Claudiaexpat wrote this article when she was living in Palestine and did an extensive research on nurseries, preschools and schools in Jerusalem. If you have additional information or know of something that has changed, please let us know.
Finding right schools in Jerusalem for your child can be complicated. There is certainly no lack of choice, but what makes it difficult is the number of uncommon languages, among which Hebrew and Arabic, that can be challenging for a Western child, and that are usually not spoken at home – few European parents learn Hebrew or Arabic, so children will have to cope without being able to practice at home.
Western parents sometime hesitate to expose their children to two difficult languages. In the case of Hebrew this feeling is made stronger by the fact that this language is only spoken in Israel. Some schools use European languages, but many good preschools only use Arabic or Hebrew (or both).
Another problem, affecting young children, is the preschools’ schedule: the majority of them close at 3 p.m. at the latest. Some keep children until 4 p.m., but the last hour is simply “daycare”, a supervision system for a small number of children, and the service costs extra. When both parents work, it can be a problem to organise the remaining part of the afternoon for children who leave school at 3. The “nanny” situation is not straightforward in Jerusalem – it is hard to find the right person, rates are high, and since traffic is heavy, it is advisable to find someone with a car, or living in your neighborhood or the school’s.
All these elements form a scenario which resembles a complicated jigsaw puzzle. This article aims to help you sort out all the pieces and reassure you: even if the situation is not simple, you will always find a solution.
Below is a list of nurseries, preschools and schools in Jerusalem, with some comments to help you choose. My sincere thanks to Tatiana for structuring the information we collected during our careful visits to the schools. Of course, as always, should you have additional and useful information to add, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Creches and Preschools
SUNSHINE SCHOOL – Beit Hanina
Tel. 02 5833825
From 2 to 6 years
A crèche/preschool founded by Marion Jadon, a British lady married to a Palestinian. The environment is extremely cosy and welcoming. There are children of many different nationalities (during our visit we met Spanish, Dutch, US, Palestinian, British and Jordanian children). The building that hosts the school is somewhat run down, but the classrooms are full of displays of the children’s work: there is a nice creative atmosphere. It is a moderate Christian school. Twice a week children dance and play music, do art, and play with words. Lunch must be brought from home.
Time: Mon to Thu, 8:00 – 13:00 (they might add a day care, check with them)
Summer holidays: mid June to beginning of September
Monthly rate: (ten months to be paid in advance) 2.200 Nis (429 euros) + 2.200 Nis admission. To contact Marion: firstname.lastname@example.org or 050 7898391
ROSARY SISTERS’ CATHOLIC NURSERY – Beit Hanina
Tel. 02 5832067
From 2 to 5 years
This is another preschool recommended by the expat community, but they only use Arabic.
EMEK REFAIM GAN – German Colony
Tel. 02 5610773
From 2 years
This is a private nursery founded by Rivka Schnall, an Israeli woman who made space in her cosy home in the German Colony. Rivka always speaks English with the children (she speaks English well, albeit with a strong Israeli accent) and proposes a different activity every day. The small group of children are of various nationalities. There is a little garden where children can play on sunny days. Lunch must be brought from home.
Sun: 8:30 – 13:00
Mon: 8:00 – 15:30
Tue: 8:00 – 15:30
Wed: 8:30 – 15:30
Thu: 8:30 – 13:00
Summer holidays: August
Monthly rate: 1.700 Nis (331 euros) + 700 Nis (136 euros) admission
To contact Rivka: email@example.com or 050 5763938
YANKUTA – 33, Jabotinski street (Talbieh)
Tel. 02 5633073
Website (in Hebrew): https://www.yankuta.co.il/
From 8 months
This is a warm and well-organised nursery, but Israeli oriented – all Jewish celebrations are strictly observed, and you can sense a slight uneasiness when something linked to the Palestinian world is brought up.
