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  #21  
Old 03.08.2011, 01:23
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

Thank you all for your contributions. Him learning the language is key and has got to be done right otherwise we will find ourselves back to the starting point again.

I am so grateful for your responses and trust me I am feeling better. My point of view is slowly changing.

We however want him to come back to the UK to board for his GCSE's going up!

So we need to make sure he will be at the same stage if not higher with his peers in the UK.

Exciting times ahead I must say...
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  #22  
Old 03.08.2011, 10:27
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

my two pence...

I was removed from the French school system where I had been placed a year ahead of my class because I was an early bloomer, both concerning basic math and language skills. We moved to Amsterdam when I was 6 years old and I was taken out of the public French school system into the private international school system.

The new school convinced my reluctant parents that I should not be allowed to stay a year ahead and should join the other 6-year-olds - and even if I was a bit bored they claimed that this year would be mostly spent learning English as a foreign language.

I picked up English in six months. And was completely destabilised by how slow I found the regular classes - because the French school system is more advanced, I was probably technically two whole years back. They deconstructed my handwriting (I wrote "cursive" which I was not allowed and was re-taught "script" since cursive only happens later in the international school system)... and I was bored for a good 2-3 years.

I think I became lazy and by 12 years old my grades started to suffer because I just didn't know what hard homework meant.

Trust your instincts. You know your child. The school is not always right.
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  #23  
Old 03.08.2011, 10:33
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

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I picked up English in six months. And was completely destabilised by how slow I found the regular classes - because the French school system is more advanced, I was probably technically two whole years back. They deconstructed my handwriting (I wrote "cursive" which I was not allowed and was re-taught "script" since cursive only happens later in the international school system)... and I was bored for a good 2-3 years.
Haha (not in a insensitive way!). Very near to my experience when I went from the French system (ironically enough in The Hague) to an English boarding school...

Added to that I had to go in a French class (as a native speaker of 5+ years) where everyone else was busy learning "le, la and les"...
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  #24  
Old 03.08.2011, 11:07
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

Our experience from our now 8 year old son is that it really does depend on the child, but my strong advice is not to go into this already worried and on the look out for trouble. Many good posts have been made about your child needing time to learn German (very very true) and I would also like to stick up for Swiss kindergarten system - certainly in our kindergarten I was truly impressed about how complicated they could make things without any of the children actually being able to read or write - there were complicated systems for different tasks that they had to follow and I was satisfied that this was more than stretching their brains.

However as also noted, not system can be perfect and the early years UK and CH system are dramatically different. My feeling is however that the CH system is far better suited to more children at these ages, although not all.

Which takes me back to my son, who moved over here just 4 years old and had to wait 9 months before starting kindergarten. In the first year, he was quiet and observed a lot, joined in on the periphery and basically transformed from the loud, bright, outspoken child I had hitherto known. I was really, really worried. But it is a long game. So hold your nerve. As after 6 months or so he gradually started integrating more and more and joining in more and more and by the end of the first year, the teachers reported his language skills were on a par with his age group. Alas along with his awakening language skills came his awakening sense of criticism and - to cut a long a story short - after his teacher repeatedly being unable to deal with his wish for everything to go faster, be more, louder, take over etc etc - we finally got help from the Cantonal educational service and he was moved up a year into Primary 1 half way through second kindergarten. This move has been proved to suit him. He is doing well but there are always concerns that now he is so much younger than his peer group, but in his case, the negative effects of this were felt to outweigh the positive effects of more intellectual challenges from formal learning.

The reason I go into quite so much detail is to reassure you that we have found the system to be really good. They went out of their way to help him integrate in the first place, and - with the exception of his kindergarten teacher who couldn't really cope with his high antics and enthusiasm, all the teachers have also gone out of their way to assist. And I cannot praise the services of the cantonal education service who exhaustively assessed the whole situation and were the voice of calm and reason.

So my conclusion is - lots of posters here have made really really good points and do take them on board - and unless you - as his mother have concrete concerns which you can take already to the Gemeinde and school board with a view to getting him either moved up and/or getting him involved in a gifted children's extra curricular programme (which will only really happen when he has mastered at a little German) , then go into the system at the correct entry point and work with it. At the end of the day, teachers are highly trained professionals and whilst their opinions may vary, they all want whats best for the child - and I have yet to encounter a teacher who was being unfair to my child "just for the hell of it" (although there was a special needs assessor who was pretty extreme but then everyone else realised that and paid not much attention to her ..) And enjoy watching your child loving to do the things all kids of his age love without the fear of him missing out on class or something vital. Kindergarten years are great times both for the children and the parent.

oh and above all, stay calm and cool - which I know - is really not easy!
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  #25  
Old 03.08.2011, 11:31
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

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It's more than enough

After a year of Swiss Kindy, a native English speaking 5/12 yr old will be speaking fluent Swiss German.

It goes like this:
first 3 months: look, listen, don't talk much
second 3 months: talking starts, vocab grows immensely
After 6 months: no trouble communicating in Swiss German
After 12 months: hardly distinguishable from the locals, language skills so advanced, the child makes the parent jealous...
No not always! My daughter took a bit longer as the children started to try to talk to her in English so the teacher had to intervene. It also depends on how you primarily remember things-some people have a visual memory, others what you hear is remembered.
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  #26  
Old 03.08.2011, 13:16
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Re: Worried about which Grade my son will start

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If you are going to CH for the short term, stay private. If you are here for longer term, you'll need to adapt to the local system - unless you are going to be one of those can we afford to live on 500,000 CHF a year families. They don't start primary school until 6 and have a slow and steady approach to learning the basics before a steepening of the learning curve.
That is very good advice. It really depends on where you will be living in the long run. If you'll be here for just a couple of years maybe the international school would be a good alternative.
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