Maintain contact with the school through both the homeroom teacher and the teachers of individual subjects. Teachers have scheduled reception hours during which they are available to discuss problems with parents. In addition, the principal or assistant are usually open to listen to parents.
Familiarize yourself with the various privileges provided for olim students. Make sure your child has all the school supplies, books, notebooks, briefcases and uniforms requested by the school. Very often schools do not give exact information on what should be brought by the pupils. Make sure you ask your neighbors with experience in your neighborhood school. Ensure that you and your child follow all procedures requested by the school authorities.
In the eyes of most teachers and principals in Israel, attitude is at least as important as achievement where new immigrants are concerned. In general, teachers will be helpful and patient as long as they feel that the child and his parents are making an effort.
Be prepared to give extra support to your children. Once finished with the process of registration,what should your child be prepared for when he or she enters the classroom? In most cases, a child, not understanding what is being said, will feel cut off or alienated. Suddenly, after being a good, excellent or just passing student, the rules of the game have changed.
What is needed is a lot of encouragement and reassurance. One day your child will wake up to discover that he or she understands and can communicate. Yet, in the meantime an obvious effort must be made to encourage the child to do some of the work, study with a dictionary, ask questions and participate in class. Most difficulties arise when the child is too embarrassed to ask or too ashamed of poor Hebrew to speak, resulting in he or she being branded as not trying - an only too human response both on the part of the other students and on the part of the teacher.
Don’t depend on the school for Hebrew instruction. It is wise for a parent to take a private tutor, a good licensed teacher, to drill the student in more complex Hebrew, assist with homework and build language skills. A student is judged by language skills because most exams are in essay form, whatever the subject. A tutor can also teach your child the rules of the game - how to keep notebooks, what is expected socially, etc.
Successful school integration depends largely on the student himself and his readiness to participate in school and outside activities (youth clubs, sports organizations, scouts), in the social life of his new classmates, and on his motivation, but let him set his own pace.
Volunteer. In regard to the parent as a volunteer, it depends upon the openness and attitude of the principal and teachers to suggestions and volunteer endeavors. But in most elementary schools, parents take an active part in school life: serving on committees, accompanying the class on trips, and providing enrichment programs and materials for the school.
Deborah Milgram and AACI