Early childhood education in Israel refers to a wide variety of teaching environments – ranging from home-based child care arrangements to large municipal kindergartens.

There are many employment opportunities in Israel for qualified preschool/kindergarten teachers and child caregivers. Options include:

  • Maon, or public daycare center (ages 0-3)
  • Mishpachton, or private/home-based daycare center (for ages 0-3)
  • Private Gan (for ages 1-3)
  • Municipal Gan (for ages 3-6)
  • Tzaharon, or afternoon daycare center

Note about Israeli Ganim: In most Israeli communities, children from the age of 3 attend municipal Gan. The government subsidy covers municipal Gan from age 3, offering very low tuition for these age groups. Because of this, there is less demand for private Ganim, though some Olim still prefer to send their children to a smaller group or English-speaking settings. See this for a more thorough description of the municipal Gan system in Israel.

Note about language: Unless you are working in a private, English-speaking setting, some basic Hebrew will be necessary to work in a Gan so you can communicate with the staff and children. 

Maon Yeladim (Daycare Center)

These daycare services for children from 3 months to 3 years old are operated by non-profit organizations under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare. While the Maon manager is required to have an MA in Early Childhood, the “sa’yaot” or helpers are not required by law to have any formal training past high school. If you are interested in working as a saya’at in a Maon and have taken a childcare course abroad, you should present your course diploma (which they may ask you to translate) to increase your chances of getting the job. All Maon workers are required to take a first-aid course in Israel and speak some basic Hebrew.


The term Mishpachton, from the word Mishpacha, or family, refers to a smaller, more intimate day care arrangement. A Mishpachton is usually geared towards children under the age of 2. In most cases, it includes a group of 4 to 6 babies or toddlers cared for by a single Metapelet, or caregiver. A Mishpachton is not expected to have the same educational content and rigid structure as a Gan. There are varying the requirements regarding child:adult ratio and physical space required to open a Mishpachton.

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening a day care center in a private home or apartment building. Some cities require the day care providers to apply for a license and to make an official public request to open a day care center. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.

Private Gan

Many Olim who have experience as preschool teachers frequently opt to work in a private Gan in Israel. Typically, private Gan is open to children between the ages of 1 and 3. Some Ganim are designed for children in a wide range of ages, but most Ganim limit enrollment to a more specific age group. Private Ganim can be home-based or can be located on rented premises. Typically, an Israeli Gan will have a group of 10 to 20 children, cared for by 2 to 3 Gananot (depending on group size).

One of the advantages of a private Gan is that you can decide what language is spoken. While most Ganim are conducted in Hebrew, in communities with large English-speaking populations, there is a demand for English or bilingual options. If you’re exploring different communities in Israel, research the cost of Gan in each city or neighborhood. There is a tremendous range, which directly impacts the profitability of running a Gan. Each community has its own expectations of what cost is reasonable.

If you’re running your own Gan or you are a partner in a Gan, salaries in private Ganim tend to be higher than the salaries in municipal Ganim. However, when calculating your salary, keep in mind that you will encounter extra expenses. For example, self-employed Gananot can usually expect to pay substitute teachers for sick days, as well as to put aside money each month for pensions and insurance. If you are running a Gan in your own home, you will have the additional costs of electricity, heating, toys and other supplies for the children. In addition, many Ganim provide children with hot lunches, which is also a significant expense. If you are working as an assistant in a Gan, salaries in private Ganim usually include fewer benefits, and do not necessarily involve higher salaries.

If you’re looking for work in a private Gan, join your new Israeli community’s email list well in advance of your Aliyah. Ganim are frequently advertised by email. You can contact each Gan that advertises, to find out if there are any openings for the upcoming school year.

If you’re planning on opening your own Gan, speak to other Gananot well in advance of your Aliyah, to clarify parents’ expectations. Israeli Gan differs from its overseas equivalent and you will want to make sure that your program meets local norms in terms of educational content, daily schedule, and extra activities such as Chanukah parties and parent-teacher meetings. Use local email lists to publicize your Gan and connect with local parents to find out what options already exist and check if there is demand for a new Gan in the area. When you are planning the year’s schedule, keep in mind that many Ganim offer a “summer camp” option for the month of July.

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening up a day care center in a private home or apartment building. Some cities require the day care providers to apply for a license and to make an official public request to open a day care center. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.

Municipal Gan

By law, municipal Gan can have classes of up to 35 children. Since most North American preschool teachers have never worked with such a large group, this fact alone can make municipal Gan particularly challenging. In addition, in order to work in a municipal Gan, you must have an excellent command of Hebrew. Familiarity with popular children’s songs, stories, etc., is also important.

