Friday, December 2, 2011

Gan, Fall 2012

"Already?!"  That was my response when a friend of mine, whose daughter is the same age as Raphaela, told me that she has been investigating potential nursery schools for the last three months, and that the registration for Jerusalem Municipality nursery schools for next Fall begins right after Chanukah, in three weeks.

Normally, a child at the age of three leaves the private nursery system and integrates in the 'public school' system of the city.

Of course I could not sleep at all last night, and finding myself perfectly alert at midnight, I compiled a list of questions and observations toward coming to the decision of nursery school for the following school year.  Thankfully, there is always the fall back position of Raphaela remaining at her current private Gan for one more year, though the price has become borderline prohibitive.  It also depends on which of Raphaela's closer friends would choose to remain there with her, so that she has continuity not only in the location, but also with her peers.

In no particular order:
1.  Cost of basic program/hours [FYI:  Municipal nurseries technically only have a half day]
2.  Cost of extra afternoon hours
3.  Food availability:  morning snack? Hot lunch? Afternoon snack? Kashrut in general?  Quality and healthfulness of food in general [FYI:  Contrary to the private nursery schools, most public programs do not provide breakfast or afternoon snack]
4.  Activities available in the facility itself, and activities imported on a regular basis eg movement, music, nature etc.
5.  How do they deal with a child who is not totally toilet trained? [FYI:  In order to enter the Israeli public nursery, the child must be toilet trained by the age of three]  How do they deal with multi-lingual children?  How do the deal with a child who still may need a mid-afternoon nap?
6.  Integration of the older children with the newer younger children [FYI:  At this stage of Gan, most children stay in the same place until first grade]
7.  Ratio of kids to nursery teacher [FYI:  In contrast to the private Gan which Raphaela attends now, most public programs have a ratio of 1 to 35 children, with minor assistance at lunch time]
8.  How do they approach and teach religious issues and holidays?  Is there a specific dress code within the religious nursery system?
9.  Does the Gan feel clean and light?  Does each child have their own cubby space?  What does the play area look like, can children go outside and get fresh air?  Are there enough outdoor toys to go around?
10.  Structure of a typical Gan day
11.  How does the Gan and the nursery teacher deal with disciplinary issues and disagreements among the children?  Is there a zero-tolerance policy on violence?
12.  How do they expect and wish parents to be involved within the Gan?
13.  How do they celebrate birthdays?
14.  What are the educational goals and teaching philosophy of the place?
15.  What will Raphaela's friends choose as a framework for next year?

No one told me how much legwork you must do as a parent, in order to (hopefully) make the best choice for my daughter.


Midlife Singlemum said...

If you think you're going to find a gan that answers all these questions to your specifications, you're gonna be a long time looking.

Nicole said...

It's like Jerusalem is in a different country...
In Ra'anana (and other cities nearby), the city council offers either half or fully day options, and the full day options have breakfast and hot lunch provided.
And the registration period is only in March next year.
And there are no ganim where trom trom, trom, and hova are all in the same gan - they are either one or 2 year spreads.
I don't think any of them will deal with children who are not toilet trained, and I think that kids who need naps learn almost straight away that they can manage without, because there are no sleeping facilities.

My criteria would be much less stringent - can I find a gan within reasonable distance that I can get good positive feedback and recommendations from a number of parents who are currently there. That's it.

Doc said...

I certainly don't expect any Gan to fulfill all my needs, these are just the questions floating around in my head. Just as with human beings, life is compromise. At the end of the day, the Gan I choose will be the place where I inherently trust them to take care of my child, my most treasured possession. That's a feeling, not a list.

Commenter Abbi said...

nicole- j-m offers these option as well. i've sent children to both systems. doc, you'll save yourself a lot of legwork if you just ask your friends with kids similar ages where they're sending their kids, preferably, if this is their second or third time around and they have experience. I believe there is a highly recommended matnas/parent coop gan in baka. I sent to the waldorf style gan in nayot. A bit too religious, but the ratio gannenet/child ratio was higher.

Commenter Abbi said...

Don't know if you're in the market to buy an apt. but a friend put up a link to this place on Yad2 and I thought of you: