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  #21  
Old 11.10.2021, 13:44
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Re: international or local school

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In other areas they will be ahead. Overall, not developmentally hindered.

My youngest was referred to a speech/language therapist because the teacher was concerned about her level of vocabulary. When the therapist took into account that she speaks English, the result was she was developmentally ahead of the other kids in that area.

There's certainly nothing to stop a parent teaching their children to read and write themselves if they're concerned about that. Or teaching them basic maths. Or arranging for that kind of tuition at a fraction of the cost of international school.
You are right that a parent can help to compensate for any gaps, but depending on their time and competence that capability may be limited.

I understand the gist of what you are saying, but I still think that putting a child through learning a new language, while at the same time going through a different educational system for only 2 years, will hinder them in the short term (next couple of years), even if it may benefit them in future as an adult.

As MegsB says, it's really a case of deciding what the priorities are and for me I wouldn't want to do that if my plan was to only have relatively a short stay as an expat in a country. I would start in an International, see how the next couple of years go, even consider to teach them the basics of the local languages on the side, and then transfer them to a Swiss local school if I then made a decision to stay for the longer term. At 10 and 6 they would still be young enough to adapt.
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  #22  
Old 11.10.2021, 13:52
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Re: international or local school

We all make our own choices- and that is fine. But it has been shown time and time again, that learning a second language as a child is hugely beneficial, in 100s of ways.

We have had at least one EF member who told us that she hugely regretted sending her child to International School, as the couple of years they planned for turned into longer, and then permanent, and child found it very hard to go on to Gymi and on to further Ed- for many reasons, language first, then as Inernational friends kept leaving ...Age 10 is a key stage for further educational decisions and choices- so making the move at that stage I would not advise.

Our youngest chose (entirely her own idea) to come and spend a term here, staying with some of our old friends, and go for full immersion and local school, when she was 12. This was discussed with her teachers and the Head of her school, who all totally approved of her choice, and all said that what she would miss would be a tiny % of what she would gain. She is bright, and soon caught up- and never lost her French, which has been hugely useful in so many ways, including her career. She does have a Neuchâtel accent though- which is hilarious.

Have you discussed this with the children- put forward the pros and the cons- and see how they see things themselves. Having local friends, walking back and forth from school, going to each other's houses, etc, is also a huge + - and alos help parents integrate and get to know local people, and not remain in an expat bubble.
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  #23  
Old 11.10.2021, 14:02
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Re: international or local school

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Age 10 is a key stage for further educational decisions and choices- so making the move at that stage I would not advise.
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Our youngest chose (entirely her own idea) to come and spend a term here, staying with some of our old friends, and go for full immersion and local school, when she was 12. This was discussed with her teachers and the Head of her school, who all totally approved of her choice, and all said that what she would miss would be a tiny % of what she would gain.
You say you would not recommend it to a child at 10 years old, but then go on to say that your daughter did it with great success at 12 years old. Surely it would be easier at 10 than 12 to adapt to a new language and school system?

To my mind logic dictates that the earlier the kid moves into a new school system with a new language then the better the chances for integration, especially as learning starts to get significantly more intense at 12 and beyond.

Last edited by Chuff; 11.10.2021 at 14:16.
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  #24  
Old 11.10.2021, 14:20
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Re: international or local school

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This is an important point. Kindergarten here is basically a waste of time from an academic point of view. You need to figure out how long you'll stay here as this will impact the decision. If it is only 2 years and you are focussed on academics only and returning to the UK, I would put the 4 y/o into a more academic route.

I'm planning to stay longer term, but also planning to send my youngest to French school as I don't want her to 'waste' 6 years of her life on nonsense in tagi/KG.
I am curious....why do you think Swiss kindergarten is a waste of time?
What should be more "academic"....in kindergarten?


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]You say you would not recommend it to a child at 10 years old, but then go on to say that your daughter did it with great success at 12 years old. Surely it would be easier at 10 than 12 to adapt to a new language and school system?

