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Old 28.09.2011, 09:42
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

I agree with most of the other posters on here. We only arrived last november and my son was in the last year of primary but they did loads of things. Walks, visits, St Nicholas, Easter, Spring Fair and ralleye (treasure hunt thing), Christmas (and advent windows) and a fantastic end of year concert and show with a parade through the streets. Some things were organised with the viallge committee but the school was always the centre point for these activities.
For example St Nicholas arrived on a horse and carriage from the local stables and each class sang a song to him. The children then went to get their gift. Children from the school first then all the others in the village.
They also went to the local history museum and the communal offices and spoke to the mayor or whatever he calls himself. They all had to come up with one question to ask him.
There were no religion classes organised in the school but were optional classes for those kids who wanted them The teacher just incorporated different themes relevant to the seasons or festivals (local or international) into his teaching. When we arrived in November they were discussing the origin of the poppy for armistice day for some reason (history and WW 1) and my son was dead chuffed as he could tell them all about it. Maybe we were lucky with the teacher but the other classes seemed to do loads of things too.

We are in Neuchatel and I think things are prossibly different in other parts of Switzerland.

My son is now in the first year of secondary (orientation year) and my experiences so far are quite different from kodokan's but I'll post that on the other thread.
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:01
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

my son goes to one of the school in Schulkreis Zürichberg/Hirslanden

I've heard that there is another school in this area supposed to be one of the poshest state school in ZH due to the high percentage of foreign children of academic parents (working at university and ETH). that would have been too posh for our mentality, even if at least maybe the elternabend would be held in high german :-)
the one my son goes to is just a very authentic and socially mixed local school, definitely not privileged. but this is not what we wanted for our kids anyway.

our decision was based first of all on "where to live to have an easy life in terms of transportation" considering the family logistics. after that I started looking for schools for my son in this area, and they all seemed ok to me. maybe simply because it's a good part of zurich to live in, quiet and residential, socially mixed but with no big problems and "older" and therefore well integrated immigration.
first I checked the website of the school, then I went on the Stadt Zürich website
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/ssd/de/i...e/schulen.html

and checked the extremely detailed quality report the school department publish every couple of years for each school (be prepared for a long read...) I must say it was worthwile and it gave a good idea of the overall atmosphere at the school. what I wasn't prepared for was the amount of activities they would be doing!
they cannot guarantee that your child will go to the school you asked for, but they will try to send him as near home as possible. in our case it worked, although we sent the application way too late.
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:08
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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(Sidebar: does Switzerland have an official church/state division too, like France? Do people have to get married in civil offices, with a church blessing afterwards?)
Is this a trick question
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:51
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

How interesting - sounds like many of you have WAY more happening schools than mine! Mostly in the Swiss German side, I think - we don't have things here like the turnip carving and I've not heard of kids doing forest days or weeks here (probably because we haven't got much forest around where I live - they do go down to Lake Geneva occasionally, though).

Glad that lots of kids are having rich cultural experiences elsewhere, even if it does make my kids' school seems very municipal by comparison. Perhaps it's very individual based on the director - our first year here, the kids did an end-of-year play and a lovely 'sing Christmas carols around the village fountain' evening thing, but there's been nothing like that since, which coincided with the arrival of a new director for the area. Perhaps he's a teeny bit too focused on the testing, and stripping out the 'non-essentials'.
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:52
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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Is this a trick question
'...with a church blessing afterwards for those who would like one?'

Is that better?
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Old 28.09.2011, 20:05
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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And yet they manage to teach Religious Studies as a weekly timetabled slot; mostly through Judeo-Christian Old Testament Bible stories in primary. So church/state division can't be the reason for not celebrating things like Christmas, or mentioning in passing the fact that other countries/cultures have key festivals at certain times of year too?
They most certainly do not in my area. Religious education happens some times in the evenings but most often on Saturday mornings.

