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Auslander691 30.06.2011 17:05

Kindergarten
 
We are moving to Zurich in August. My daughter will likely
attend public Kindergarten in the Fluntern district. She is 5 and
knows no German (speaks English fine though). Does anyone
have any experience with this situation?

st2lemans 30.06.2011 17:10

Re: Kindergarten
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Auslander691 (Post 1246600)
We are moving to Zurich in August. My daughter will likely
attend public Kindergarten in the Fluntern district. She is 5 and
knows no German (speaks English fine though). Does anyone
have any experience with this situation?

My daughter didn't speak an Italian when she started kindergarden ("asilo" in this neck of the woods), however she was 3 at the time. She learned it quickly enough, though.

Tom

Mitziem 30.06.2011 17:46

Re: Kindergarten
 
She will do just fine. Our son started Kindergarten at 4.5 with not a word of German, within 6 mnths he was fluent. These days I am lucky if I can get him to answer me in English. He says he has to try, to remember how to say it in English.

BTW, it has only been 2yrs almost.

Heather4 30.06.2011 19:26

Re: Kindergarten
 
Hi
We moved into the village in May. My son (6) started Kindergarten with absolutely no German. He has 2 German lessons a week. He is starting to understand more of the language, and then there is the Swiss German too!
A good term for your daughter to learn would be nein harufe (hope I spelt it correctly) which means "no get off/stop" that has come in useful for the more boisterous kids. Also I would say done be afraid to go in and ask questions for example one week on fridays he has sport and another week they bring in toys. I didnt know about this and I wasnt told.
Also dont feel under pressure to stop walking your daughter to kindergarten. I am still working my son nearly all the way.
If you want to ask me any questions feel free to PM
Heather

RTN 30.06.2011 20:52

Re: Kindergarten
 
My son 4.5yrs had the visit to Kindergarten (public) today for the first time, in his group (Grundstube not Kindski) everything is done in high German not Swissdeutsch, so while he is quite fluent in Swissdeutsch it is also a learning curve for him and his mates. To be more clear (public) kindergarten (depending on the community you settle in) is not just kindergarten, there are two different types Grunstube which is more structured like school (reading, writing, numbers) with everthing taught in high German and Kindski is more a playgroup to teach kids social skills so when they start school (7yrs) they are ready for it and it all balances out. So I would aim for Grunstube as all the kids there face some language learning difficulies at the start, so your daughter won't be alone and if your daughter talks to you in high German it will help your German learning as well. I have a bit of high German knowledge but when my son really goes into Swissdeutsch (normally after a childcare day)I can seldom understand him. She will be fine.

Heather4 30.06.2011 21:40

Re: Kindergarten
 
That is interesting about the different kinds of kindy. We didnt get a choice. When we registered the school allocated a kindergarten for the children and that was that.
Also I understand that in Kanton Zurich there was a vote recently the result of which is that in August Swiss German only will be spoken. I think tho that extra German classes will still be provided.

Scarsdale 30.06.2011 21:50

Re: Kindergarten
 
Every child learns and adapts differently. It will help if you speak German yourself, or have a positive attitude and work hard to learn it. It will also help if your child's friends speak German. My 4 year old American daughter started her schooling in Vaud canton last fall alongside a little German girl. Now that the year is up they can finally speak to one another - in French!

loobie 30.06.2011 22:20

Re: Kindergarten
 
I looked after a 4 year old in the south of france, and she spoke no french, but attended a french kindergarten/school and she did fine. Yes, ok the teachers sometimes had to go out of their way to help her understand, but she picked it up quickly enough. she will learn the language don't worry....children are built for language learning.....it just unfortunatley disappears as we get older! :(

stephanienie 01.07.2011 08:14

Re: Kindergarten
 
Hello, dont worry about it. My daughter was 5 when she started local kindergarten in February, with no knowledge of german. But she can already read and write in english, the only child in school who can. In August they already let her join the normal primarschule (1st grade). If a foreign child has trouble adjusting, they let her join another class and would be delayed by 1 year. But they dont seem to make a big deal out of it i think.