To my mind logic dictates that the earlier the kid moves into a new school system with a new language then the better the chances for integration, especially as learning starts to get significantly more intense at 12 and beyond.
At 10 it could be difficult to move to a different school, let alone different country and language. Some kids are extremely outgoing and gifted for languages, more adaptable personalities, but for some or many would be a terrifying experience. Yes, kids adapt, but who the hell are we to push them into cold water? Just saying.
That being said, Switzerland is not the worst place - language and other support - wise, to be a foreign new kid. The teachers are great IMHO.

Last edited by greenmount; 11.10.2021 at 14:38.
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Old 11.10.2021, 14:48
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Re: international or local school

Mine was in the UK - so GCSE's 3 years later, in a comprehensive school ( no 11+ exams) so no issue.

In Switzerland, 10-11 is a very important year.
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Old 11.10.2021, 15:03
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Re: international or local school

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I am curious....why do you think Swiss kindergarten is a waste of time?
What should be more "academic"....in kindergarten?
Teach the little darlings to read! It would transform the Swiss education system if all kids were taught to read and write in kindergarten.

Although I know two educationalists who a) agree but also b) know that it wouldn't work for a significant minority of kids.
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Old 11.10.2021, 15:10
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Re: international or local school

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Yes, kids adapt, but who the hell are we to push them into cold water? Just saying..
Well that's a parents job, to sometimes make very tough decisions on their kids future. Whether or not they always turn out to be the right decisions is something else entirely... I think we have all been victims of this at some point in our lives!
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Old 11.10.2021, 16:15
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Re: international or local school

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Teach the little darlings to read! It would transform the Swiss education system if all kids were taught to read and write in kindergarten.

Although I know two educationalists who a) agree but also b) know that it wouldn't work for a significant minority of kids.
Well, in my experience they learn a lot of things in kindergarten, including some basic numeracy and literacy skills. My kids knew all the numbers and letters and could read many words even before going to kindergarten so probably I take it for granted. I personally like everything they learn(ed) there, including all those regular trips to the woods, the fact that those who need it get a lot of special help etc. And I am happy they are still allowed to be kids.

I suppose they would change the system if they'd think they could replace it with something better in the long run.
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Old 11.10.2021, 16:32
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Re: international or local school

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Well, in my experience they learn a lot of things in kindergarten, including some basic numeracy and literacy skills. My kids knew all the numbers and letters and could read many words even before going to kindergarten so probably I take it for granted. I personally like everything they learn(ed) there, including all those regular trips to the woods, the fact that those who need it get a lot of special help etc. And I am happy they are still allowed to be kids.

I suppose they would change the system if they'd think they could replace it with something better in the long run.
yes. very basic. and when you consider it can be as late as 5 years old when kids start KG and then are only learning the basics of numbers and letters, IMO the kids are way behind the curve. i'm not even talking about Asian extremes (where a colleague told me that they're taking 2 weeks off from work to tutor their kids ahead of their exams as well as paying for a lot of external tutors) - it's also behind other neighbouring countries where they start earlier and have a much more rigorous/academic syllabus.
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Old 11.10.2021, 18:01
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Re: international or local school

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yes. very basic. and when you consider it can be as late as 5 years old when kids start KG and then are only learning the basics of numbers and letters, IMO the kids are way behind the curve. i'm not even talking about Asian extremes (where a colleague told me that they're taking 2 weeks off from work to tutor their kids ahead of their exams as well as paying for a lot of external tutors) - it's also behind other neighbouring countries where they start earlier and have a much more rigorous/academic syllabus.
I think we have been through this discussion over and over again. They do catch up.

The difference is the Swiss don't have to move to any (neighbouring) country for a better or simply a better payed job...
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Old 11.10.2021, 18:14
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Re: international or local school

The Swiss philosophy is very much playbased in KG. They learn to read within just a few months once they actually start reading instruction in grade one. This may seem slow for people from other countries but by third or fourth grade their reading capability is comparable (of course in the other language). It is only a problem when switching school systems within those years, because the systems really don't align.
So if you are only here for a couple of years, this may not work in your favour. The younger child will be behind in reading when you return, the older child may struggle with the language switch.
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Old 11.10.2021, 21:26
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Re: international or local school

