Itongadol.- Over a million elementary school students and kindergarten children, as well as 146,000 educators, began their 10-week summer vacation on Sunday as the 2012-2013 school year came to an end.
School´s out! Ministry promotes summer programs
About 900,000 elementary pupils and some 400,000 kindergarteners joined the 700,000 high school students who had started summer break two weeks earlier.
The Education Ministry announced the launch of the Educators Around The Clock program, a collaboration between the ministry, teachers, local authorities and NGOs offering a range of activities to students during the summer.
The activities – which are open and adapted to children from kindergarten to the 12th grade – include sports competitions, youth camps, field trips, shows, gatherings and all-night events.
“Education doesn’t end when the bell rings,” Dalit Stauber, director-general of the ministry, told The Jerusalem Post. “This program is in fact a new expression of the education system’s responsibility over pupils all year long.
“We want the kids to feel that we care about them and that what we teach them in school is also relevant to life outside the classroom,” she added.
Before developing the program, Stauber pointed out, the ministry called on schools to prepare pupils for the break with discussions about topics such as managing their pocket money and how to safely use the Internet.
The ministry asked teachers to continue to communicate with their students at their own discretion and as they see fit during the vacation. Kindergarten educators were encouraged to send postcards to their pupils during the summer.
The activities and initiatives emerging from the Educators Around The Clock program are aimed at “making sure kids are busy and that summer will be [a] pleasant experience,” she said.
With their final report cards for this year, students received coupons that included museum passes and show tickets.
Stauber stressed that as part of the program, volunteers from the ministry and NGOs will travel with teenagers on buses to Eilat, to “talk to them about how to maximize their experiences on the trip and avoid getting into risky situations.”
Gatherings will also be organized between Arab and Jewish students as well as between secular and haredi children.
On Sunday evening, Education Minister Shai Piron attended the first of these meetings between Arab and Jewish students in Abu Ghosh, west of the capital.
A statement by the psychological services department of the ministry, which will provide services to parents and children throughout the summer, reads, “Summer vacation is the time for our children to grow, develop, take a break from institutional learning and allow themselves to engage in more intuitive and spontaneous learning.”