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Old 18.01.2011, 08:52
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School - Vaud

Hello,

We have recently moved to Switzerland and my daughter started in a private bilingual school in Montreux in September. Before we arrived she had attended ecole maternelle in France since she was 3 (she is 5 now).

She should be in enfantine 1 as she was born in Aug 2005, but because of her 2 years of school in France they put her in enfantine 1 and 2 classes, which we were happy about.

We would like her to go to a public school next year, but as she turns 6 in August I wanted to know if this means that she can not start primary school? Or will they take into account her ability as the private school did last year?

I know the best action is to ask the schools, which I will do, but I was just interested if anybody had an idea or an experience.

The other issue will be the school hours / cantine and after school garderie as both me and the mum work full time. I had heard that public schools don't have friendly hours.

Thanks for your feedback.

Alex
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Old 18.01.2011, 10:08
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Re: School - Vaud

Per HarmoS, as of 2011, Vaud changes the cut off to 31 July. Thus those that turn 4 by 31 July are expected in 1ere enfantine in September. There has been a 2 month flex window in the past (old cut off of 30 June), but not sure if and how it will operate under HarmoS--ie. if born in May or June, parents could request delay, if born in July or August, parents could request acceleration. From what I've heard, this was only a possiblity of request by the parents, and the school did not have to grant it. For example, know a child born in July, parents requested accelaeration, school said no, end of discussion.

Thus, looks like your child misses the official cut off, in born in Aug. Will have to look around to see if the old flex period of 2 months is still operating under new HarmoS or not. If not, I'm afraid the school will be very strict and the answer will likely be no.

Edited to add--I had understood HarmoS deadline would be implemented in VD in 2011, but the Vaud schooling webpage is still indicating the old cut off dates, so not sure if they are slow in updating webpage or HarmoS cut off not yet implemented in Vaud. Best to check with your local school on the cut off date that will apply when you want to put your child in the school. Also, the HarmoS accord, art. 5, does not have the 2 month flex window.

Last edited by runningdeer; 18.01.2011 at 10:24.
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Old 18.01.2011, 11:36
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Re: School - Vaud

I would bank on there not being a flex window simply because of numbers; assuming the change in date does take place this year, then the classes will already have 13 months' worth of kids because of the previous cut-off of 30 June.
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Old 18.01.2011, 14:02
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Re: School - Vaud

i cant comment on the entry level but i can tell you that most of the swiss local schools have a break from 11.30am until 2pm in which your daughter would come home for lunch, and they also finish early on Wednesdays, however i do know Ecole Nouville provide lunch...for a fee i am sure
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Old 22.06.2011, 21:59
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Re: School - Vaud

We are moving to the Vaud area soon and hope to sign on an apartment in St. Prex this week. If this apartment works out then we would enroll our children to the public/local school. Can anyone tell me specifically about the local schools for the little ones (ages 2 and 5) in this canton? We do not speak any French but I am hopeful the children will pick it up "effortlessly" as the really young ones are apt to do. I have a concern when communicating with teachers in the future though as I have not proven to pick up any foreign languages easily. I have read that there are a lot of local schools along the lake that have worked to incorporate all the foreign families and their children. Is St. Prex one of these areas? Any thoughts, experiences or ideas of how to find out about this area would be appreciated.
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Old 22.06.2011, 22:12
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Re: School - Vaud

schools in montreux (and lausanne) are quite the same. for enfantine, most schools are half days- mornings for year 1/2 and no school on wednesdays.

starting at primary- year 1, the hours are most often m/t, th/f from 8:30 until about 11 or 12, a lunch break until 2 and then class until 3/4pm. wednesdays are then until 11/12 and then done for the day, assuming most kids go to sports/activities. you would have to check with montreux as to whether they offer apems for lunch and there is the option of apems for afterschool care, though again check with them as to availability and hours. most parents leave their kids in private schools for enfantine because of the crazy hours and then put students in public schools once they enter the primary years. you can also check with local parents/friends to see if you can work out a plan to put a few kids together for lunchtime care/after-school care, etc. or switch off between families.

in regards to the 2 year old, creche would be your option, though for a public one expect to wait at least 1.5 years as the list is long and options limited. most expats (and swiss, at this point) turn to a private creche or maman du jour, or some other option.
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Old 22.06.2011, 22:12
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Re: School - Vaud

I believe there are two schools in St Prex (have friends who live there) and where you live in the village will determine which school you get; I think it's based on which side of the railway tracks.

My friends are certainly very happy with their children's school; I've heard nothing but good things about it. And my guess would be that both schools would be great at accommodating non-French speakers, as there are so many multinational companies in this area.

My daughter started age 4.5 in enfantine with no French at all. She was understanding everything after 6 months, had basic conversational French after 12 months (she was a bit shy of speaking at first), was fluent but with a reduced vocabulary after 2 years, and is now finishing 1st grade aged 7.5 with no discernible difference between her and the others.

And every teacher I've ever met, across 2 children and 3 different school years, speaks at least enough English for communication; 2 of them even arranged, much to our surprise, to have a bilingual colleague for Parents' Evenings in case they or we got bogged down in their basic English and my (then) basic French.

St Prex is a beautiful, cosmopolitan village with lots of other incoming Anglophones; I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
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Old 25.06.2011, 22:02
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Re: School - Vaud

Thanks, for the reassurance about schools specifically in St. Prex. It has been really helpful gaining an understanding about how the public schools operate in Switzerland. Your posts are much appreciated!
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