However, they will insist that you stick to your mother tongue at home. Which i, and every mother should do.

Claire6966 01.07.2011 08:29

Re: Kindergarten
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Auslander691 (Post 1246600)
We are moving to Zurich in August. My daughter will likely
attend public Kindergarten in the Fluntern district. She is 5 and
knows no German (speaks English fine though). Does anyone
have any experience with this situation?

Hi

We moved to Oberwil in January and my 6 year old joined one of the local Kindergartens speaking absolutely no German whatsoever. Six months down the line she still doesn't verbalise much in German BUT according to her Kindie teacher she is now understanding roughly 70% of what is said in class - so much so that her teacher has stopped automatically translating instructions into English for her. Obviously if it becomes apparent that she doesn't understand then the translation is there but in the last couple of weeks that has happened only once! Although having said that she doesn't verbalise much she did, totally subconsciously, ask me a question in German the other day - so I am sure that when she begins school in August and receives her additional DaZ (German as a 2nd Language) tuition her speach will come along in leaps and bounds.

Hope this helps allay some of your worries - feel free to PM me if you want to discuss any further.

Moscat 01.07.2011 09:58

Re: Kindergarten
 
Hi,
Our daughter has been in the local kindergarten for a year now and didn't speak a work of German when she started. I can't deny that the first few months were pretty tough for her; she's a very sociable kid but she was excluded by most of the kids from their games as she couldn't understand the rules and we had to become more tolerant of her taking her frustration out on us. After about 5-6 months though it all started to improve dramatically as she picked up the language and now she's pretty much on an equal par with the rest of them (and has even been invited to a Swiss birthday party :eek: )

Hope it all works out for you!

Carlos R 01.07.2011 10:01

Re: Kindergarten
 
+1 to the "she'll be fine" crowd.

Kindergarten in CH is about social skills and learning to integrate. The teachers tend to be much more child-focused than results-focused, so she should get help from the teacher, as well as German tuition (covered for by the Gemeinde).

Longbyt 01.07.2011 10:08

Re: Kindergarten
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Moscat (Post 1247339)
Hi,
Our daughter has been in the local kindergarten for a year now and didn't speak a work of German when she started. I can't deny that the first few months were pretty tough for her; she's a very sociable kid but she was excluded by most of the kids from their games as she couldn't understand the rules and we had to become more tolerant of her taking her frustration out on us. After about 5-6 months though it all started to improve dramatically as she picked up the language...

Excellent point here. However well the children get on 'in retrospect', quite a few of them have a tough time at the beginning. The child has to let off steam somewhere and poor Mum and Dad may well get the brunt of it.

Hearing everything in a foreign language is tiring; the other children often get fed up with an alien ;) who 'messes up' their games because the alien doesn't understand the rules; the teachers occasionally think the child is being obstinate or not paying attention when it just didn't understand.
Some kids seem to have no problems at all but it certainly doesn't mean it is plain sailing for others.

Carlos R 01.07.2011 10:21

Re: Kindergarten
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Longbyt (Post 1247363)
Hearing everything in a foreign language is tiring; the other children often get fed up with an alien ;) who 'messes up' their games because the alien doesn't understand the rules; the teachers occasionally think the child is being obstinate or not paying attention when it just didn't understand.
Some kids seem to have no problems at all but it certainly doesn't mean it is plain sailing for others.

+1 to that & to Moscat's post.

I think it is worse if your child is a real communicator in his/her native tongue. Our 4, 10/12 year old girl is very verbose and communicative and has been really upset about her inability to communicate with her new friends. She's only been going part-time to kinderkripe for the past 6 months and this August will start kindergarten proper.

Our oldest (6, 5/12) started at a bi-lingual Montessori school when 4, and didn't really speak much German for the first 2 years of school, but when he did, boy was he fluent... His German vocab is, understandably, limited as we don't speak the local lingo at home, but he transferred to kindergarten out in the sticks without any language issues (although he's still a foreigner by nature of his BS accent :rolleyes:).

