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  #121  
Old 16.01.2012, 14:38
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Kids can learn a different language and become fluent but the younger they start the better, I think your son has a perfect age to learn another language.

Here is some info on bilingual kids:

http://www.nethelp.no/cindy/myth.html

http://www.multilingualchildren.org/..._learners.html
SwissAstroid, Thank you I will take a look.
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  #122  
Old 16.01.2012, 15:49
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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After reading all the comments, on (Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools), and thank you all for your opinions, experiences and views, but I have to admit as much as I want to be positive about our move over, the fact that there might be a chance of my 5 year old son going through any kind of bad experiences at school is unbearable, although he is a loveable, social little boy he is also a very nervous one, who tends to stutter and bites his nail when something upsets him, I so want to go ahead with our plans. Guess I have a lot of thinking to do.
Don't forget that your son will inevitibly have bad experiences in any school of the world. Other children not liking him, him not liking other children, teachers, subjects and so on.
And don't forget either that people tend to write more about bad experiences than about good ones.
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  #123  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:11
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

Yes I agree with you 100€% I am being very negative, I was moved from english to Portuguese schools during my early years and I have been left with a few bad memories, maybe this is why I worry so much wouldn´t like my son to go through the same, but of course it is to be expected.
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  #124  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:11
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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After reading all the comments, on (Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools), and thank you all for your opinions, experiences and views, but I have to admit as much as I want to be positive about our move over, the fact that there might be a chance of my 5 year old son going through any kind of bad experiences at school is unbearable, although he is a loveable, social little boy he is also a very nervous one, who tends to stutter and bites his nail when something upsets him, I so want to go ahead with our plans. Guess I have a lot of thinking to do.
I fully agree with the previous post. My son is 8 who can also be very nervous, and we have 3 daughters of 8, 4, and 2 years old. I think the most important thing is to learn the local language as soon as possible.
  • For our youngest, we select German television and friends with who we have German as common language.
  • For our 4y/o, at age of 3, we had selected a German "Spielgruppe", which she attended twice a week, and had to communicate in German with the other kids. However, at that time her "active" German was not "yet there". Now that she is in Kindergarten, everything is much better. The first 3 months have been difficult, especially getting accepted by the native German-speaking kids. However, she has caught up, and we see her playing with German-speaking kids all the time. Of course, her positive sunny attitude helps tremendously.
  • For our 8y/olds, we came here when they were 4y/o, and went directly to Kindergarten without any German skills. They had a 3-6 months difficult period, but after that caught up and are now fully integrated in the Swiss system. They are now above average in German in their class, including a lot of native German-speaking kids.
Therefore, my conclusion from our own experiences is that one should do the following:
  • Expose kids to the local language as much as possible, by choosing German-speaking playmates, German Kindergarten, German Television, etc.
  • Actively encourage them to seek out other German-speaking children. For the youngest, my wife would meet with the mother of a class-mate. Within the safe and trusted environment of ones house, kids will play in whatever language. If the common language is German, there you go.
  • Accept that your kid will have to deal / cope with bad situations at school and any other environment where you do not have (full) control. In the end, you want your child to grow up an independent adult. That means, stepwise teaching him how to deal with difficult situations. Mastering a foreign language is a very difficult situation, however, it is essential for integration. Therefore, it makes sense that parents help their children to master the foreign language as soon as possible, and our experience is that teachers usually are very supportive of that.
  • Allow your child to deal with some situations in his/her own way. Although I fully understand any parents' anxiety when anticipating a difficult situation where a child may have difficulties coping, children usually are very resilient, and can cope with more than you think. Have faith in your son that he can deal with it. And if you really think that he suffers, you can always start talking with the teacher.
Hope this helps.

