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Old 21.02.2008, 16:42
lana lana is offline
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Advice is needed: how to get a child to year 2 of Swiss Kindergarten?

Hello, everyone, we live in Zurich.

Our daughter was born on in May 2003 (just days ater a cut-off date of 30 April for Kindergarten entry). This year she can start official state kindergarten. She also could have started Year 1 of state Kindergarten last year, as children born between 1 May and 30 July could be also considered for start in August of that year. But we did not apply for a state kindergarten last year, as she was (and still is) going to a private English/German bilingual preschool full itme where they follow a combination of UK and Swiss curriculums. This year we plan to send her to state kindergarten as she needs to learn Swiss German prior to school (we are Russian speakers). We would like her to go to Year 2 of state kindergarten straight away.

And this is where we have a problem, as Zurichberg authorities are very stubborn. They say, that she should go to Year 1 and then they will see how she is doing, and may later move her to Year 2 in the same year. Year 1 and Year 2 children stay in the same group with he same Kidergartnerin, but Year 2 children also come for two afternoons a week, whilst Year 1 children only come in the mornings.

Seeing how stubborn authorites are, I hav a big concern that if our child goes to Year 1, it will be next to impossible to move her to Year 2 in that year, because they do not want to give her a chance to try Year 2 straight away. She also does not speak Swiss German, so it will take her some time to understand and start speaking, but in that period of time of course the Kindergartnerin would not be able to access our daughter's potential fully due to lack of communication.

Also, by missing Year 2 afternoon sessions, she will miss additional opportunity of learning Swiss German, will lag behind the program of Year 2, which will make her transfer to Year 2 difficult or impossible.

Kindergartnerin will decide whether the child is ready or not, and this is my other concern, as, for example, I went to see the nearest kindergarden after children finished their activities, and the kindergartnerin there was very unfriendly, she said she has no time for me. When I asked her when I may come she said: “Never, I have no time. Just send an official application and your child will be allocated a place”.

So, I have to leave my daughter's future to a Kindergartnerin, who does not even want to talk to me!

It will already be a fallback for our daughter to have school only in the mornings, because she likes different activities and gets bored without new things. She is also quite advanced: she reads in Russian, starts to read in English, speaks English and German (although German is not in an advanced stage, but is building up rapidly).

If she does not go to Year 2, she will lose a whole year just because her birthdays is 5 days later then cut-off, and she will only start school at 7.5 which is really late!

I've offered the authorities to bring her portfolio of work from the current school , or child psychologist recommendation, but they've said they do not want to see any of these, as they do not care: the Kindergartnerin is the only one who will decide my daughter's fate next year.

Our daughter can continue with her current private kindergarten, but she has no exposure to Swiss German there. And even when she finishes Year 2 programme there next year, her transfer to school will not be automatic due to her birth date, althought the teachers said they they will write a recommendation letter etc. etc, but it will still be up to the local authorities to make a decision.

What should we do? I feel totally helpless. Any ideas are very welcome.

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