Language: English and Hebrew
Time: Sun to Thu, 7:30 – 16:00, Fri 7:30 to noon, closed on Saturdays
Summer holidays: August
Monthly rate: 3.200 Nis (624 euros) for children from 8 to 16 months and 2.600 Nis (507 euros) from 3 to 4 years
SISTERS OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL – Beside the Mamila Shopping Mall
From 18 months
This nursery-preschool is organised by French nuns (but also Spanish, Italian and others) to help poor families. Most children are Palestinians and the language used is Arabic. It is informal. Rates are discussed directly with the Mother Superior, and are much lower than the average of preschools in this list. Children can attend from 7:30 and you can agree on the time that best suits you to collect them in the afternoon; the nuns are flexible and understanding of families needs. I don’t have the telephone number, but I can tell you how to get there if you contact me. It’s beside the Mamila Shopping Centre.
AL-MAHAB KINDERGARTEN – Augusta Victoria Hospital, Mount of Olives
Tel. 02 6281010
Website: https://www.elcjhl.org/ (the kindergarten does not have a website, this is the one of the Lutheran Church that hosts it)
From 18 months to 3 years
This is a lovely preschool, within the area that hosts the Augusta Victoria Hospital and the Lutheran church. It is a safe and bright place (with a breathtaking view), and right beside it there is a cafeteria where mothers meet before collecting their children, and let toddlers play. It might seem rather disorganised, but what might be lacking in the activities is counterbalanced by the teachers’ sweet personalities and by the loving atmosphere that surrounds the children. Improvements to both the structure and the school programme are underway. Children bring lunch from home.
Language: Arabic, but the staff speak English and German
Time: Mon to Fri from 7:30 to 13:00 (max 14:00).
Summer holidays: beginning of June to the end of August
Monthly rate: about 1.100 NIS (215 euros) per month, but please check
To talk with the director: Margaret Younan, 05 46 44 08 59
KIDS’ PLANET – in Shuafat
Tel. 02 5409208 – 0526069632
This is a recently opened preschool: we don’t know much about it but we have received good reports about it. It could be useful for those who live in Shuafat.
Preschools/Schools in Jerusalem
YMCA – King David Street
Tel. 02 5692695
Website: https://www.jerusalemymca.org/ (this is the website of ALL the YMCA, including its hotel, restaurant, etc. but it also has some info about the school)
From 3 years
In the evocative YMCA building in West Jerusalem, this preschool is well known for its politics of peace and integration. Programmes are in both Arabic and Hebrew and the staff is mixed. Reports from parents who have used this preschool are invariably positive, but you must be aware that the only languages used are Arabic and Hebrew. The space is well organised, activities are varied and lively, and the school uses the YMCA gym swimming pool. Maximum 15-16 children per class. The school provides lunch.
Language: Hebrew and Arabic
Time: Sun to Thu 7:30 – 13:00 or 16:00 in case you take day care; Fri 7:30 – 12:30
Summer holidays: August
Monthly rate: 1.565 NIS (305 euros) + 750 NIS (146 euros) for day care
SACRED HEART SISTERS PRESCHOOL – Morasha, behind Notre Dame
From 3 years
This is a large preschool managed by the Sacred Heart Sisters. The director speaks perfect Italian. Children and teachers are Palestinian. It is an open environment, with a big outdoor playground in the courtyard. I know some Italians who have been happy with it, but the environment is not the mixed, international one you can find in other preschools. The spoken language is Arabic, but teachers always make an effort to speak some English (and some a bit of Italian). It’s flexible: I know of an Italian mother who spent mornings with her children during school time, and this caused no problem to anyone. Lunch must be brought from home.
Time: Mon to Sat from 7:30 to 12:30 with possibility of day care until 4pm
Monthly tariff: 250 NIS (49 euros) per month, but free donations are also accepted.
IVREA SISTERS – Hariri Street 9, East Jerusalem
Tel. 02 6283551
From 3 to 5 years
This is a small and cosy preschool. There is an Italian nun who assists newcomers. The language is Arabic. Classes are of up to 30 children, with a teacher and an assistant. The majority of children are Palestinian. Lunch must be brought from home.
Time: Mon to Sat from 6:45 to 13:30
Yearly rate: 3.700 NIS (722 euros) + 250 NIS (49 euros) for school material and 80 NIS (16 euros) for the uniform.
ANGLICAN SCHOOL – 82, Rechov Hanevim
Tel. 02 5677200
From 3 to 18 years
This is the school for expatriates par excellence. Based on Christian values, it hosts many different nationalities. It is the only school in Jerusalem that has an IB (International Baccalaureat) programme. It is the most expensive but has good standards, both in the academic curriculum and in activities (during and after school). It is big, modern, well organised, and has a bus service.
