Kindergarten and elementary school pupils across the country celebrate their final day of classes Monday, officially kicking off their summer vacation.
Some 1.4 million pupils, 453,733 kindergarten children, and 948,059 elementary school children, accompanied by 74,725 of their teachers and 16,552 kindergarten teachers, will throw down their backpacks and attend summer camps, or have a chance to relax until classes resume September 1.
The pupils will join the some 680,000 high school students who began their summer vacation last week on June 20th.
“I congratulate the teaching staff and the pupils on the occasion of their summer vacation,” Education Minister Shai Piron said on Sunday. “The holiday is a chance for you to rest, to change daily frameworks, and to utilize the time for the benefit of other activities that are not possible during your everyday routine.”
Piron added that, as part of the ministry’s outlook, it will take responsibility for students also during the summer vacation.
“We will give children and youth a broad educational envelopment, which will include a wide arrange of relaxation and enrichment activities. We will place at the families’ disposal benefits and discounts for visits to museums and cultural institutions,” Piron said.
The Education Ministry also announced on Sunday that some 180,000 pupils had registered for the “School of Summer” program, which aims to provide a low-cost educational alternative to private summer camps.
The program will operate in 42 municipalities throughout the country for children in first and second grades, as well as to some 30,000 children in third and fourth grades living in the periphery.
According to the program, activities for children will be held in state schools from July 1-21, Sunday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each class will hold a total of 28 students, with special education classes holding seven students.
In terms of cost, parents will be asked to pay a minimal fee to enroll their children into the program.
The charges will vary from municipality to municipality and were determined according to a scale developed by the Central Bureau of Statistics, ranking districts across the country into clusters on a scale from one to 10, according to their socioeconomic situation – 10 being the highest.
In municipalities ranked in clusters one to four, the program will be free of charge, while in clusters five to seven parents will be charged NIS 300 per child. For children in clusters eight to 10, the program will cost NIS 450.