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Old 09.04.2007, 20:58
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Carmen Carmen is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Gattikon (ZH)
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Re: School at 8 year old

We've been here now almost 6 years and both our children went to the local school for integration and language purposes. My husband teaches at Zurich International School and our older son is there now this year in 6th grade for the first time - it is the first year of Middle School and he has always wanted to go to ZIS so this year was a good time as he hadn't had any education in English. Our younger son was in the international school for 2 years for pre-school and pre-K and has been in our local swiss system for 3 years now and is in 1st grade.

Their experiences were VERY different - our older son's was so bad that the Swiss neuropsychologist who tested him for learning differences and ADD (she found neither) recommended that we remove him from the system as his self esteem was so low and that he was giving up and that it was the learning environment in her opinion that was causing the problems. We sent him to the Steiner school for 2 years hoping he would have some positive "Swiss schooling" experiences before moving him to ZIS.

Our younger son has had nothing but wonderful teachers and experiences at his school (we are in a different town now) and he struggles daily with his learning disabilities.

I guess what I am saying is that even though it was so bad for my older son, we gave it a go with my younger son and it has been great. As we are here "permanently" it wasn't a question in our minds that they would go to local schools as that would be the only way for them to have a shot at integration.

I don't know what we would have done if we thought we were here only 5 years. Most likely exactly what we did as we wanted to give them the opportunity to be bilingual. We lived in Norway before here and rather than send my older son to the international school for free for pre-school and pre-K where my husband taught, we paid for him to go to a Norwegian one so he could learn the language and experience the culture. We knew we would only be there for 4 years.

Good luck with your decision!