Streams of education in Israel
The education system in Israel is divided into four main streams: state education, state-religious education, independent education, and the Ma'ayan Torah Education network. Parents have the right to choose which stream they choose to educate their children in, according to their worldview.
The education system in Israel includes formal and informal education. Formal education consists of the following pedagogical stages: pre-elementary education, elementary education, secondary education (lower secondary school, upper secondary school and/or high school), post-secondary education and higher education. \informal education includes activities in society and the youth and in educational areas.
Compulsory Education Law states that every child in Israel is compelled to study in an education framework such as kindergarten or schools from ages 5 to 17, i.e., from the 1st grade to the 12th grade. Free education, beginning at age 3, is provided to pupils studying in kindergartens owned by a local authority and in kindergartens owned by a corporation (The Association of Community Centers, women's organizations and non-profit organizations) at official schools and secondary/high schools.
The concept of education in Rishon LeZion
The education system in Rishon LeZion operates with the aim of preparing the city’s children for life in the 21st century, in the era of knowledge and information, where technological innovations play a central role in our lives. The education system in the city adopts technology as a means for the promotion of innovative pedagogy in all age groups from kindergarten to high school.
The city acts to grant each pupil in the city the sense of competence and belief in himself and the ability to realize his/her potential. This is why each school has its own character and one may choose the school suitable for each pupil.
The education system in the city has succeeded in obtaining high rates of achievement in recent years and is ranked first among the larger cities regarding the rate of elegibility for matriculation (Bagrut).
The city’s children enjoy a learning environment among the most advanced in the country, advanced technological equipment and sports facilities. All this helps to provide the children with the necessary conditions for learning and succeeding.
The Municipality of Rishon LeZion places the education issue at the heart of municipal activity. In recent years, the municipal education budget has increased substantially – the investment in every child has increased, teaching hours have been added, advanced technological equipment has been installed, programs encouraging excellence have been introduced, assistance programs for pupils who have difficulty learning, reinforcement hours have been added alongside individual attention for each pupil. Furthermore, the city won first prize for integrating electronic systems into the city education systems.
The Education Administration at Rishon LeZion
The municipal Education Administration including its various divisions (pre-elementary education division, elementary education division, secondary education division and the individual division) is responsible for the city’s formal education system, and operates full-force at all times to promote excellence in learning and raising learning achievements of the city students, including providing responses to the diverse needs of each student – academic, emotional, social and value-based, while developing their personal skills and integration, The school environment also includes psychological counselors and social workers, as well as aliyah coordinators, whose role is to assist the olim students.
The education frameworks in the city and the various age divisions:
Ages 0-3 – frameworks for babies and toddlers up to age 3 are day care centers supervised by the Ministry of Economy, private family homes and kindergartens, and public day care centers also operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy.
- Ages 3-5 – Pre-elementary education – kindergartens.
- Ages 6-12 – Elementary education – Elementary schools (1st grade through 6th grade)
- Ages 12-17 – Secondary education – Comprehensive "six year" schools
- Lower division (Middle School) children ages 12-15 (7th through 9th grade)
- Higher division (High School) children ages 13-18 (10th through 12th grade).
Pre -elementary education (ages 3-5)
The pre-elementary education division at the municipality of Rishon LeZion emphasizes providing timely responses to all children's needs, whether social, emotional or academic. The pre elementary education system is committed to fostering four core areas, built around a central teaching axis in kindergarten, the Hebrew calendar, Holidays, holiday and tradition, which are studied in a multi-cultural approach. Learning at the kindergarten takes place in an experiential way, in the fields of creativity and art and by means of various types of games. The children acquire learning skills according to their abilities, towards becoming "an independent learner".
At municipal kindergartens – children aged 3 belong to the "pre-prekindergarten", children aged 4 – belong to "pre-kindergarten" and children aged 5 belong to "preschool" kindergarten. The frameworks for children aged 3-5 are private kindergartens; municipal kindergartens or kindergartens of the Labor Council within the framework of the Ministry of Education, and some daycare centers also operate a kindergarten class for children aged 3-4. The kindergarten school day is between 07:30 – 14:00. The option of leaving the children at the "after school program (tzaharon) between 14:00 -16:00 or 17:00 for an extra fee is also available. Studies until 14:00 are free of charge within the framework of the Mandatory Education Law. There are education fees composed of personal accident insurance (mandatory) + culture basket (optional) and additional study program (Talan) such as physical education and rhythm.
Elementary education (ages 6-12)
Children aged 6-12 study at elementary schools (1st through 6th grade). In recent years the city has implemented a controlled selection process at the elementary schools, wherein parents are entitled to select the appropriate school for their child from a group of schools in their catchment area, determined by the residence's proximity, the character of the school and its fields of study, which may be appropriate to the parents’ worldview and the child's nature.
Secondary education (ages 12-17)
In recent years, the authority has taken a series of steps ease the transition for graduates of the sixth grade who are completing their elementary studies and moving into the secondary stage in the education system, to provide them with all the tools to succeed. One of the more significant steps in this change involves merging the lower (middle) division with the upper division (high school) in order to create six year comprehensive schools, where scientific-technological streams have been established for students with science orientation, unique and new regional streams, gifted classes, leadership development -, entrepreneurship, research, as well as classes within the ordinary matriculation streams and provision for those who need extra assistance.
Rishon LeZion ascribes great importance to developing education frameworks and providing an appropriate educational response to each student according to his/her needs. Consequently, educational frameworks have been developed to respond to students with special needs aged 3-21, in the whole gamut of categories of special education populations and addressing a range of challengesat all functional levels. Included within the special education categories are complex dysfunctions, developmental mental disability, leaning disabilities, communication disabilities – autism, behavioral attention and concentration disorders (A.D.H.D), physical limitations, hearing impairment and vision impairment. Pupils with special needs are entitled to services such as integration programs, special education classes within the ordinary schools, special education kindergartens and schools. The Special Education Unit within the Inclusivity Branch develops services, teaching and learning processes, in order to enable students with special needs to realize their social, emotional, cognitive and functional abilities, and develop as independent adults with quality of life in society and the community. The unit for special education at the Municipality of Rishon LeZion maintains placement committees and integration committees for the special education. In addition, it provides a source of assistance and information for both parents and educational staff. It is important to know that the placement committee is not in charge of assigning placement. If the placement committee determined entitlement for a special educational framework, it is the integration committee's responsibility to integrate the student into the educational framework.
Gifted and exceptional students
The gifted and exceptional unit for sciences and technology at the Integration Branchl at the Municipality of Rishon LeZion, educates for excellence and the promotion of the science and technology field in the city. The unit is in charge of developing programs for gifted and exceptional students within the framework of the study program, as well as developing enrichment programs, the scholarship system for students and for training staff teams. Rishon LeZion provides an educational framework for children identified and labeled as gifted (based on the Szold Institute diagnosis), within the framework of a school day at the Ron Vardi school – the Ministry of Education’s school for the gifted and exceptional . Furthermore, the city provides high level enrichment studies for children (at the kindergarten and school levels) at the Municipal Center for Excellence.
In addition to the above, study tracks in the field of science and technology have been opened, in which the children study enriched programs in science (physics, chemistry, biology) and technology (computers and robotics) subjects.