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  #41  
Old 07.01.2011, 11:12
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

It's really hard seeing your kid having a tough time because of language barriers, but it honestly does seem to get easier with a bit of time. We were in the same situation as many others on this thread last year, regarding mutliple languages, speech delays and kindergarten.

When we are all together, as a family, we speak in English but when I am not around, my wife speaks to our daughter only in Polish (to my shame I have proved abysmal at learning Polish!). Much to my wife's despair though, our daughter flatly refused to speak back to her in Polish.

When she started Swiss kindergarten last August she was the only non-Swiss person there and didn't know any Swiss German at all; it was really tough at times both for her and for us as none of the kids would/could play with her. Thankfully the woman that runs the kindergarten has been very supportive, but also very strict about speaking English to her only when it's clear she absolutely cannot understand what is expected of her. Now, after 5 months or so, she has been pretty much accepted by her classmates and rattles off phrases to the other children in Swiss German that my wife and I can only guess the meanings of (we're both learning but it's a long, slow process!). An added bonus is that it also appears to have given her the confidence to start speaking Polish to my wife.

We also discovered that although initially rather shy, most of the other Swiss parents speak very passable English and were actually very curious about us. My wife subsequently has invited many of them (and their kids, obviously) around for a coffee which has made both her life and our daughter's much more enjoyable.
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  #42  
Old 13.01.2011, 15:36
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hello,

I had the same problem and now I found a place that I am very happy with.
My 3 year old is at Kinder Haus Limmat. www.kinderhaus-limmat.ch

They speak English and are very nice. It is run by Simone and Stefan.

It is a modern bright room set up in the Montessori style and located on the 13 tram line.

Good luck with your search!
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  #43  
Old 25.01.2011, 21:27
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

My 4 year old is at a jardin d'enfants in Vaud and is v. bored. She does colouring in and basic bricolage etc. [particularly uninspiring stuff]. At home she is reading basic 'cvc' words and starting to write letters. This is all normal stuff for her age, not exceptional.

I asked her teacher whether she could continue with reading and writing at school, and she said she had no 'right' to do that. She also (rather stupidly and sarcastically) suggested that if she is so clever, that I put her straight into first grade.

Has anyone else experienced this backward we-will-not-let-your-child-develop attitude? Is it true that she is forbidden by the law to help children to read and write?

Also, if anyone has an idea of who I can take this up with at a higher level (e.g. local council, canton ministry of education), I'd be grateful. We moved here fairly recently.

Thanks.
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  #44  
Old 26.01.2011, 08:12
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I had the same problem last year with my older. After 4 years in the British System she had to attend kindergarten here. This year she would be in Year 2 but here she is only doing her second year of kindy and will only start primary school next year. I had the same concerns and frustration as you and we even tried to have her started primary school this year but our case was rejected. In the end, I swallowed my pride and accepted the fact that it was for the best and that if I have enrolled my daughter in the local system then I have to accept how it is run. Now my daughter has no problem with High German and the dialect.
To keep her literacy skills to a certain level, she attends once a week a reading & writing class at the English playgroup/school of Berm. Try to see if you have the same kind of language schools where you live.

Yes she is now 1 year behind her French and German cousins and 2 years behind her British friends but none of them speak 3 languages!

If your daughter is bored at school , try to keep her busy with extra activities. My daughter is taking part in extra stuff every pm.

And you lucky here in canton bern, my younger would not start kindergarten before aug 2013 on her 5th bithday!
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  #45  
Old 26.01.2011, 09:01
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Has anyone else experienced this backward we-will-not-let-your-child-develop attitude? Is it true that she is forbidden by the law to help children to read and write?
If your child is in the public school system here in Vaud, enfantine 1 & 2, they do not do the 3 Rs (reading, writing, arithimetic) until 6 years old, ie. 1ere primaire level.

