Israeli children living in southern Israel near Gaza went back to school Monday after a summer spent in bomb shelters during Operation Protective Edge.
“We are a little scared but we are excited,” Ronit Bart, a resident of Kibbutz Saad and an English teacher in its school, told the Associated Press. “A lot of children in our area really need to go back to a routine.”
It felt a “little bit weird” to return to school, said her 11-year-old daughter, Shani Bart. “There were some difficult times and we didn’t leave our houses at all,” she said.
The school year also began across the country in Israel. About 2.1 million students in total returned to school, as well as 165,000 teachers and instructors. About 5,000 policemen are volunteering to secure schools around the country Monday.
As a part of this year’s curriculum, teachers are planning to implement a program titled “Other is Me,” which includes educational activities about racism, incitement and freedom of speech adapted for different age groups.
“On behalf of all the government ministers, I want to wish the best of luck to all the children — but firstly the children entering the first grade — hi there, first graders — may you, may all the children have a good, successful and safe school year,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement, reported Israel Hayom.