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Worried about Israeli schools

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Sep 17 2020, 9:51 pm
Hi all!

Can anyone who lives in Modiin or Raanana help me?

We are planning on making aliyah soon and I am becoming worried about the schooling in Israel. We currently have mostly wonderful and warm administrators both in high school and elementary school. They really care about the kids social emotional development. One of my kids has anxiety and the school has been so wonderful in accommodating my child when needed. Letting him leave class to regroup and sit in an administrators office to calm down. Another has some learning issues and the school has just gone above and beyond having him learn in small groups and being concerned that his self esteem doesn't suffer. My other son is really connecting to his Rabbi's this year, they are smart and engaging and want the kids to be connected spiritually as well.

Anyways I know I am making sacrifices to make this move.

I just want to know am I in for a really huge shock?? Will anyone care about my kids panic attacks? Will anyone be able to help my younger son who has some learning issues?? Will there be anyone my son can connect to at school?

I'm just freaking out right now and hoping someone can give me some perspective ..

Thanks!
Signed an irrational panicked mom Smile
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 3:29 am
You have to do research about the schools in those places that would help you out. Have you already chosen schools? If not, definitely start a thread here asking about schools in thse places. Possibly someone knows of different schools and can help you out. But dont just go into anything on aliyah, blind.
Good luck.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 3:50 am
In general, Israeli public schools are less "warm and fuzzy" that small private America schools.

Class sizes are larger, but they are usually less rigid about discipline, so being able to slip out of class every once in a while isn't unusual.

If your kids have very extreme issues, you may want to speak to the school counselor ("yoetz/yoetzet) ahead of time.
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amother




Blonde
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:01 am
Very common here to allow a kid who is having trouble staying in class for long periods to go out for 5-10 minutes (usually just to wander around and breathe some air).

Research your schools. As Dr Mom said, they are less warm and fuzzy, but there are still good schools. If one of your children is especially vulnerable, you might want to look into smaller/semi-private schools too.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:14 am
First and foremost, do you kids know any conversational Hebrew? My biggest mistake was not learning Hebrew with DD before we moved here. Teachers will not bend over to accommodate Anglos. They will expect your kids to "just pick it up". Until they become fluent, they will probably feel very socially isolated.

DD fell in with a bunch of Anglo kids who were really upset about making Aliyah, and they formed a "black hole of negativity" that just fed on itself. They bonded over how hard it was to learn Hebrew, how much they hated their teachers, and how much they wish they were back in their home countries. The more they complained, the less they learned, and next thing I know, they were skipping classes. DD ended up having to move back to the US to finish high school because she was so far behind in her credits. She's living with relatives now, and I miss her terribly.

Second, the schools will tell you just about anything they think you want to hear. They will promise you the moon and stars, and they probably believe it. I don't think they straight up lie (most of the time), but I think they offer more than they can deliver once they get your kids in. It will be up to you to pick up the slack.

Going back to Hebrew, the schools will not send homework with an English translation. They will send very important school notices only in Hebrew. If you can't read it, you'll have to make friends with a neighbor who can read it for you, and that can range from frustrating to embarrassing. School meetings will all be in Hebrew. You'll be expected to attend, and you won't understand a word of what's going on.

Israeli teachers talk REALLY FAST! If you need them to slow down, they will just talk fast and MUCH LOUDER, because apparently they think you are deaf, and that's why you didn't understand them. They will do this with you, and they will do this with your kids. If your child has anxiety (like mine does), having the teacher speak really fast and really LOUD, sounds like you are being yelled at, even if the teacher is not mad about anything.

I don't want to scare you off from Aliyah. Israel is an amazing place to raise kids. The most important thing is to PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE, and don't count on the schools or Ulpan to get you into the groove. You really have to start learning the language before you get here, and the sooner you start learning, the better your experiences will be. I cannot emphasize this enough!
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essie14




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:30 am
FF has a lot of great points. Definitely things to consider.
BUT, if you live in an Anglo area like Modiin, Raanana, RBS, etc, there will be other Anglo kids and parents in the school. Especially in DL schools. The yoatzot will likely have a half-decent English. Most of the teachers will know English. Schools with large Olim populations can handle the issues better and you will not be reinventing the wheel.

We have a breakoff whatsapp group for my DD's gan for the English speaking parents where we translate the important messages from the main gan group.

If you live in the periphery, it will be very different.
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Iymnok




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:38 am
An advantage this year is that all the grades are behind, so you are less likely to need to hold your child back, as is common with olim.
You may be able to get your kid some "private" classes. Really that means about 5 kids taken out for additional assistance in certain subjects.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:40 am
essie14 wrote:

If you live in the periphery, it will be very different.


Very true. We started out up north, and the school said "Oh yeah, we get lots of Anglo girls." They promised us all kinds of support and tutoring. It didn't happen.

There wasn't a single Anglo in her class. She made friends with an Anglo girl in a lower grade, and the teachers told her that they couldn't play together, because "DD needs to practice her Hebrew." They also told the other girl to only speak to DD in Hebrew. The whole year was a disaster.

