Since everyone is posting back to school photos and posts I thought it was time to tell you a bit about school in Israel.
*Please note that I may get some facts wrong. I will try to make sure that everything posted here is as correct as possible. Also note that a lot of what I am going to write is my own experience and that everyone will experience the school system differently.
The majority of schools in Israel are State Schools. This means they are funded by the Department of Education and are therefore free.
For Aaron, who is in Kita Aleph/1st Grade, we still have to pay for his books and stationary. We probably have to pay for a PTA type levy or a class fund but no one has asked us for anything like that yet, maybe because we started school in the middle of the year.
Faiths Gan (Pre-Kindergarten) also happens to be free (at least I hope so as they have only asked us for the PTA levy/class fund money and not anything else).
Children in Modi’in are assigned to schools according to their residential address, Aaron’s school is two blocks up the road from us. Faith’s is the same block as us, just on the road behind us (we can see the playground out our bedroom windows) and there is a nifty little path next to our apartment that cuts to the road behind us.
We drop the kids at school anytime between 7:30 and 8:00 and Aaron’s school day ends at 12:45 while Faith’s school day ends at 13:45.
Since we are working we have enrolled both children at aftercare. This is a paid service and you have to register through the Education Department. You can fetch the children no later than 16:45. It is quite expensive but the children are given a hot lunch (yesterday they had chicken soup, hamburgers and salad), the older kids get homework supervision and they also have some kind of entertainment, either art class or drama or something sporty.
In Gan there is no uniform at all, kids wear what is comfortable for them. In grade school the children wear a modified uniform. They can wear any pants/skirts and shoes that they like. T-shirts and sweaters/hoodies have to be plain (though can be any colour) and need to have the schools logo/badge printed on them. The stores that sell the shirts also iron on the badges.
That’s the basics.
Faith is loving Gan. She is making friends and learning Hebrew. She adores her teachers.
Aaron’s school is fantastic. They are arranging for him to have additional Hebrew lessons so his vocab will increase and they also help him along during the day too. He has made friends and is generally a very happy boy.
So far we are really really happy.
**It looks like a did get a fact or two wrong. Here is a comment that Dan left on Facebook for me:
You’ll have to pay for books every year. The school can charge an additional 1 time amount – depending on grade but with a cap set by the MoE – for extra activities (i.e. the annual trip.) The parent’s association may or may not ask for money at the start of the year but may ask for specific things – depends on the parents. The after-school is run by the municipality with no oversight from the MoE whatsoever. Education is from 3 and up in municipal schools although there are some schools in the city that are subsidized by the MoE and charge an extra fee and those any resident of the city can sign up for.
Go follow <Dan> on Twitter, he is funny and a font of information on Modi’in and living in Israel. He also likes Star Wars so he gets extra points!