Some friends of ours had the exact same experience as you when going to the public school orientation, their daughter had been in Montesorri school for 1-2 years prior, and was starting to read/write and specifically asking to read/write. The parents heard from the director's speech that they only do organised play at best, so asked if a child was ready, would they help or encourage or even teach the 3 R's at enfantine level. The answer was a resounding 'No' and the attitude and way he said it even made it worse. They literally ran out of there and signed their daughter up to a private school and never looked back.

From all that I know, yes it is true that they will not teach 3 R's at enfantine level, and certainly won't cater to individual needs. There is something in Vaud called the master teaching plan, which outlines what is taught at the various year levels and this is more or less a guideline/soft law that teachers/schools have to follow and there is nothing about real teaching for the enfantine levels.

Going to a private school is probably the best option, nearly all the schools in the area I've looked into teach 3 R's at age 4, and some even do pre-reading at age 3. And you wouldn't be the first parent to do this in response to the no early learning approach of the system, I know many many others who chose this route for similar reasons.
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  #46  
Old 12.04.2011, 11:08
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Are you 100% sure it was sarcastic? It sounds like other people in your area have had similar experiences, but I thought I'd ask because where we are (in Central Switzerland) it is actually a perfectly acceptable option to bump your child up a year if the teacher and parents feel they are ready for real school. Of course, her understanding of French would have to be good enough to cope. Our son is five and he also writes and reads cvc, and is in the first year of Kindergarten. I'm waiting to see whether his teacher suggests he can move up next year - his German is pretty good - but I think emotionally he may not be mature enough yet.

My suggestion would be to just carry on reading with her yourself at home so she gets really good at it in English before she has to start learning different letter sounds in French.

Another question to ask yourself would be whether your daughter is genuinely bored or just says she's bored because she doesn't understand what's going on a lot of the time (if her French is still not too good). Four year olds don't necessarily have the verbal and mental skills to understand and specify that their boredom is to do with not being able to communicate! If that's the problem, she should be much happier by June.

And this isn't just a Swiss thing by the way. My mother taught all of us to read fluently by the time we were three (we lived abroad at the time) and when we returned to the UK when I was 4, and all the other children were just learning cvc (I was reading Enid Blyton and loving it) the normal school was distinctly unhelpful. My parents put me in a private school instead, where they taught two levels in the same classroom, whcih meant I could do the more advanced stuff where necessary and I got on fine. Not saying that to boast - the credit is entirely my mother's, as I know from trying to teach my son - just to say that many school teachers, when presented with a child who is way ahead of the rest of the group, will react how your daughter's teacher has even if the system doesn't force them to hold the child back.

Good luck finding something that keeps everyone happy!
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  #47  
Old 12.04.2011, 11:23
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I quite like the fact that kids are able to be kids for a longer here. My sister in the UK said she is struggling with the amount of homework her 8 and 4 year old girls bring home during the week.

4-5 year olds seem to have so much pressure put on them from the get-go (well, at their school near Manchester, anyway). They have little tests and assessments quite frequently and, as my sister says, her 4 year old copes pretty well because she had the 8 year old forcing schoolwork on her from when she was 18 months old but there are kids that come out of school at 3pm looking half dead with exhaustion.

I'm quite glad that school isn't so pressured for kids here for the first couple of years. There's plenty of time for that in the years to come.

Also, my husband and his siblings went through this Swiss system and all have turned out well-rounded with great careers and multi-lingual capabilities.

On the whole (obviously there are going to be exceptions) I think this system is pretty good.
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  #48  
Old 12.04.2011, 14:12
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I completely get the gripe. I am not somebody who appreciates understimulation myself, and after our 1st parent réunion enfantine as they call it here, I was thinking hard. I have gone through major developmental psy and edu psy training, so I do know there are children who simply do not catch up (cognitively, discipline wise, organisational, perseverence, motoric skills) when they happen to not have their brains stimulated enough at that sensitive, open and curious phase in the brain development.