Retired teacher here... Masters in Elementary Ed... I like the idea of play based education for children at the KG age. I think it's ridiculous to force learning on little ones at that age. Most children will let you know themselves if they are ready for reading.
Modeling reading (by parents and older siblings) is a good start, reading to them, and having plenty of books available, even while they are pre-readers makes a lot more sense than making young kids read, especially in a classroom setting (many children are turned off by the pressure) before they are ready.
We chose more play for our daughter, and when she entered first grade, she recognized a bit more than half of the alphabet, and could write her name. She more than caught up when she was ready. Before our move to Switzerland, as a third grader (age nine), she was reading on a sixth grade level (age twelve), with great confidence as well as self motivation.
Making children read before they are ready provides no real benefits - I've never met an adult and thought, "Gee, they are so intelligent, I bet they were reading at age four."
Allowing kids to play helps develop other skills that are more important, whether gross motor skills or social skills, for their age.

Regarding the OPs question, about choosing international school or a local Swiss one... it's a very personal choice, and depends on your child, your family situation, and what your goals are for them.
I was initially dead set on having our kid attend one of the Ecolint schools in Geneva right off the bat, especially as I'm a great fan of the IB program. However, having done more research and talking with my wife and daughter, she's now at the local elementary school, and while she's just started, it's a good fit for us so far.
Some backstory:
I'm a dual citizen, but grew up in the US mainly, with time spent in other nations. My wife is Japanese. We wound up paying a small fortune for our daughter's IB education at a good international in a small Japanese city for her first five years of school - early childhood 3 and 4, KG, 1, and 2. Japanese education is very good at making Japanese people - but mixed race kids can have a lot of problems there, especially if the family doesn't conform to Japanese standards. Besides race being an issue, gender roles are really reinforced there, in a most cringeworthy manner. So she did the IB and we came to really like it. A lot.
Before our move she did do one and a half months of Japanese public school, and that reinforced our opinion that the IB was better for her - she hated the conformity of the Japanese school, especially the girls having to girl things, and the boys getting more options and attention.
In Geneva we've found that the public schools have got a pretty solid reputation for teaching newcomers the local language (French) and we plan on staying for a while, so our plan is to have her do two years of public school and take advantage of learning French, and then likely to return to the IB in middle school.
This way she gets to bump up her language, she gets to meet local kids, and she already has a solid IB mentality from her first few years of school. She won't lose that mindset, and when she returns to the IB, she should be able to jump right back into it fairly easily. And she'll have a third language (French to join her English and Japanese), most other educators I've discussed this with (at least a dozen) concur, but that's also due to her motivation. We move to Vaud in a couple of months when our house is ready, and she will attend the local school there as well
And if she winds up faltering in Swiss school, we can always put her back in an international school sooner.
Now some things that we weren't initially aware of were how it's pretty important to have a parent ready at home to help out if the child attends Swiss school. I'm retired and so I have projects that I can work on at my pace, so I'm around. My wife travels a lot for her work, and when on mission, can be away for months at a time. My daughter's school runs from 8 to 11:30, with a two hour lunch break that she comes home for, and then back from 1:30 through 4:00. And no school on Wednesday afternoons. If I was working full time, we couldn't do this... she'd either have to be signed up for the school canteen (I have no idea how to do this yet), or she'd be better off with full days at the international school. In Japan, I had to bring her and pick her up daily, so I am already used to planning g my day around her school schedule.
You know your situation best, good luck, I hope it works out for the best.
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  #33  
Old 11.10.2021, 21:44
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Re: international or local school

I'd def put the 4 year old in local school, the 8 year old as well if they are the kind of kid that doesn't mind being thrown in the deep end (if they are anxious then maybe international school would be better).

Personally, I'd put learning a language well, at a young age, above being perfectly up-to-date with general education in the home country. Learning a language later in life is a b*tch, catching up with other subjects would be no where near as difficult. I wish I'd had the chance to grow up bi-lingual as a kid.
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Old 11.10.2021, 21:48
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Re: international or local school

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I'd def put the 4 year old in local school, the 8 year old as well if they are the kind of kid that doesn't mind being thrown in the deep end (if they are anxious then maybe international school would be better).