Then I sent her to the school with the other Anglo girls, and that was an even bigger disaster because they expected so much more from her. She was forever getting sent to the rav's office for getting in trouble.

If the school had been honest with me when we were there on our pilot trip, we never would have picked that town for a landing spot. (Yes, I'm still a little bitter.)
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essie14




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:43 am
FranticFrummie wrote:
Very true. We started out up north, and the school said "Oh yeah, we get lots of Anglo girls." They promised us all kinds of support and tutoring. It didn't happen.

There wasn't a single Anglo in her class. She made friends with an Anglo girl in a lower grade, and the teachers told her that they couldn't play together, because "DD needs to practice her Hebrew." They also told the other girl to only speak to DD in Hebrew. The whole year was a disaster.

Then I sent her to the school with the other Anglo girls, and that was an even bigger disaster because they expected so much more from her. She was forever getting sent to the rav's office for getting in trouble.

If the school had been honest with me when we were there on our pilot trip, we never would have picked that town for a landing spot. (Yes, I'm still a little bitter.)

Hugs!!!! I'm so sorry.
It's not like this in the "Anglo bubble" cities. That's one of the reasons these cities are suggested as a soft landing. Olim chadashim children get ulpan, there are enough Anglo kids that they have kids to talk to during recess, the teachers have usually dealt with Olim parents previously.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 5:59 am
FranticFrummie wrote:

Second, the schools will tell you just about anything they think you want to hear. They will promise you the moon and stars, and they probably believe it. I don't think they straight up lie (most of the time), but I think they offer more than they can deliver once they get your kids in. It will be up to you to pick up the slack.

Sometimes this is true. It is a good idea to ask the schools for contact info for other Anglo families, so you can get the inside scoop from them.

I've also heard the opposite: Sometimes schools which are ill-equipped to deal with olim will actively discourage non-Hebrew-speakers from registering.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 6:05 am
essie14 wrote:
Hugs!!!! I'm so sorry.
It's not like this in the "Anglo bubble" cities. That's one of the reasons these cities are suggested as a soft landing. Olim chadashim children get ulpan, there are enough Anglo kids that they have kids to talk to during recess, the teachers have usually dealt with Olim parents previously.


Well, live and learn. We found a HUGE apartment with very cheap rent, two blocks from the ocean. I could see the beach from my bedroom window. The town was small, but warm and welcoming.

We went with the Go North program, so we got all kinds of subsidies and assistance.

The thing is, if you move out of the north under 3 years, you have to pay everything back that you got from N b'N. We were stuck.

Man plans, G-d laughs. I have to remind myself that Hashem has his reasons, and we were meant to be there, and that's all there is to it. I try not to dwell on the negative. I made amazing friends who helped me get out of a terrible marriage, and I couldn't have done it without them. Maybe that was the whole reason why we had to pick that town to start with. Hashem knew that I was going to need that support network.
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 6:38 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Hi all!

Can anyone who lives in Modiin or Raanana help me?

We are planning on making aliyah soon and I am becoming worried about the schooling in Israel. We currently have mostly wonderful and warm administrators both in high school and elementary school. They really care about the kids social emotional development. One of my kids has anxiety and the school has been so wonderful in accommodating my child when needed. Letting him leave class to regroup and sit in an administrators office to calm down. Another has some learning issues and the school has just gone above and beyond having him learn in small groups and being concerned that his self esteem doesn't suffer. My other son is really connecting to his Rabbi's this year, they are smart and engaging and want the kids to be connected spiritually as well.

Anyways I know I am making sacrifices to make this move.

I just want to know am I in for a really huge shock?? Will anyone care about my kids panic attacks? Will anyone be able to help my younger son who has some learning issues?? Will there be anyone my son can connect to at school?

I'm just freaking out right now and hoping someone can give me some perspective ..

Thanks!
Signed an irrational panicked mom Smile

Anxiety disorder is one of the things the ministry of education will give extra help for free of charge. My son has an anxiety disorder and gets two hours a day one on one time with a private teacher in the building working on math and reading( he's not in a public school, he's in a private religious school). The school also worked with us to make sure he can leave class when he needs to and has a safe place to go. That being said, if my son was thriving and in a warm supportive environment in the states I would wait until he finished school to leave. I know thats probably not what you want to hear, but taking a kid who already has panic attacks and putting him in a foreign school system that isnt known for its mushy gushy loving attitude may take a serious toll on his emotional health.
edited to add: my sons psychiatrist who works in both Efrat and NJ said my sons situation is rare and most schools are unfortunately not as accommodating of learning disability's and anxiety as his school is. The best would be to do ample research before choosing a shcool!
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 6:51 am
You might want to contact Modi'in Behavioral, a local therapy group with Anglos on staff. They'll probably be able to advise on schools and more.

https://www.modiinbehavioral.com/

(Note: this link doesn't benefit me or mine personally in any way, it's a contact I happen to know, and I'm trying to be helpful.)
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amother




OP
 

Post  Fri, Sep 18 2020, 7:29 am
Ok wow so much good information here thank you all for you help!!

Shana tova!!
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