However, if you are up to the challenges of a municipal Gan, there are several significant advantages. For a new Oleh or Olah, working in Hebrew in an Israeli environment is the best way to gain an understanding of Israeli cultural and educational norms. And while municipal salaries tend to be lower than private Gan salaries, they are paid over a 12-month period – whereas private Gan usually does not pay a salary in the months of July and August. In addition to receiving a salary, if you are in the government system you will receive benefits such as free training courses, a paid pension, sick days and a paid sabbatical every 7 years.

If you are considering working in a municipal Gan, it is best to start out during the first year as a Machlifah, or rotating teacher. A Machlifah teaches in a different Gan, each day of the week. Usually, a Machlifah has a defined curriculum, such as teaching the children about plants or animals. As a Machlifah, you do not have ultimate responsibility for the Gan, and your task is both better defined and more limited.


In order to be the Head Ganenet in a municipal Gan, you must have a B.Ed in Early Childhood Education. If you studied abroad, your degree must be recognized by Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education). See Degree Recognition. Once your degree has been recognized, be in touch with Misrad Hachinuch’s preschool supervisor, or Mefakahat al Ganei Yeladim, in your community:

  • Communities in the Central Area: including Rishon L’Tsiyon, Modiin, Rehovot, Nes Tziona, Gedera, Netanya, Kfar Yona, Kfar Saba, Raanana, Hod Hasharon and others. Phone: 03 689 6586. Address: Rechov HaShlosha 2, 14th floor. Reception Hours: Tuesdays between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm.
  • Communities in the Jerusalem Area: Phone: 02 560 2222. Address: Kanfei Nesharim 22, Givat Shaul. Reception Hours: Mondays between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
  • Tel Aviv: Phone: 03 689 6322, Address: Rechov HaShlosha 2, 9th floor. Reception Hours: Mondays between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
  • Jerusalem: Phone: 02 560 2222 and request the Mefakahat for Ganei Yeladim. Note: To work as a substitute teacher (not a Gannenet), contact the Jerusalem Municipality by phone at 02 629 7926.
  • Northern Area: Phone: 04 650 0111. Reception Hours: Mondays from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm.
  • Haifa: Phone: 04 863 2666. Reception Hours on Tuesdays.
  • Southern Area: Phone: 08 626 3333. Address: Rechov Hatikva 4 Kiryat HaMemshala, Beer Sheva. Reception Hours: Sunday through Tuesday; must be arranged by phone ahead of time.

For additional information, contact Machleket Kdam Yesodi (Preschool Division) in Misrad Hachinuch at: 073-3936501

In order to work as a “saya’at” or helper in a municipal gan, no formal education is required but having experience and/or certification in childcare from abroad in addition to some spoken Hebrew can help you get the job.


For better or for worse, the Israeli public-school system has a fairly short school day. While the situation varies from city to city throughout Israel, in some communities, the preschool program ends at 1:20 pm, an hour when many parents are still at work.

The Tzaharon system is designed to cover the hours from the time that Gan closes, to the time when parents return from work. Tzaharon can be a home-based, informal group, or it can be a full-scale after school program. Some Gananot run a Tzaharon in coordination with a morning program, giving parents the option of picking up their children either at lunchtime or later in the day. Alternatively, some Tzaharon programs coordinate picking up children from different Ganim and bringing them to a different location for the afternoon hours. Tzaharon programs usually offer a hot lunch. The program typically ends at 4 pm, though some end at 5 pm (or later).

Each city in Israel has different regulations for opening up a Tzaharon in a private home or apartment building. At the very least you will need to secure third-party insurance and set yourself up as a small business so that you are able to issue receipts for payment received. Contact your local municipality to clarify.


What is your current position?
I run a private, English-speaking Gan in Har Nof.

How did you find your job?
I was a preschool teacher in America, and I wanted to continue here in Israel. I did not want to work in a big Gan in a school, so I opened my own.

What experience do you need to get into your field?
Because private Ganim are not overseen by Misrad Hachinuch, anyone can really open one. It is up to parents to decide whether they trust the Ganenet and if they feel comfortable leaving their child with her. It helps to have a degree in early childhood education as well as experience working with children of that age.

What are the benefits of working in a private Gan?
Many private Ganim are run out of the Ganenet’s home, and it’s nice to work in your own home. There is no travel time, and you are always around if you need to be. The only disadvantage is that your house always has to be ready.

What are the upcoming areas of specialization that you would recommend?
A Ganenet needs to be especially sensitive to different family situations, including single-parent homes and families going through economic hardships.

What recommendations can you offer Olim looking to work in this field?
Research a neighborhood before you move there. You want to make sure that it is a young community that has a need for a Gan.

Special thanks to Deborah Broder for her professional contributions to this article.

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