Pesach, Chanuka School Vacation ‘Day Camp’ Programs to Save Parents Hundreds of Shekels

Israeli kids wearing school bags. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Parents who are at their wits’ end trying to figure out how to keep their children entertained during vacations got a little help from the state Monday, as Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced a new plan for vacation days from schools. The plan, which will go into effect beginning with the upcoming Pesach vacation, will see ten days lopped off vacation time for many students. According to Hadashot News, the move will save the average family with two children in the grades covered – including tens of thousands of young families –  NIS 1,000 in entertainment, camp, and other costs related to vacations.

Pesach vacation, which usually begins a week before the chag, will instead see children in Pre-1A classes up to third grade attending school nearly up to erev Chag – except that they will not be in class, but will participate in “day camp” style activities, trips, group events and other activities. The activities will be free for many children, depending on family income and area of residence, with a sliding scale of fees for others going up to no more than NIS 30 per child per day – far cheaper than taking the kids out for pizza, or some other “day off” activity. A similar program will be enacted during Chanukah vacation, which due to previous reforms had already been cut down to five days. Parents who choose to will be able to send their children to the programs throughout Chanukah.

With that, the program will only affect children up to third grade – and only run until 1:00 in the afternoon. Perhaps that is because it is costing the state NIS 400 million. With that, Bennett stressed that the program was a test that could, and perhaps would, be expanded in the future. “We are talking about a million children who will be affected this Pesach. Parents can continue to work or clean their houses without having to worry now,” the minister said. “Parents will no longer have to choose between caring for their children and earning an income. This isn’t just a reform, it is doing right by the community.”