I think, like with anything, it depends how you word it. I went to the director of primaire here in the region, after she had a welcoming speech. I praised the obvious positives of CH public schooling and introduced my child, ie how we work with 3 languages, how happy we are with preschool, what I know of CH that makes schools a fab place for an immigrant child to get socialized. Then, I talked of my work, since I am a public teacher here. Then, I moved to what my concerns were.

It seems to me, after a long period of ignoring all sorts of cognitive troubles and differentiating teaching kids with different skills and problem areas in this country, they are going over board the other way now. The main theme is: we are sure there will be something wrong with your child, so, while we are slowing down for all to have a gentle pace, to enable all to succeed, your child will benefit when he/she encounters her/his own difficulties. Basically, the welcoming speech was all about handicaps and how they are addressed. Not a word of skills, positives, stimulation, motivation, working hard, praising success. It was all about clinical support, no faith in kids. And, to top it off, friends were told how lovely it is to have a trisomic child participating in the class and having the class slowed down to the nursery level for long periods. I would have fainted. While I am all for integrating children, I think special ed for people who really need it didn't make it here yet. They seem to treat all kids between 4-7 as special ed kids. I am not sure how much confidence I have in this. They call it play, but kids need more than just disciplining, team rules and play. They need cognitive stimuli, they need to practice a lot more cerebral stuff to feed mental processes, they need academic tasks, not coloring, glue and scissors. Not just make folders of poorly copied sheets of papers and tables. All that can be explained and trained in a few months, not 3 years.

I explained my observations to the director and asked how is the system supporting kids who want to go faster, maybe for a reason of potential move back to our home country. I also said I am doing another ped degree and posting reports on the quality of schooling in CH all over professional teaching mags back home and how lovely it is for my home colleagues to read up on interesting Swiss way to approach multilinguism and equalize the push and stimulation from abroad. I was also quite critical of our own home method, explained it was all an experiment (they appreciate humility) and said maybe being a teacher has made me push our child a lot, but the fact is, she is fast and asked us for reading and writing at 3. She counts, her logic is good. I brought books from home and we have school at home, since she should be on par with her peers back home. The director said the class teacher should be helpful in synchronizing efforts with us, the curriculum, informing me where we are in it, so we can do simultaneously CZ/EN/CH. There are Wednesday morning classes for bright kids in canton VD, inquire in your primaire! There are courses organized by canton, to keep your child's mother tongue also developed (usually weekends). There is an option, to make two years in one, as well. So, there definitely are options, one just has to approach it the right way. It is also clear, it is not a foreign/local thing. My local friends have similar concerns, yet, it is harder for them to argue with the system than it is for us.

It is important to see the cultural difference and value it. Never bark, start on the good note and appreciate the positives that are there. Then, present your own efforts and how you have already worked with your child, not only what you expect from a local system to give you for free. Then, suggest how you could coordinate with the teacher, not how you want the teacher to change to fit your edu theory (there is a reason for private school and int. schools, so you may as well just go there instead).

It is a tad unfair to ask a whole system to change because of us, even though it would be a good change. They will eventually do it, I think they do have to step up with the quality of teachers, often, and it is not a fast reform to execute. The coordination amongst 4 cultures, all those cantons and 20% of foreigners, the fight to keep traditional ways, the modern push, it is a lot to deal with. If you do not want to be diplomatic and not do work at home with your child, while he/she is soaking up the local lingo, just move on to the international/private sector and pay for their service.

Besides, nothing stops moms to organize their own homestudy, homeschooling group to teach together, to take turns and swap classes in the afternoon (3rs, etc), etc. I even found a half Czech neighbor who wants to have her child tutored, it is easy to do the same with a group of English teaching kids once a week, and volunteer. Who says you can only teach kids academic stuff in the morning
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Last edited by MusicChick; 13.04.2011 at 18:50.
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  #49  
Old 19.08.2011, 10:20
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Thought I would update this thread, as there has been a boom in new private school (private and international) offerings in the La Cote area, (area between Geneva and Lausanne), this year. Many new international companies and people, thus demand has far outstripped supply in recent years. At least 3 new schools this year, and I don't believe all of them have been listed yet on the private school directories, so here is what I know from reading the local papers and from personal knowledge.