Henk
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  #125  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:16
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Yes I agree with you 100€% I am being very negative, I was moved from english to Portuguese schools during my early years and I have been left with a few bad memories, maybe this is why I worry so much wouldn´t like my son to go through the same, but of course it is to be expected.
Have those bad memories affected you as an adult?
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  #126  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:20
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Have those bad memories affected you as an adult?
Now that's an easy question. However, some people need several years of weekly sessions with a shrink to find out the answer....
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  #127  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:24
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

Hj 74, Thank you for your advice helped immensely, I have just been in contact with a German teacher to try and prepare him here a home before we go so this may make things easier, and yes I am one of those so called mother-hens.
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:26
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Now that's an easy question. However, some people need several years of weekly sessions with a shrink to find out the answer....
Indeed.

Jokes aside though, I would be surprised if any adult could say that they didn't have an unhappy memory of childhood somewhere along the line.

The OP has bad memories of schooling but is she being a bit paranoid about them and projecting this paranoia onto her son?

I went through the a move as a child from French to English. I would be lying if I said that it had no impact on me. That said, I am still relatively - some would say very - successful in what I do and the person I am.

Whether that is in spite or because of those negative experiences we'll never truly know, but to worry in the way this person is, is verging on the extreme. You can't and shouldn't wrap kids up in cotton wool, however much we'd like to. Indeed doing this could make it a whole lot worse.
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  #129  
Old 16.01.2012, 16:37
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Have those bad memories affected you as an adult?
Yes I think so, but in a good and a bad way, the being that I am very sociable and find it very easy to get on well with people from all walks of life, but I can also get very depressed and loose confidence in myself if I feel ignored or put aside, this I think has a huge part to do with the way I was treated at school when not knowing the language but I think I´m a better person for it.
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  #130  
Old 16.01.2012, 17:26
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

The Swiss system is very good, especially when the parents take an interest in their child's education.

It is important to ask your child to explain to you every day what he/she has learnt in school that day. If he/she cannot explain then you need to ask to look at his/her books and find out why there is a lack of understanding. If the explanation is fine you can discuss the subject for ten minutes or so, making sure that the subject has been completely understood. I am not suggesting extra lessons, just to make sure that they are understanding their lessons. When they are young children learn a language very quickly, even putting them in front of a German TV cartoon is a learning experience.

Too many parents just send them to school to become educated. When you find that your child has fallen behind it is too late, the child has been designated as average / below average, and higher education is barred as the teachers cannot make a recommendation.
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  #131  
Old 16.01.2012, 17:30
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Hi,

I am now worried, I plan to move to Aarau area, in the next couple of months and have a 5 year old who only understands Portuguese, although I am English born and raised my family are Portugues and so is my husband, so we tend to use mostly the Portuguese at home.

This leaves me very concerned at how my son will be accepted at school and how they will help him adapt to his new enviroment.

Obviously I have to get him so German lesson before we go over but don´t think this will give him time to learn much, any ideas?
Hi

I moved to the Aarau area when I was 13. Personally I wouldn't be too worried. There are plenty of foreigners around here and whatever town you choose will definitely have experience of kids moving here from abroad. Personally I had just German for 4-5 months before gradually moving into the normal classes.

There is also quite a few portuguese around Aarau. I've even saw there's a portuguese football club around 20 min away from Aarau in Aarburg. http://www.desportivo.ch/

Maybe they can point you towards some portuguese communities around Aarau and give you some tips towards villages which have quite a few portuguese which you can maybe turn to for help if you have any problems.

I don't see your son having any long term problems though. It took me around 2 years to learn pretty good German and that's at 13. At 5 he'll learn it even faster and he'll still only be going to kindergarden until he's 7 or 8 so I think he'll probably be pretty good in German by the time he starts school and he'll have 5 years primary school before they get divided into different levels for secondary school. Plus remember school is mostly in high german which isn't the mother tongue of the Swiss children either.

Of course there's no 100% guarantee. One can always end up with a stupid teacher one or two bullies in the class but that's the case anywhere. If that's the case you can always move villages and he'll have a new class.....
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  #132  
Old 16.01.2012, 17:59
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Indeed.

Jokes aside though, I would be surprised if any adult could say that they didn't have an unhappy memory of childhood somewhere along the line...
Apparently I was quite miserable when we moved from God's own country to Surrey. But I've no memory of it. However, I recently joined an FB group for my secondary school, and have recalled I had a great time there.

