This article is an approximate translation of an article that appeared on the website of the Israeli Department of Education (found here).

There are many informal education opportunities for kids in Israel. Olim kids can really benefit from these activities for it offers them an informal, non-academic environment to make friends and improve their Hebrew.

From the community center to the local sports club, schools, and private classes – how do you choose the appropriate activity (חוגים) for children and what should be considered?

Sports or art? Chess or horseback riding? Drama or violin? Many parents are not sure what is compatible for their child and how it will help his/her development.

There is no doubt that these activities can be a wonderful thing for children. Participation in activities exposes children to areas of interest outside of school. In addition, it is an opportunity to meet other children outside the social circle in school and to develop a new world of experiences. And of course – to reduce the amount of time that they are in front of a computer or television.

The process of selecting the activity or activities is also an opportunity for a dialogue and for quality time for children and parents. Here are some tips that will guide you in choosing the right activities for them:

Let your children choose the activity

Have you always wanted to be a football player? Always wanted to play the violin? Those are your dreams. Let children follow their own interests.

Don’t choose the coolest activity just because it is cool

In a popular TV show do the kids go surfing? Do your kids also want to surf like the heroes in the TV show? It is very possible that within three months, there will be another popular program and their original interest will completely evaporate. An activity should be chosen according to real, more lasting interests and not according to a popular TV show.

Consult with the teacher

The teacher knows your child well; he/she knows how they cooperate with others, if they are competitive, etc.

There is no need to schedule activities every afternoon

Activities that take place from 1-3 times a week is quite enough. Children also need free time, time off, and time to meet friends. Do not run them into the ground in the name of enrichment.

Make sure to get a trial lesson

Almost every class allows one or two trial lessons. You should choose 2-3 activities with your child and go with him/her to try them out. After you have tried them out, you can figure out together which one/s will work best.

Check out who runs the activities and the location

Is this a 16-year-old teenager who wants to earn a little money in the afternoon? Is this a professional? What is his/her qualification? Are the physical conditions safe?

What is the size of the group?

It is recommended that you check out how many children are in the activity and the number of teachers/counselors.

Price and payment

Compare the prices of activities in your area before you register your child. Do not pay in advance for each activity and clarify the terms of payment and exit points. Find out if there are discounts for residents, municipal employees, etc… you might be entitled to a discount.

Transportation to the activity

Is the child supposed to get to the activity alone? If so, is it easy to get to the activity?

Making friends at the activity

Sign your child for an activity in which you know he/she will have a friend. That will increase the chances that he/she goes to the activity and it will also strengthen their relationship. In general, these activities are a great opportunity for your child to make new friends, improve his/her social status and his/her confidence.

Special Programs

The Israeli government runs a program that is aimed to help single parents allow their children to enjoy the afternoon activities. The program is designed for parents of children up to age 11, or those who have not yet completed the sixth grade – the program includes babysitting, tutoring, mentoring, classes, and more…

For whom is the program designed?

The program is designed for single parents who during the past two months at the most before the filing of the application started a new job consisting at least 22 hours a week or increased their job by 10 hours per week – 30 hours per week at least. And received Social Security benefits (completion / income support or / and food fees ) at least two consecutive months out of the last 12 months before the date of application; Alternatively, recipients of benefits for single parents who attend vocational training courses.

Length of the program

For participants in training courses – up to 4 months. Participants in preparatory courses for guidance + course – up to 5 months, for employees – up to 12 months.

For further information, see: kolzchut

Please contact by telephone – 1700-70-25-35 or by email- [email protected] or by fax – 08-6776030

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