Rita Gehl WIZO Day Care Center – Or Akiva

As the only day care center in Or Akiva, this day care center sees high demand and a waiting list. It is structurally different from other daycares in the area, as it has 3 different classrooms, a library room, a jamboree room, and a large area where constructions will soon begin to build a fourth classroom. The day care is a part of the ‘maon ve od’ program, ‘day care and more’, which among other things has introduced the children to a healthier, more nutritious diet, and many varied group activities.

The Rita Gehl Day Care Center is located in the city of Or Akiva, in a neighborhood that is still under construction. The day care is adjacent to the municipal gardens and to the Dagesh Center – an early childhood center. Together they cooperate on several matters of the day care, and a team of professionals from the Dagesh center visits the day care once a week to work with groups of 4 children at a time to identify whether the children are experiencing any difficulties with their development. This is done in preparation for municipal kindergartens, in cooperation with the parents and a student from Bar Ilan University specializing in early childhood education and development. Most parents at the day care center are young couples who moved to the new neighborhoods of Or Akiva from different parts of the country. All the parents work, and they have an average socioeconomic background.

The day care has many projects for the children. As a part of the ‘day care and more’ program, they have movement classes, rhythm and music classes, animal care classes, development classes for infants, and much more. They have a shabbat project where a ‘shabbat suitcase’ is given to 2 children each week as a new “shabbat mother” and “shabbat father” is chosen. In the suitcase they have many shabbat related items, such as candles, a challa, a kipa, and even a notebook for the parents to write and tell how their shabbat have been celebrated at home. All the stories are being shared with the other children each Sunday morning. In addition, there’s a library room and a literature teacher that conducts activities in the library for all the different classes. And a music teacher that has built a music program for the children, where they get to try a new musical instrument each week.