Three new offerings:

Ecole Saint-Exupery http://www.saint-exupery.ch/index_en.html
Lake Leman International School http://www.llis.ch/
Lycee Pareto, new campus in Mies http://www.liceo-pareto.ch/

Other private schools in the La Cote area that are not so new, although many have been established in very recent years:

La Cote International School http://www.international-school.org/...al-school.html
Mont Olivet http://www.montolivet.ch/
Ecole Moser Nyon http://www.ecolemoser.ch/fr/nyon.html
Ecole Courte Echelle http://www.courte-echelle.ch/
Champittet Nyon http://www.champittet.ch/fr/nyon/
Ecole Montessori La Cote http://www.ch-montessori.ch/
International Montessori School http://www.emontessori.org/
Institut Le Rosey http://www.rosey.ch
La Chat campus of the Geneva International School http://www.ecolint.ch/campuses/la-chataigneraie


Please note that not all of them offer classes to all ages of students, the choice of language instruction differs (some bi-lingual or multi-lingual), and leading to many different degrees/qualifications, ie. Swiss Bacc., IB, French Bacc., etc.
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Old 04.12.2011, 11:52
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I know the University of Lausanne has a babysitting service: http://www.unil.ch/egalite/page88376.html
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  #51  
Old 10.04.2012, 09:15
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

We are looking for a Kinderkrippe in Basel at the moment and looking on the website www.kinderkrippen-online.ch.

Some of the facilities listed there are not members of Mitglied des Verbandes Kindertagesstätten der Schweiz (KiTaS).

Does anybody know the implications of this? They all look well run and reputable places, but is there an issue with them not having membership?

Thanks
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Old 10.04.2012, 17:46
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hi,

Thanks that is very helpful. We just moved to Neuchatel recently and I'm trying to get my head around the childcare system I have a 15 months old and a nearly 4 year old girl.
What do people here do generally about the long school breaks? If both parents are working this can become a bit of a problem.
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  #53  
Old 10.04.2012, 18:03
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Hi,

Thanks that is very helpful. We just moved to Neuchatel recently and I'm trying to get my head around the childcare system I have a 15 months old and a nearly 4 year old girl.
What do people here do generally about the long school breaks? If both parents are working this can become a bit of a problem.
I believe you will find that most families do not have 2 working parents...otherwise, I don't know the answer to your question
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  #54  
Old 10.04.2012, 18:23
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Hi,

Thanks that is very helpful. We just moved to Neuchatel recently and I'm trying to get my head around the childcare system I have a 15 months old and a nearly 4 year old girl.
What do people here do generally about the long school breaks? If both parents are working this can become a bit of a problem.
Where are you from clanash? Long school breaks are just as much a problem for working parents in the UK or France, or wherever really? Is it not a problem in your 'home' country?

And welcome to Neuchatel - so many new comers recently
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  #55  
Old 02.07.2012, 17:24
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Anyone with some experience or opinions on the following places in Lausanne?

La Pouponniere et L'Abri

Les Morronniers

Chailly

Mosaïque

Carambole
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  #56  
Old 03.07.2012, 07:36
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hi clanash,

have you found a good way of dealing with the school hours, yet? I'm curious because we're moving to Neuchatel in a few weeks ourselves and I'll have to juggle the schedules of a child in primaire, one in enfantine, and a little one at home.

I found a post in which the poster wrote about how her children thrived under this system (i.e. a break during the day and a shorter week for the younger kids). I appreciated that positive perspective.


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Hi,

Thanks that is very helpful. We just moved to Neuchatel recently and I'm trying to get my head around the childcare system I have a 15 months old and a nearly 4 year old girl.
What do people here do generally about the long school breaks? If both parents are working this can become a bit of a problem.
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  #57  
Old 06.07.2012, 16:51
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hello all,
I am sorry if I am asking a question that is somewhere on this board, I have had a brief look around and cannot find anything so here goes.