Much better all round to go through this before your child hits primary school, although clearly not everyone has this option - so no criticism implied or other intended.

lbp_ch 01.07.2011 10:21

Re: Kindergarten
 
I'm sure he'll be fine. Our experience is that after a few months, our son was fluent in Swiss-German. OK, I talked to him in Swiss-German from time to time for about 1 year before starting kindergarten. But he would most of the times answer me in Spanish, which is our family language. But still, knowing from experiences of friends etc, I'm sure it will be OK.

Also, many kindergartens have special classes for children with a foreign mother tongue. Usually, it's 1 or 2 hours a week where a specialised teacher comes to the kindergarten and holds these classes in the same kindergarten. This has been very useful in our case.

Hope this helps :)

PTaz 01.07.2011 11:20

Re: Kindergarten
 
My Wife moved out last year with our Daughter who is 5 from Scotland. She knew no German when she came and neither my wife or I speak German (slowly learning) however I can say we had a great Kindergarten teacher who speant some time with her and she is now fluent in German (kindergarten) and Swiss-German (playground). She still speaks English in the house, but can hold great conversations in German with our friends.

I would recommend sending to the Kindergarten at this age as they pick up things so much better.

P

finesse 01.07.2011 11:49

Re: Kindergarten
 
This is not easy sometimes. We have been told all the time, that there won’t be any problems, but it’s a bit different for us.

When we came out my son was 3, and he attended a spielgruppe 2x a week. We thought it will be great for the language skills (we don’t speak any German). It did not happen.

He started the kindergarten, and he has german lessons twice a week. And actually he loves those lessons.

The problem was that his attitude was like “they don’t speak like we”. So he refused to listen, to learn whatever. He got really frustrated, because on his mother tongue he is like a machine talks talks talks. He is also very active, but there he was not able to participate in games. In the meantime we granted a little sister for him, which roughly 3 months ago hit him. (he was jealous) These things materialized in problems in the kindergarten (which he had no problems until). He was crying, started to collect sticks on the street (“they understand me Daddy”) in a maniac way (he refused to go to anywhere (badi, having ice cream) if we said he can not collect them). We even had to go to the kindergarten to have a kinda emergency meeting.

Since then he started to change his attitude and actually turned out he understands almost everything in the kindergarten and even started to communicate with the kids. I also have to say that local swiss kids were really nice to him; he even got two birthday party invitations. Also the teachers were nice to him. So we do hope things got on the way now, because we were really on the brink of going back to our home country 1 month ago.

By no means have I wanted to frighten you, because of course in the end all the kids will adopt. It is just not always pain free, easy and smooth as kids are different, circumstances are different.

Mausi 01.07.2011 11:55

Re: Kindergarten
 
We moved to Zurich when our son was 4. He didn't speak any German before he started Kindergarten, and was very very slow to learn it. He is finishing up his first year of Kindergarten now and understands a lot of Swiss and High German and is starting to make complete sentences. Kids go to Kindergarten for 2 years in Zurich, and we believe he will be fluent in at least Swiss German after the second year of Kindergarten.

Whatever you do, keep speaking English at home! Even if you are learning German, keep English as the home language. My son is starting to pretend play and sometimes respond to me in German, but we really want his mother tongue to remain English!

stephanienie 01.07.2011 12:00

Re: Kindergarten
 
With my 6 yr old, having one classmate who is good in both english and swiss german really helped her alot. If you are given a choice on which kindergarten to put your child, maybe you can look at the classlist if there´s also newcomers/expats enrolled.

simplon 01.07.2011 12:20

Re: Kindergarten
 
She will be fine. Nowadays there are so many expats around with children enrolled in the schools of almost every village. Therefore there is no need to look for classes with a lot of foreign children. Normally it takes about two weeks till children understand the basics, after three months they quite happily chat with the other children and after six months they are pretty fluent.s


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