Heather Cohnen - B.A., M.S., Didactic Math Tutor
Top 10 Back To School Tips
Aliya / Olim / Israel
You know it is time for school when you smell the lovely aroma of
number 2 pencils being freshly sharpened or when you hear your child
exclaim, "I'm like…so excited to see my friends, but do
I…like…seriously need to learn another year?"
Top 10 tips to transition from summer to school mode
Goodbye to Summer
Commemorate the end of summer with an extra special family activity.
Prepare school supplies with your child, e.g., backpacks, homework
space, closets, immunizations, and school forms..
Create a permanent shoe place.
Get a 5 section hanging organizer for your child to pick out and store
5 school outfits for each week day. The first day outfit is always
exciting for a child to prepare ahead of time. (even if it is a
Routine, Routine, Routine
The families internal clock will now need to transition to a school
schedule. Try not to wait till last minute to institute routines for
morning and evening.
The most popular activity on the first day of school is for each child
to summarize their summer vacation to the class. Let your child be one
step ahead by asking them about their favorite summer activities and
looking over summer photos and journal entries.
Create a weekly lunch menu with your child. Don't forget the 10 a.m.
meal. Most children bring a sandwich to eat and a washcloth to place
Limit the anxiety by visiting the school in advance. Knowing the
direct path to the classroom is a great comfort. Calm your own
jitters by knowing there are specialist to help you if any issues
arise. I highly recommend Marci Tirshwell for educational
consultation and Bashi Schwartz for evaluations.
Their role is to navigate and advocate for your child. Culturally it
is a different educational formality with teachers in Israel. They
want you to call them. ( Yes... on their private cell phones). For
instance, during my family’s first year living in Israel, the first
grade homeroom teacher ,Shoshi, actually came to my home to welcome my
son. This was a very memorable experience and he still talks about it.
The homeroom teachers are not just the educational coordinators but
the social dynamic coordinator of the classroom. If you child needs
extra translation or help during the day, they can set your child up
with help from other teachers and with a classroom buddy. (Make an
extra effort to appreciate this buddy. It is very hard for even a
fluent Hebrew speaking advanced student to take time during a lesson
that they want to excel in, to constantly help another student). The
homeroom teacher is also the person your child should feel comfortable
confiding in, feeling free to voice any concerns or questions.
English / Hebrew
Come armed with an English/Hebrew dictionary, plus for any subject
like Tanach, bring in a Hebrew/English version.
Check out English homeschool computer sites to give your child a
foundation. Rather than becoming a learning barrier for your child, a
second language can become a great incentive to the lifelong process
of growing into a person and facing life’s many obstacles head-on.
Unfortunately, the use of graphic visual organizers are not widely
used in Israeli classrooms, and Israeli students are not provided with
access to the many visual and organizational tools available.
The biggest cultural shock of all.... Hafsaka
The entire school enjoys recess all together without directed
activities. It fosters independence, creativity and freedom
and....... Send your child in with activities they enjoy. Playing
cards, soft balls, stickers to trade, jacks, marbles, books,
Yes, you can actually see your child smile when talking about going
back to school with friends at a back-to-school get-together.
Cheers to a great school year!
Helpful school vocabulary that I have hanging in our homework work
area - given to me by our Olim coordinator Alissa a few years ago
Pencil case Kalmar
Pastels Tziv'ei Panda
To circle Lihakeef
To trace Lisartet
To cut Ligzor
To match up Limtoach Kav
To underline Limtoach Kav Mitachat / Lihadgish
To draw Litzayer
To copy Lihatik