Jim.
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Old 29.09.2011, 07:03
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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How interesting - sounds like many of you have WAY more happening schools than mine! Mostly in the Swiss German side, I think - we don't have things here like the turnip carving and I've not heard of kids doing forest days or weeks here (probably because we haven't got much forest around where I live - they do go down to Lake Geneva occasionally, though).

Glad that lots of kids are having rich cultural experiences elsewhere, even if it does make my kids' school seems very municipal by comparison. Perhaps it's very individual based on the director - our first year here, the kids did an end-of-year play and a lovely 'sing Christmas carols around the village fountain' evening thing, but there's been nothing like that since, which coincided with the arrival of a new director for the area. Perhaps he's a teeny bit too focused on the testing, and stripping out the 'non-essentials'.
Do you think now that a simple move to a new school or canton might have been a wiser choice than moving to a whole new continent?

If my son's school had turned out to be crap, I think I would have scouted out the surrounding schools and requested a move, failing that, moved to a new canton or, failing that, tried out an international school. I would have put all the hassle, upheaval and expense of moving halfway across the world at the bottom of the list.

I'm just interested because having read your earlier thread about you being dissatisfied with the school your child is at, it prompted you to up sticks and move to the US. Did you go through any of the other alternatives first or was it just a "let's get out of here"?
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Old 29.09.2011, 07:20
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

I'm curious about those that have said they could choose between different state schools - is that possible in other Cantons? Here in Fribourg, you *must* attend your local primary school and even moving a couple of streets away might mean that you find yourself in a different catchment area and have to transfer your children to a new school. Even though I think that there should be a bit of flexibility with the way the zoning rules are applied, I like the 'democratic' approach to schooling here and I'm also happy that private schools are very much the exception rather than the norm.
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Old 29.09.2011, 08:46
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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I'm curious about those that have said they could choose between different state schools - is that possible in other Cantons? Here in Fribourg, you *must* attend your local primary school and even moving a couple of streets away might mean that you find yourself in a different catchment area and have to transfer your children to a new school. Even though I think that there should be a bit of flexibility with the way the zoning rules are applied, I like the 'democratic' approach to schooling here and I'm also happy that private schools are very much the exception rather than the norm.
I think there are means to appeal the decision; for example if siblings and close friends attend a different school to the one you have been allocated they will often put them into that school.

Similarly, there is a family near us who absolutely don't get on with a teacher at my son's school and caused such a stink they got him moved to a nearby one. To be honest, I think the school just wanted that particular parent out of their hair (she's a bit mad) and were only too pleased to hand her over to the other place...
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Old 29.09.2011, 09:16
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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I'm curious about those that have said they could choose between different state schools - is that possible in other Cantons? Here in Fribourg, you *must* attend your local primary school and even moving a couple of streets away might mean that you find yourself in a different catchment area and have to transfer your children to a new school. Even though I think that there should be a bit of flexibility with the way the zoning rules are applied, I like the 'democratic' approach to schooling here and I'm also happy that private schools are very much the exception rather than the norm.
Yes it is possible, at least it seems in most places, by special derogation. But you should have a valid reason, like closer to caretaker, etc.. not just that I don't like that school, etc..

This thread may help. kindergarten ouside your gemeinde

On the church/state issue, given all the media on religious objects in schools recently, ie. Luzurn and Valais, and the firing of a teacher in one of these episodes, I don't believe there is any official separation. Furthermore, religion is taught in many schools, a thread on that one recently as well.
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Old 29.09.2011, 13:42
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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Do you think now that a simple move to a new school or canton might have been a wiser choice than moving to a whole new continent?

If my son's school had turned out to be crap, I think I would have scouted out the surrounding schools and requested a move, failing that, moved to a new canton or, failing that, tried out an international school. I would have put all the hassle, upheaval and expense of moving halfway across the world at the bottom of the list.

