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Old 10.10.2019, 15:31
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Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendations?

Hi, so my husband and I are thinking about moving back to Vaud in Switzerland near the Nyon area.

We have four kids who donít speak any French or German yet, as we have been living in New Zealand for the past five years and they have been going to school in English. We never did manage to get the bilingual thing going in our household as my husband is half American, half Swiss but grew up in Germany so our main language together has always been English. I learnt French at school in New Zealand and we now both can speak French so would be comfortable moving back to the Vaud area. We both lived in Geneva for the first few years of our marriage, before we had kids and loved it there!


However, when thinking about moving back I am concerned for my kids as Iím not sure what the schooling options would be for them? How does it work for foreigners coming into Switzerland and suddenly having to put their kids in local school? Is there any support for language learning? Or are the kids just expected to somehow slot into the new language and do the schoolwork that the other kids are doing?


My oldest child has quite a high level of anxiety about school, already, and my eight-year-old son has ADHD Ė do you know if thereís any support for that kind of stuff at Swiss schools? I donít think we would be able to afford private international schools, so they would probably not be an option unless really cheap!


Any recommendations or helpful comments would be much appreciated Ė how did any of your families do it or cope bringing your kids into a country where they didnít speak the language? If we move back to Switzerland it would be permanent so at least I know that even if it would be hard for the kids to integrate in the beginning, it would be worth it in the Longrun as they would have a second language and be able to participate in society once they get a hang of it.


By the way my kids are 12, 10 eight and six.


Thanks for any advice and stories you can share
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Old 10.10.2019, 16:02
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

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Hi, so my husband and I are thinking about moving back to Vaud in Switzerland near the Nyon area.

We have four kids who donít speak any French or German yet, as we have been living in New Zealand for the past five years and they have been going to school in English. We never did manage to get the bilingual thing going in our household as my husband is half American, half Swiss but grew up in Germany so our main language together has always been English. I learnt French at school in New Zealand and we now both can speak French so would be comfortable moving back to the Vaud area. We both lived in Geneva for the first few years of our marriage, before we had kids and loved it there!


However, when thinking about moving back I am concerned for my kids as Iím not sure what the schooling options would be for them? How does it work for foreigners coming into Switzerland and suddenly having to put their kids in local school? Is there any support for language learning? Or are the kids just expected to somehow slot into the new language and do the schoolwork that the other kids are doing?


My oldest child has quite a high level of anxiety about school, already, and my eight-year-old son has ADHD Ė do you know if thereís any support for that kind of stuff at Swiss schools? I donít think we would be able to afford private international schools, so they would probably not be an option unless really cheap!


Any recommendations or helpful comments would be much appreciated Ė how did any of your families do it or cope bringing your kids into a country where they didnít speak the language? If we move back to Switzerland it would be permanent so at least I know that even if it would be hard for the kids to integrate in the beginning, it would be worth it in the Longrun as they would have a second language and be able to participate in society once they get a hang of it.


By the way my kids are 12, 10 eight and six.


Thanks for any advice and stories you can share

Hi,

We also have similar aged 4 kids and 3 of them were born in Vaud. The public schools are good as they provide lot of support in every way for the kids. The kids from outside are immersed into the language completely and they are able to pickup quite quickly. I would think the elder ones will have a little disadvantage in the languages (French & German) wrt other kids as they are classed into different groups based on their performance after 8 years of schooling (starting at 4years). However, there are ways this can be tackled in few years later. You will have to check with the schools in that area. For kids with some learning difficulties there are support with languages, motor skills, physiologically along with the normal school.

All the best in your planning.

Regards.
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Old 10.10.2019, 16:37
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

If it will be Ďpermanentí get them immersed in French ASAP. Local schools probably the best for that.
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Old 10.10.2019, 18:24
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

www.allspecialkids.org may be able to give you some advice on the ADHD side of things. Support for these kind of things can be patchy here, some places are better than others.

International schools aren't cheap. Think around CHF20,000 per child per year and you get the idea.
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Old 10.10.2019, 21:20
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

The public school system can be quite a challenge for an ADHD child.
It’s tough for a child who could have difficulties abiding to a very structured establishment where children are encouraged to fit in and keep to the rules.
In addition to the rather strict structure, his ADHD, there’s also the challenge of a new language.
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Old 10.10.2019, 21:41
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

Welcome, rachvdg, and well done for wanting to look, well, before you leap.

The Swiss school system, like so much else, is defined by canton. And within this, various regions or municipalities may have their own rules or ways of interpreting the cantonal or national guidelines.