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The Swiss system is very good, especially when the parents take an interest in their child's education.

It is important to ask your child to explain to you every day what he/she has learnt in school that day. If he/she cannot explain then you need to ask to look at his/her books and find out why there is a lack of understanding. If the explanation is fine you can discuss the subject for ten minutes or so, making sure that the subject has been completely understood. I am not suggesting extra lessons, just to make sure that they are understanding their lessons. When they are young children learn a language very quickly, even putting them in front of a German TV cartoon is a learning experience.

Too many parents just send them to school to become educated. When you find that your child has fallen behind it is too late, the child has been designated as average / below average, and higher education is barred as the teachers cannot make a recommendation.
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  #133  
Old 16.01.2012, 18:21
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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The Swiss system is very good, especially when the parents take an interest in their child's education.

It is important to ask your child to explain to you every day what he/she has learnt in school that day. If he/she cannot explain then you need to ask to look at his/her books and find out why there is a lack of understanding. If the explanation is fine you can discuss the subject for ten minutes or so, making sure that the subject has been completely understood. I am not suggesting extra lessons, just to make sure that they are understanding their lessons. When they are young children learn a language very quickly, even putting them in front of a German TV cartoon is a learning experience.

Too many parents just send them to school to become educated. When you find that your child has fallen behind it is too late, the child has been designated as average / below average, and higher education is barred as the teachers cannot make a recommendation.
This is very important, and make sure the teacher(s) and school board are aware that you take an interest.

In another thread I posted how my children are being introduced to public school and initially the teacher taking care of them was very negative. I contacted the director of the area with some constructive criticism and things have now improved.
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  #134  
Old 16.01.2012, 18:53
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

If there are problems, it's not necessarily a question of foreign or not (although having foreign parents despite being born here did occasionally come up) - I am Swiss and I got teased mercilessly all the way from Kindergarten up to my third year of secondary school. It only stopped when I went to gymnasium because it was suddenly cool to "know stuff". It was really, really bad and I got teased for my surname, my first name, the fact that I could read in Kindergarten, the fact that I was bigger (but not fat, just taller and sturdier than the other kids), the fact that my jumpers were sometimes hand made, for wearing second hand clothes, for having buck teeth, for my acne, for scoring more than full marks on a test, for scoring the lowest mark in class on another test, for being ugly, for speaking English, for speaking French and again and again for my weight, despite actually briefly being too thin, I was still getting called fat. Some kids just never ever fit in.

I was however never slapped by a teacher and don't know of anyone who ever was, so I reckon that is made up, especially considering the alleged response by the head master. I also had to do several IQ tests because they felt I was underperforming and almost got put in Realschule too - I passed the exam for Gymnasium six months later instead. I now know that I have ADD, if there is one criticism I would have with the Swiss system is that it is a bit FIFO. This has improved from what I can see with my younger siblings but they still don't have much patience with anything that could be seen as "excuses". And what they definitely DON'T feed into and I think this is great, is this whole idea of "my child is the most special child in the world".

Consider this - if there is a child in the class who doesn't speak German/French and whose parents can't help them with this, it is going to hold the entire class back and this is not fair. Sure, English is a common language, many people speak it, but what about little Qemajl, Fatima and "that kid with the name nobody can pronounce"? They too don't speak much German/French AND often have ZERO support from their parents. So I really admire teachers today, it's not an easy job and parents who don't want to understand the system or don't care for authority but are quick to complain are just, well, idiots.
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  #135  
Old 16.01.2012, 19:08
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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The Swiss system is very good, especially when the parents take an interest in their child's education.

It is important to ask your child to explain to you every day what he/she has learnt in school that day. If he/she cannot explain then you need to ask to look at his/her books and find out why there is a lack of understanding. If the explanation is fine you can discuss the subject for ten minutes or so, making sure that the subject has been completely understood. I am not suggesting extra lessons, just to make sure that they are understanding their lessons. When they are young children learn a language very quickly, even putting them in front of a German TV cartoon is a learning experience.

