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Old 26.05.2019, 22:53
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Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

After a short weekend in Zurich looking at areas to live that are not in the city and are close to nature, the one area that I fell for was Greifensee with the lake, small streets and possibilities of outdoor living in what seems like a smallish community.

Does anyone know of someone who attends the school there or lives in the area and speaks English? We are moving from the UK and my two boys age 7 and 9 will have only basic German and so I worry that they will be the only foreigners and I won't be able to communicate with the teachers.

Any advice is much appreciated. I have read the main threads on Education. We can't afford two kids in International School.
We are working on German as quickly as we can and will continue to provide them with extra lessons.

We do have another school option which is a partly funded faith school and this school has an international intake of kids per year and so are more set up to take on kids with little German but then Greifensee will not be a place where we can live because its far from this school in Central Zurich.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 26.05.2019, 23:37
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

They certainly won't be the only foreigners


By the way, you make a very basic mistake: kid pick up a language far quicker then you can even dream about


6 months they'll be happy with German, 12 month fluent.
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Old 27.05.2019, 07:23
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Congratulations! You and your sons are already well ahead of many immigrants in two points:
1. You've completely understood that it is very important to learn German.
2. You (plural) are already learning it.

Wherever they go to a local government school, they will be given support to learn German. If you as parents also work diligently at learning it, and speak more and more German and less and less English to their teachers, they're likely to love you!
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Old 28.05.2019, 09:49
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Greifensee has a train every 15min to central Zurich so going to school there would not be a problem. The primary school is very good but we were not so happy with the secondary school.
My two girls have done great by just throwing them in, they were 8 and 2 when we moved here. As others have said they learn quick when they are young and will be able to talk with there friends after 6 months. The DATS system will help them with extra German lessons for up to three years.

I would think more about your commute to work. Using the car for a lot of places is not the best option. Public transport is very good here but you need to check the links before deciding where to live.

Hope this helps?
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Old 28.05.2019, 13:08
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Thank you all for your replies. If this forum is anything to go by as getting help and advice in Switzerland, then I'm looking forward to moving!

How involved are parents in the school and school community life, Class reps, pta and those sorts of things. Sending the boys to a school where I can only ask and answer basic basic German will impact on my life to some extent and being able to converse with their teachers too. Sending them to a school where I can speak to teachers and parents is important to me. I'm hoping to make new friends and I don't have a job to go into or a framework as the kids do, we are relocating for my husband.
I currently work for a small charity and I'm going to look for something similar.

I will contact the school and see whether I can go and visit.

Thank you again for all your positive input! Any other ideas and experiences are most welcome.
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Old 28.05.2019, 14:13
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

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Thank you all for your replies. If this forum is anything to go by as getting help and advice in Switzerland, then I'm looking forward to moving!

How involved are parents in the school and school community life, Class reps, pta and those sorts of things. Sending the boys to a school where I can only ask and answer basic basic German will impact on my life to some extent and being able to converse with their teachers too. Sending them to a school where I can speak to teachers and parents is important to me. I'm hoping to make new friends and I don't have a job to go into or a framework as the kids do, we are relocating for my husband.
I currently work for a small charity and I'm going to look for something similar.

I will contact the school and see whether I can go and visit.

Thank you again for all your positive input! Any other ideas and experiences are most welcome.



I expect you'll find most teachers can speak some English......


Language abilities are different here than in the UK
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Old 28.05.2019, 14:47
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

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Sending the boys to a school where I can only ask and answer basic basic German will impact on my life to some extent and being able to converse with their teachers too. Sending them to a school where I can speak to teachers and parents is important to me. I'm hoping to make new friends and I don't have a job to go into or a framework as the kids do
If you don't work and you have time, it may be a good opportunity to learn German. The school world (teachers, other parents) will give you both motivation and exercise, and you'll end up integrating in the community while your boys learn in school.
Just as a rough reference, you can reach a decent conversational level in 4 months of intensive course (= every morning) and then work out the rest little by little while living here and talking to people. English will be your backup language, don't worry.
There's plenty of foreigners in Greifensee area as well, so you won't be the only one in your situation, and in any case a foreigner speaking super basic German is probably more appreciated than an expat always talking English

Also, the risk in dealing with an English school is to kind of confine yourself to the expat world, which can be a bit limiting in the long term.

Generally speaking about Greifensee, Uster has very quick connections to Zurich and many people commute from there. Maur, on the other side of the lake, is a bit more difficult to reach. In general, try to be close to a train station and you'll be fine (I mean, walking or bycicle distance).
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Old 28.05.2019, 14:55
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Hi Lara, I don't live near the Greifensee but I have gone through the experience of moving with my children from London to a local school in canton Zurich. It's daunting, but with a positive attitude of wanting to volunteer and get involved you'll be in a good position to integrate well.



There is much less parental involvement in schools here than in England, partly because there is no need for fundraising and there are no sports clubs in schools. But there will be plenty of opportunity to take part in local community activities. There are parent associations in each village not linked to the school and sports clubs rely on volunteers to help out at events. The local Gemeinde or council website will have a Verein list of all the local clubs.



The school hours are very different to the UK so you'll probably have your children home a few afternoons a week, as well as for lunch every day. As you won't pick up/drop off your children you don't get to see the teachers very often, but you can telephone/email them and you can take a translator to meetings if you need to.



I find people here are much more friendly with their neighbours than in London, so that can be a good way to meet people too. And there are expat groups / language classes.


Best of luck!
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Old 29.05.2019, 22:23
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Thank you, Rayne and others that is really useful information and a good way to find out how to meet new people and I feel more encouraged to continue learning daily with duo lingo.

If children are home at lunch time and there are not afterschool clubs, do people get around this by not working, working from home or working in between school hours? It is so different to London where our school provides an amazing wrap around service for the parents who need it.

Thanks
Lara
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Old 30.05.2019, 02:36
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

In the past, it was typically dad at work full-time and mum at home full-time. Increasingly, albeit slowly, a shift is taking place, so that if there are two parents, they may both work part-time and/or flexi-time.

More schools offer block tuition than twenty years ago, although in many towns a child's timetable is still not regular; seldom anything like Monday to Friday 8h to 2pm.

Befriend the other parents. Over time, some exchange lunch duties, so a bunch of children eat lunch together at various people's homes, thereby giving each parent one or two days off.

Children are socialised to get to school and back independently and it's considered normal for both boys and girls to learn basic domestic skills, so as they grow up they can increasingly get their own lunch when they walk home.
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Old 30.05.2019, 02:41
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

.... just in case you hadn't found them yet: if you scroll all the way down on any thread, you'll find an automatically generated list of threads [which appear to be] about related topics.
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Old 30.05.2019, 14:34
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Thank you, I had not seen the similar thread option. I love the idea our shared lunch and getting involved through the council in local activities through volunteering.
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Old 30.05.2019, 14:54
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Re: Local school in Greifensee, Zurich... Advice please

Schools do have lunch and wrap around daycare options, called Schulhort, but they are really expensive compared to the UK. Lunch in primary school is Fr.25 per child per day where I live. In the holidays daycare in the school costs Fr. 120 per child. Zurich city has started moving towards full day schools, but it takes time.
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