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Old 13.01.2011, 12:33
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Opinion Required - Marie Curie French School

Hi there,

My daughter is 4 and half and been in the Swiss school system in Kindergarten since September 2010. Previous to that she was in the Kindergruppe from January 2010 till August 2010.

This choice was made because I am French and my husband is English - so 2 languages at home. We put her in the Kindergruppe to make sure she started to have an understanding and not to be too traumatised with the transition.

My daughter is not very easy .. she takes a little while to open up as they say ... and eventually she gets to her normal self. I don't have a problem with it although sometimes it is difficult I must admit but the thought of her making her own mind is a very grown up things to do.

However, she doesn't seems to be happy at her kindergarten. I think there is little or no connection with her teacher ...
I went in her class for a morning last December and Louise (my daughter) was very distant (looking at her shoes, playing with her zip) .. the teacher tried to take her hand to make her do something but she pull it away and then looked at me and started crying. Her teacher then told me (in front of her and all the pupils) 'this is what she does all the time - she doesn't want to talk or to participate' ... I was shocked and waited till we were only the 2 of us to tell her to never speak about her like this again in front of the whole class!
At the school one to one parent/teacher reunion - she said that she was too young (ok she is 6 weeks younger than the other one and should ahve started in 2011) - then that we should drop a language at home (I replied that she should drop a language at school too because she teaches them German and Swiss German - but anyway it was too late because she speaks to me in French and English to her dad) ... anyway lots of negative things ...
Also she said that she only seems to connect with one or 2 children but is happy to play on her own too.

Anyway, as mentioned .. she is a bright (fully bilingual and now she sings in German to her little sister, she knows some words although she gets sometimes shy with me but I accept that and never force her - when she wants she teaches me her songs) .. but she is a very quiet little girl in general BUT she is always willing. For example she cried when we started dropping her off to school but yet she was taking her clothes off.

However I have some different reports from other people.
At her cantine - she seems quiet but happy and apparently she starts talking... she also plays nicely with one or 2 children sometimes ...
At her German lesson (organised by the school)- she repeats (her teacher says that she does it quietly but the lips are moving)...
At her swimming lessons - she started last Monday and yes again she was shy and quiet but she did everything that the teacher told her to do (ok she looked at me sometimes)...
With her friends - I have a 4-5 friends with about 7-10kids and they all play well and laugh and fight .. normal kids stuff...

I am just confused and don't know what to do for her.

1- should I just pursue and keep her there and hopefully she will open up ... it's just a matter of time
2- should I ask the headmaster to change her class but then is she going to settle? I am not too sure she will miss anybody but if I move her - she might ask for the kids ...
2- I have enquired for a French school and she has got a place asap if I want. Money if not an issue as I just want to do what's best for her. I just wonder if she will be happier with a language she knows...

Can you please give me your thoughts or maybe somebody went through the same thing as we do ...

Thank you very much and sorry for the long scenario!

Signed - a mom who doesn't know what to do.
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Old 13.01.2011, 12:56
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Re: Opinion Required - Marie Curie French School

I am no expert, but I have two adult daughters in England and two adult children here in Berne.

My feelings are that you are worrying her too much, you should back off and let her be a girl. You should take her to school and leave the teacher to do her best.

There are bad teachers, but my main complaint is they all try to create little Swissies: very little individual creativity or character is expected. She will be groomed towards the Swiss schooling system, and that is fine, but how long do you intend to stay in Zurich? Have you noticed how all the Swiss have a similar handwriting? They all have to write exactly the same, and they spend hours and hours getting it perfect!

I know nothing of the Marie Curie School, but I think she would settle there better as she will not be in a strange third language environment. I am tri-lingual, and I know that the cultures are different, and for a four year old it is maybe too much of a "good" thing.

But for goodness sake leave her alone and trust the professionals to do their job.

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Old 13.01.2011, 13:10
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Re: Opinion Required - Marie Curie French School

Thank you for your advice Ittigen.
We are looking to stay here till the end of the year.
I know I worry probably too much but I just can't help it.
This is why this forum is about I guess.
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