Too many parents just send them to school to become educated. When you find that your child has fallen behind it is too late, the child has been designated as average / below average, and higher education is barred as the teachers cannot make a recommendation.
I agree this is excellent advice but surely I can't be the only parent who daily receives the response "nothing, Mam" to the question "..and so what did you do today then?" Or is this because I only have boys?
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  #136  
Old 16.01.2012, 19:22
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

I certainly hope our daughter (currently 2 yrs 1 month) integrates ok - weve got her going 2 afternoons a week to nursery that's german speaking (English backup). It's all we can afford for now, but anything that gets her speaking German from an early age should help her integrate in kindergarten/school.

Ps - when people say assist you kids with their language, this conflicts slightly with other advice which says that the parents should maintain their mother tongue at home. What gives? Surely this just means help wither homework rather than speak the language?
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  #137  
Old 16.01.2012, 20:28
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Indeed.

Jokes aside though, I would be surprised if any adult could say that they didn't have an unhappy memory of childhood somewhere along the line.

The OP has bad memories of schooling but is she being a bit paranoid about them and projecting this paranoia onto her son?

I went through the a move as a child from French to English. I would be lying if I said that it had no impact on me. That said, I am still relatively - some would say very - successful in what I do and the person I am.

Whether that is in spite or because of those negative experiences we'll never truly know, but to worry in the way this person is, is verging on the extreme. You can't and shouldn't wrap kids up in cotton wool, however much we'd like to. Indeed doing this could make it a whole lot worse.
Hi Carlos, no not being paranoid at all, if anything over protective, I want to have a happy child and I´m sure he will be, I have always been very involved in his schooling and intend to do the same over there so I am convinced its not going to be as bad as I imagin, I will do what it takes if letting go alittle than so be it.
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Old 16.01.2012, 22:05
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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I agree this is excellent advice but surely I can't be the only parent who daily receives the response "nothing, Mam" to the question "..and so what did you do today then?" Or is this because I only have boys?
As my wife wasn't working when we first came over here, she and the kids would have lunch together. Over the kitchen table, the days events come out. Now there older, we tend to only eat together in the evenings (usually around the kitchen table). We still talk about what we've all been doing.

Once the habit is established, it doesn't get broken easily.
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Old 17.01.2012, 12:30
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

We do a similar thing here, snack when the little boys come home, round the table and evening meal with all of them. The children will talk about things that they deem important but what work they are doing in school only comes up if it is something they find really interesting. If I ask them what they are doing in Maths say I get nil response even though they both enjoy Maths.

I know that relying on them to keep up with what is going on is a non-starter.

That said no 3 son has started complaining that they keep missing Maths to carry on with English but that because he hates English and car journeys are great for getting things out of teenage boys.

It looks like we might be moving to the Zug area as it is the only International School I can get my older boys to agree on. I would be interested to hear of any experiences of state primaries in the area or surrounding Cantons. We are aiming to move out in August OH already working in Switzerland. p.m me if you want to keep your opinions private.
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Old 17.01.2012, 12:54
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Hi Carlos, no not being paranoid at all, if anything over protective, I want to have a happy child and I´m sure he will be, I have always been very involved in his schooling and intend to do the same over there so I am convinced its not going to be as bad as I imagin, I will do what it takes if letting go alittle than so be it.
Delita, you are obviously a loving mum who wants the best for her little one, but it sounds like you are creating a problem in your own mind before one even exists. When parents have feelings of worry and concern, those are easily picked up by children; this could result in your son entering class in Switzerland already convinced that the transition will be fraught with problems and troubles.

My suggestion is that you take the good advice that you have received here and get your son in German classes as soon as possible. Why don't you begin learning German yourself so that you will be better prepared to help him? Invest in some DVD's in German that are geared for his age and watch them together. Speak positively about his entering school here and the changes that will come about.

When the time comes for him to go to school, keep those lines of communication open, and don't just assume that there will be problems. Go forward on a positive note, assuming that you and your son's experience will be a positive one similar to the many positive stories relayed here! Devote your mental/emotional energy to helping prepare him for success in Switzerland rather than preparing him for negative issues, and just maybe there won't be any significant ones!

All the best for your transition!
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