speak to other Gananot well in advance of your Aliyah in order to clarify parents’ expectations. Israeli Gan differs from its overseas equivalent and you will want to make sure that your program meets local norms in terms of educational content, daily schedule, and extra activities such as Chanukah parties and parent-teacher meetings. Use local email lists to publicize your Gan and connect with local parents to find out what options already exist and check if there is demand for a new Gan in the area. When you are planning the year’s schedule, keep in mind that many Ganim offer a “summer camp” option for the month of July.

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening up a day care center in a private home or apartment building. Some cities require the day care providers to apply for a license and to make an official public request to open a daycare center. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.

Municipal Gan

By law, municipal Gan can have classes of up to 35 children. Since most North American preschool teachers have never worked with such a large group, this fact alone can make municipal Gan particularly challenging. In addition, in order to work in a municipal Gan, you must have an excellent command of Hebrew. Familiarity with popular children’s songs, stories, etc., is also important.

However, if you are up to the challenges of a municipal Gan, there are several significant advantages. For a new Oleh or Olah, working in Hebrew in an Israeli environment is the best way to gain an understanding of Israeli cultural and educational norms. And while municipal salaries tend to be lower than private Gan salaries, they are paid over a 12-month period – whereas private Gan usually does not pay a salary in the months of July and August. In addition to receiving a salary, if you are in the government system you will receive benefits such as free training courses, a paid pension, sick days and a paid sabbatical every 7 years.

If you are considering working in a municipal Gan, it is best to start out during the first year as a Machlifah, or rotating teacher. A Machlifah teaches in a different Gan, each day of the week. Usually, a Machlifah has a defined curriculum, such as teaching the children about plants or animals. As a Machlifah, you do not have ultimate responsibility for the Gan, and your task is both better defined and more limited.

Licensing

In order to be the Head Ganenet in a municipal Gan, you must have a B.Ed in Early Childhood Education. If you studied abroad, your degree must be recognized by Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education). See Degree Recognition. Once your degree has been recognized, be in touch with Misrad Hachinuch’s preschool supervisor, or Mefakahat al Ganei Yeladim, in your community:


Tzaharon

For better or for worse, the Israeli public-school system has a fairly short school day. While the situation varies from city to city throughout Israel, in some communities, the preschool program ends at 1:20 p.m. when many parents are still at work.

The Tzaharon system is designed to cover the hours from the time that Gan closes to the time when parents return from work. Tzaharon can be a home-based, informal group, or it can be a full-scale after school program. Some Gananot run a Tzaharon in coordination with a morning program, giving parents the option of picking up their children either at lunchtime or later in the day. Alternatively, some Tzaharon programs coordinate picking up children from different Ganim and bringing them to a different location for the afternoon hours. Tzaharon programs usually offer a hot lunch. The program typically ends at 4 p.m., though some end at 5 p.m. (or later).

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening up a Tzaharon in a private home or apartment building. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.

What is your current position?

I run a private, English-speaking Gan in Har Nof.

How did you find your job?

I was a preschool teacher in America, and I wanted to continue here in Israel. I did not want to work in a big Gan in a school, so I opened my own.

What experience do you need to get into your field?

Because private Ganim are not overseen by Misrad Hachinuch, anyone can really open one. It is up to parents to decide whether they trust the Ganenet and if they feel comfortable leaving their child with her. It helps to have a degree in early childhood education as well as experience working with children of that age.

What are the benefits of working in a private Gan?

Many private Ganim are run out of the Ganenet’s home, and it’s nice to work in your own home. There is no travel time, and you are always around if you need to be. The only disadvantage is that your house always has to be ready.

What are the upcoming areas of specialization that you would recommend?

A Ganenet needs to be especially sensitive to different family situations, including single-parent homes and families going through economic hardships.

What recommendations can you offer Olim looking to work in this field?

Research a neighborhood before you move there. You want to make sure that it is a young community that has a need for a Gan.

Special thanks to Deborah Broder for her professional contributions to this article.




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