Personally, I'd put learning a language well, at a young age, above being perfectly up-to-date with general education in the home country. Learning a language later in life is a b*tch, catching up with other subjects would be no where near as difficult. I wish I'd had the chance to grow up bi-lingual as a kid.
Exactly, it depends on the kid in a lot of ways, but mine seems to really want/have talent for languages... so the public works for this nine year old.
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Old 12.10.2021, 10:03
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Re: international or local school

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Retired teacher here... Masters in Elementary Ed... I like the idea of play based education for children at the KG age. I think it's ridiculous to force learning on little ones at that age.
Just wondering, given your strong statement about young kids learning - when did you do your Masters? Best practice does change over time.
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Old 12.10.2021, 11:42
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Just wondering, given your strong statement about young kids learning - when did you do your Masters? Best practice does change over time.
I did my Masters in 2003 to 2004. I also have done IB certs since then as well as continuously read up on the subject of teaching/learning reading, acquisition of language, and related topics. It’s all fascinating to me.
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Old 12.10.2021, 11:58
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Re: international or local school

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Just wondering, given your strong statement about young kids learning - when did you do your Masters? Best practice does change over time.
This article might be of interest to you, the paragraphs that I selected worked with me particularly well while I came out of my retirement for a couple of years and worked as the children's librarian and ESL support at my daughter's (previous) school.

"A comprehensive approach also includes providing time for studying spoken language, including vocabulary and spelling. It also calls for providing explicit comprehension instruction through having kids respond to texts through writing, talking, acting it out or drawing. Teaching higher-order critical thinking skills , such as prediction and reflection about stories, helps kids get the hang of reading as well.

Perhaps ironically and despite the decades-long and sometimes heated debate over what teaching methods work best, there are no reliable data about which methods U.S. teachers use most to teach kids."

https://theconversation.com/theres-m...to-read-128509

In particular, the section on teaching higher order critical thinking skills to young readers, pre-readers, and readers acquiring a new language (most of mine had Japanese, Chinese, or Korean skills already) is something that I've found to work. I would discuss stories with the children before and after reading them. I would also plan a particular skill that I wanted my students to come away with. Pre-readers can certainly learn prediction, as well as pick out the climax, or recognize the roles of characters such as protagonists and antagonists. These skills will often help them to better follow stories and understand text when they start reading on their own. Neil Gaiman resonates with me quite frequently, here's a terrific article that he's written on libraries.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...ng-daydreaming

Last edited by MattyRedSox; 12.10.2021 at 12:16.
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Old 12.10.2021, 20:54
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Re: international or local school

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Perhaps ironically and despite the decades-long and sometimes heated debate over what teaching methods work best, there are no reliable data about which methods U.S. teachers use most to teach kids."
There is quite a bit of reliable data about which methods US teachers use most to teach kids (how to read). Reading instruction evolved over time to the current, often piecemeal, ad hoc balanced literacy approach which serves few children well (see the current data you posted re: only 1/3 of American students read at or above proficiency levels). Current reading research can be found in the National Reading Panel Report (2020).

https://www.apmreports.org/episode/2...taught-to-read.

also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxx7hs0qdKQ

I don't want to further hijack the OP's post, but feel free to message me if you want more resources or want to debate with another educator.
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Old 12.10.2021, 21:33
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Re: international or local school

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Exactly, it depends on the kid in a lot of ways, but mine seems to really want/have talent for languages... so the public works for this nine year old.
I am surprised to hear several complaining about the lack of formal 'learning' - reading in particular, in Swiss kindergarten. Because so many expats I know send their kids to Montessori or Steiner schools- because they find the Swiss system too formal?

As said several times, Swiss kids catch up very quickly once they get started. My kids grew up in UK and started school at 5, but both could read well by then- because at home we read a lot, without any formal teaching.
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Old 12.10.2021, 21:44
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Re: international or local school

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I am surprised to hear several complaining about the lack of formal 'learning' - reading in particular, in Swiss kindergarten. Because so many expats I know send their kids to Montessori or Steiner schools- because they find the Swiss system too formal?
Maybe its an interpretation of the word formal, but I think it could mean there is a high reliance on rote learning in the CH system. Also not a lot of flexibility, one has to conform and fit in. Kids are a spectrum, CH system fits the middle majority, those at further ends of of the spectrum tend to have issues.
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