Subject: Early Childhood Education Academic director: Giladi Ayelet, Dr Funding: Ministry of Education – Preschool Education Department, Education and Social Services Division, and Project Renewal Department; Ministry of Social Affairs; Ministry of Defense; local municipalities; JDC-Israel-PACT (Parents and Children Together), Research Institute for Innovation in Education; public and private foundations; parent fees.
“From Birth to University”, the new framework for the Institute’s home and group guidance programs for parents and their children up to age 7, has the following goals: (1) reducing educational and social gaps among vulnerable population sectors at educational risk; (2) reinforcing parents’ involvement in their children’s education; and (3) integrating parents into the community.
Program implementation is based on the following principles: (1) Using the programs’ learning materials, parents work with their children at home and in group workshops as active partners who initiate, suggest, and choose. (2) Parents are coached in a way that is tailored to each family’s specific needs and cultural background. (3) The focus is on the reinforcement of parent-child interaction, development of emotional and social readiness, and knowledge-expanding activities supporting children’s cognitive development and school readiness.
The programs are the fruit of research and development, and are updated on the basis of formative evaluation accompanying them from their inception. The coaching materials are updated from time to time in light of needs in the field and adapted to reflect leading approaches in the field of early childhood education in Israel’s multicultural society and others around the world.
The programs, operated by professional and paraprofessional staff and overseen by public steering committees, are implemented in cooperation with community entities, such as: representatives of local authorities, Education Ministry inspectors, education and community workers, family health clinics, social services departments, the Psychological Counseling Service, community centers, WIZO, and Early Childhood Centers.
Program participants in Israel include native-born Jewish and Arab families, immigrant and ultra- Orthodox communities, and so forth.
The academic director of early childhood programs and her staff have completed the development of “Ladders”, geared to families with young children.
In the years 2013-2015 two courses for the enrichment of women were initiated—the first for the Haredi sector and the second for the Bedouin sector. To date three cycles were completed and registration is underway for the fourth cycle.