This helpful link is to an overview of the Swiss education system: https://www.englishforum.ch/3105730-post5.html
See also the so-called sticky threads at the top of this forum: https://www.englishforum.ch/education/

This very long thread, as long threads are wont to do, got a bit wobbly at times, but it does give a good overview of pros and contras of public (= government) schools vs. international (= fee-paying) schools.
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...l-schools.html

Specifically about Lausanne:
Here’s an earlier one about public vs private (= fee-paying) schools, specifically in Lausanne, including some useful links.
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...-speakers.html

This is about children classed as gifted, in Lausanne
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...que-needs.html

Primary school in Lausanne
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...anne-area.html



And for good measure, here’s a range of opinions about what helps children integrate
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...-best-you.html

Also, in this forum, if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page, you will find thread titles which the system suggests as perhaps being similar to the one you're currently reading.

The search function (top right-hand corner) of this forum doesn't work nearly as well as googling from outside of the forum, and adding englishforum as one of the searchwords.

Hope that helps to get started.
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Old 10.10.2019, 23:29
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

As others have said, there is a range of support for non-french speakers depending on the school and/or school district. But do keep in mind it will not be easy for your two older kids if an academic stream and future university is sought. At 12, or maybe 13 by the time here, he will have already passed the streaming to determine what path, and having no french nor german, will undoubtedly not be placed in the gynase stream. Keep in mind mandatory schooling stops at 14, so could end up a bit lost as well after a year or two. The second child with certain needs will probably face more hurdles. Swiss schools tend to have limited or very little special needs help compared to many anglophone countries. You might want to think carefully, explore all options, and have a plan B in place for the two older children. The younger two will likely adapt well to the school system and language as they are younger and have more time to pick it up. But as parents who speak both french and german, I would certainly start the french/german language training now before a move to make everything smoother. You are lucky and have a gift that both parents speak the two necessary languages, so best to put to good use.
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Old 10.10.2019, 23:36
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

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You might want to think carefully, explore all options, and have a plan B in place for the two older children.
That Plan B would probably be along the lines of completing regular secondary school, and then doing an apprenticeship. There are several threads about that, here, explaining that an apprenticeship is a real and respected qualification. If the young person later decides that they'd like to study, after all, then there are routes to catch up and get the "Matura" after all, and go to university.

One of the great advantages of the Swiss system is that it is possible to change direction, or add on units, later.
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Old 11.10.2019, 10:58
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

Nyon is not Lausanne. Demographics much different, for example.

Also have a look at the International Womens Club of Nyon www.iwcn.ch. You may find some people with similar situations there.
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Old 11.10.2019, 13:24
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

Yes, thanks, Bowlie, you're right. I posted those links to the Lausanne situation thinking that at least they would be dealing more with the mindset of the French-speaking cantons, rather than with the German-speaking ones.

OP, please be aware that, in Switzerland, everything is different, canton to canton, and sometimes even municipality to municipality.
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Old 12.10.2019, 13:30
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Re: Moving to Vaud/Nyon area 4 kids who donít speak French - any school recommendatio

We were in a very similar situation 6 years ago. Same sort of language dynamic in the family. Our family language was and still is English. We actually sat the 2 of them down at the kitchen table and made a pro and cons list of moving with the kids. I think the two of them being involved in the decision making process had a huge impact on their attitude towards the challenging times ahead.
We put both kids in local school. Our son was 12, our daughter was 10. Both kids repeated a year right at the start (our choice). They had completed 4th & 6th grade in Canada and we put them into 4th & 6th grade again here to learn the language, this was a very good decision, as it also gave them that extra year to mature.
The first year was very difficult for both of them. Our daughter actually became depressed, had a huge amount of anxiety and ended up needing professional help.
However...both of them did not want to go back to Canada, even through the difficult times. Both of them have since done really well. Our son is in his final year of an apprenticeship and loves it. Our daughter has just started Gymnasium and is doing well.
Support for special needs really depends on the canton, school and individual teacher. There is some support available, it will be important that you let the school know right at registration, so they are prepared for it and choose a class that fits your kids. I am teacher in the local system (canton Berne, so things may be different in Vaud) and we choose carefully which class/teacher to place new kids in, and I am sure schools in Vaud will do the same. Since you do not get a choice which school to send kids to, once you narrow down where you are going to live, it may be a good idea to call up the nearby schools and speak to them to get a vibe about their special needs support. It can be very different from school to school. In canton Berne communities get a pool of money for special needs, but how they distribute those funds within their schools is up to them (within guidelines of course).
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