The Big Felafel


Guide to Childcare in Israel and 15 questions every parent should ask


If there is one thing harder than birth, we would say it is trying to register your child for day care. Unlike the birthing process, there’s no Lamaze class to teach you breathing techniques as you try to register your child for day care in Israel.

But lucky for our readers, you can learn through our mistakes and questions as we  navigate the childcare system in Israel. And let us say right off the bat, that we encourage and beg you to add info in the comments section in order to help the new parent community.

It is barely spring, but according to Israel you need to secure a place for your child for the fall. You must sign up before spaces fill up, and that means that even if you don’t know what part of town, or even what part of the country you are living in, well that’s too bad.

Check out our guide below that explains the different types of daycare options in Israel.

Public/Government Run Childcare:

Maon (Daycare)

Definition: This is large-scale daycare run by various organizations (usually women’s organizations).  The government supervises and dictates policy.  You must register for these and be accepted (registration starts April 27, 2011). Full-time working mothers have top priority.

Groups:

  • 3-15 months: 1 adult for every 6 children, maximum 15 in a group.
  • 15 months – 2 years: 1:9 ratio,  maximum 23 in a group
  • 2-3 years: 1:11 ratio, maximum 27 in a group

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 7:00am-4:00pm (though some go as late as 5:00pm)
  • Friday: 7:00 am-1:00pm
  • Holidays:  Government policy: three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: NIS1550- NIS 2050, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings

What is included: Food (and sometimes sheets)

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, (sheet for the bed)

Maons in Jerusalem:

Mishpachton (pre-nursery in someone’s home)

Definition: This is daycare that is run out of a private home.  The government supervises and dictates policy.  There can be a maximum of 5 children (without getting special permission for more)  and  no more than 2 children under the age of one.  If there are more children an additional caregiver must be present.

Hours and Holidays:

  • 6 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:00pm, Fri: 7:00am-12:00pm
  • 5 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:30pm or 7:30am-5:00pm (although some places are only until 4:00pm)
  • Holidays: They must abide by the government set holiday schedule.  This includes taking off three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: More or less the same price as a Maon, approximately NIS 1550, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings.

What is included: Food

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, sheet for the bed

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