I am currently working in Basel on a UK secondment and have been since November, this may carry on for another year at least as of the end of September and so we have to make some decisions about maybe bringing the family over here. I have an 8 yr old daughter who we would have to take out of school in the UK so the options are to allow her to miss a year of school, put her into an international school (probably could not afford), put her into state school here or look at a Steiner school.
Unfortunately she does not have any German lanuage ability and also as I am on a UK secondment I do not pay swiss tax (yet), so how would that affect going into a state school ?

The Steiner schools in the UK are independent and you do have to pay a fee but it is a much more manageable fee and I would hope significantly less than the 24k CHF of the Int schools here. Does anyone know the costs and also is there a route in for a non German speaker.

Alternatively is there any home schooling ex pat groups that share the education of their kids between them ?

many thanks for any info you can give.

Shaun
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  #58  
Old 06.07.2012, 17:51
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Hello all,
I am sorry if I am asking a question that is somewhere on this board, I have had a brief look around and cannot find anything so here goes.

I am currently working in Basel on a UK secondment and have been since November, this may carry on for another year at least as of the end of September and so we have to make some decisions about maybe bringing the family over here. I have an 8 yr old daughter who we would have to take out of school in the UK so the options are to allow her to miss a year of school, put her into an international school (probably could not afford), put her into state school here or look at a Steiner school.
Unfortunately she does not have any German lanuage ability and also as I am on a UK secondment I do not pay swiss tax (yet), so how would that affect going into a state school ?

The Steiner schools in the UK are independent and you do have to pay a fee but it is a much more manageable fee and I would hope significantly less than the 24k CHF of the Int schools here. Does anyone know the costs and also is there a route in for a non German speaker.

Alternatively is there any home schooling ex pat groups that share the education of their kids between them ?

many thanks for any info you can give.

Shaun
Can't your company offer you a relocation package which includes school fees? There are many expats here with kids in the international system for which their company picks up the tab so it wouldn't be an unusual request.
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  #59  
Old 06.07.2012, 21:14
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

It is somegthing I am currently investigating but I am not relocating, just being seconded, they already pay my accomodation / bills / fortnightly travel to the UK and a daily living allowance. I just want to make sure my options are investigated before making a decsion (to maybe return to the UK).

cheers
Shaun
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  #60  
Old 06.07.2012, 22:04
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Hello all,
I am sorry if I am asking a question that is somewhere on this board, I have had a brief look around and cannot find anything so here goes.

I am currently working in Basel on a UK secondment and have been since November, this may carry on for another year at least as of the end of September and so we have to make some decisions about maybe bringing the family over here. I have an 8 yr old daughter who we would have to take out of school in the UK so the options are to allow her to miss a year of school, put her into an international school (probably could not afford), put her into state school here or look at a Steiner school.
Unfortunately she does not have any German lanuage ability and also as I am on a UK secondment I do not pay swiss tax (yet), so how would that affect going into a state school ?

The Steiner schools in the UK are independent and you do have to pay a fee but it is a much more manageable fee and I would hope significantly less than the 24k CHF of the Int schools here. Does anyone know the costs and also is there a route in for a non German speaker.

Alternatively is there any home schooling ex pat groups that share the education of their kids between them ?

many thanks for any info you can give.

Shaun
Ok, from what I know, but this may differ quite a bit because you are in Basel, I am in the french speaking area.

There are a few Steiner schools around here, they are independent but tend to teach the young primary levels, i.e. not sure what age they go up to, and the main language here is French, so assume the main instrution in Basel would be German. So not sure this would address your language issue.

As for homeschooling, search the forum, it is very restrictive here in CH, especially in the german speaking area, and it may not even be possible, i.e. different cantons have different rules and you may need to be a qualified teacher and teach the canton curriculum, thus german, etc.. to be able to do it.

If you are officially resident here, I believe schooling is available to you regardless if you pay tax here or not.
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