Time: depends on the level
Yearly rates: from 40.000 to 62.000 NIS (7.810 euros a 12.105 euros) depending on the level, plus 1.000 NIS (195 euros) of application fee, 10.000 NIS (1.952 euros) admission fee (7.000 NIS or 1.367 euros from the second child) and 1.400 NIS (273 euros) for security expenditures.
ADAM SCHOOL (Steiner School) – Emek Refaim 22, German Colony
Tel. 02 5667404
From 7 years
This is Jerusalem’s Steiner. I don’t know of any expat that has used it. I went to visit it, and the school seems good and well organised. Contact them for their schedule and rates.
JERUSALEM AMERICAN SCHOOL – Beit Hanina
Tel. 02 5818611
From 3 to 18 years
Students are mostly Palestinians, but there are some expats (including Italians); everybody seems happy. The preschool is in a separate building, and not attractive. Preschool classes have between 12 and 16 children, with a teacher and an assistant. The primary and secondary schools are in another building, big and close (walking distance). The school promotes peace and cultural encounters.
Time: it depends on the level, preschool Mon to Thu from 7:45 to 12:30 or to 15:00 with daycare, and Sat from 7:45 to 12:30.
Summer holidays: June, July and August (but school start depends on Ramadan)
Yearly rates: from 6.510 NIS (1.260 euros) of preschool to 12.500 NIS (2.420 euros) of secondary school + admission fee (1.400 NIS or 271 euros for preschool, 2.000 NIS or 387 euros for primary school, 2.300 NIS or 445 euros for secondary school). Day care costs 420 NIS (81 euros) per month.
JAIS JERUSALEM AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – Sderot Shai Agnon 20
Tel. 02 6799611
From 3 to 18 years
A fairly new but fast-growing school. It is located near the German Colony, in a beautiful campus, wide and green, shared with other schools and Israeli institutions. The curriculum and culture are North American; students have lots of activities (like swimming and music twice a week). The environment is warm and positive, some classrooms a bit small, but expansion plans are underway.
Time: Mon to Fri from 7:45 to 15:30 (preschool has d day care that allows you to stay until 16:30) and Fri from 7:45 to 13:30
Summer holidays: end of June to mid August
Yearly rates: from 25.000 NIS (4.840 euros) for preschool to 62.000 NIS (12.000 euros) for secondary school + admission fee (1.500 NIS or 290 euros for the first level of preschool, 4.600 NIS or 890 euros for preschool, 6.100 NIS or 1.181 euros from primary to secondary school). Check the school website for more precise infos on rates.
LYCEE FRANÇAIS DE JERUSALEM – 22, Rue des Prophets (Hanevim)
Tel. 02 5384102
From 3 to 18
This is part of the network of French schools abroad recognised by the French Ministry of Education. It is a lay school (like all schools in the French system). Most students are Palestinian, 25% is made up of other nationalities (French and others). It is a small school (267 students) hosted in a French nuns convent. What lacks in structure (the school is not big) is compensated by the sense of belonging students feel after a while. They all know each other and this creates a good atmosphere. This school is one of the most popular for expatriates (and the most affordable).
Time: 8:00 (7:40 for preschool) – 15:00/15:30 (preschool has a day care, otherwise it normally ends at 1pm) Mon to Thu, 8:00 (7:40 for preschool) 12:30/13:00on Fri
Summer holidays: end of June to beginning of September
Yearly rates: they vary depending on nationality and level, there is a rate for locals, one for French students and one for international students, you can download all the information from the school website.
COLLEGE DES FRERES – New Gate and Beit Hanina
Tel. 02 628 2321 (New Gate); 02 6563118 (Beit Hanina)
From 3 to 18 years
It is a well-known Catholic school. I met a couple of Italian families that sent their children here and have been very happy. It has two seats, one at New Gate (in the heart of Jerusalem), the other in Beit Hanina, the latter is bigger. Mainly Palestinian students. Most of the programme is in Arabic, but English and French are also taught. Ask the school for information about rates, time and holidays.
Claudia Landini (Claudiaexpat)
Last updated: February 2017