The streets may not be paved with gold in DC, but my hometownÂ elementary schoolÂ will helpÂ the kids pave their own way.Â We came for a visit, but decided to stay.
Now Karen is speaking English and Matan is close behind. When I would compare the children’s Israeli schools to the ones I grew up with, Israelis would tell me, “but that was a long time ago, I’m sure there too the schools are struggling”.
Sure, all schools systems struggle with budgetary challenges, but when children come home excited by what they’ve learned, and look forward to Monday when they go back to school, something isÂ good is happening.
I can easily see the differences between the physical learning environment, but there is much more to being able to learn than simply a well designed building with bigger classrooms,Â Â enough space and significantly smaller classes. Here, the focus seems to be much more on understanding the big picture, being able to read and analyze texts early on. But more than that, the educational culture is different. Learning in the US schools appears to be more experiential. The fact that there are only 22 children in a class rather than 35-40 also makes a significant difference on all children’s ability to remain focused.
Most importantly, here they will learn to speak, read and write English at mother tongue level. Maybe it’s just selfish of me, but I so want to share books and things I’ve read with Karen. Soon she’ll have adequate English to begin reading the books I so enjoyed at her age. For Matan, just being able to read and write English will help him get a decent job.