I'm just interested because having read your earlier thread about you being dissatisfied with the school your child is at, it prompted you to up sticks and move to the US. Did you go through any of the other alternatives first or was it just a "let's get out of here"?
Nope - wouldn't have made him any better at languages. He just isn't grasping the French well enough to succeed in this system. He was doing ok in German, but only because the first year in German is a doddle coming from English. (I did several years of German at school, and remember being shocked at the jump from 'Was ist das?, ha, this is so easy' to 'what on EARTH is a noun declension and the accusative?'). Ultimately, he's a science/ engineering/ technology sort of kid, and would fail under a system that streamed based only on French, German and Maths; his good Maths performance just wouldn't pull his marks up enough.

My dissatisfaction wasn't so much with the school - who've been marvellous with fantastic teachers; I even forgive their lack of turnip carving - more the system of streaming based heavily on languages, and the rote learning memorisation teaching that results from that. But I completely acknowledge it's child-dependent; I expect I would have hypocritically thought it was a great system for my apparently-excellent-at-languages daughter.

Honestly, don't think it's something we did lightly. We did look into Geneva where the streaming happens a little later, but it wouldn't solve the French problem and a canton move was out of the question in my husband's current job (his role is one of the company's nominated 'resides in the canton' directors). And we couldn't afford international school for two (and weren't prepared to do it for one and not the other, not to mention the house move it would have to involve).

Taking a US job will also help eliminate the European-US timezone 'phone calls throughout the evening' double-shift hubby is currently doing, which is killing our family life. So, many reasons.

I'm a killer over-researcher - considering all possible solutions has effectively been my job for the past 12 months! You should see the lovely spreadsheets I'm currently doing to see which school within which school district in Phoenix is the best fit for my son/ my daughter/ hubby's commute/ proximity to shops and libraries/ right-priced housing/ etc etc...
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Old 29.09.2011, 13:56
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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I'm a killer over-researcher - considering all possible solutions has effectively been my job for the past 12 months! You should see the lovely spreadsheets I'm currently doing to see which school within which school district in Phoenix is the best fit for my son/ my daughter/ hubby's commute/ proximity to shops and libraries/ right-priced housing/ etc etc...
When things are smooth and going...go back to world of career.

Knowing you, you will excell at it again, and still have time and capacity for family spread sheets.

It might contribute to kids being more independent, and you trusting the system somewhat and their own survival skills...I am sad anytime anyone is disappointed with public schools since I am an advocat, but still completely see the points you made. I hope US system won't only fit your son but also your daughter, who you say would do marvelously here..But I completely understand the hours shifts, etc etc, don't mean to sound like you do something lightely, you never do, nor quit on anything, really.

Bonne chance.

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Old 29.09.2011, 15:06
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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When things are smooth and going...go back to world of career.
Ah, the curse of the expat couple - he does a very high-flying job, you see, with lots of overseas travel and working late at little or no notice... you know, the sort of job that gets you relocated to Switzerland.

Consequently, it's nigh on impossible for me to have a career, because what would happen to my career when, after 2-3 years, we moved again? Or if my career had a special project deadline that meant that I had to work late or travel?

Nah - I could have a job, perhaps, but not a career. I might look into that once we're in the US; certainly I'll study or do some volunteering once the kids are in all-day school (just couldn't justify paying for them to have lunches elsewhere here, so I could indulge myself).

You're right that I do have to watch out for 'helicopter parenting' - I really don't want to be one of those, so do need something to dilute my attention elsewhere.
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Old 29.09.2011, 15:34
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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Ah, the curse of the expat couple - he does a very high-flying job, you see, with lots of overseas travel and working late at little or no notice... you know, the sort of job that gets you relocated to Switzerland.

Consequently, it's nigh on impossible for me to have a career, because what would happen to my career when, after 2-3 years, we moved again? Or if my career had a special project deadline that meant that I had to work late or travel?

Nah - I could have a job, perhaps, but not a career. I might look into that once we're in the US; certainly I'll study or do some volunteering once the kids are in all-day school (just couldn't justify paying for them to have lunches elsewhere here, so I could indulge myself).

You're right that I do have to watch out for 'helicopter parenting' - I really don't want to be one of those, so do need something to dilute my attention elsewhere.
I am not worried about you ever helicopting..but there are few things.

So, if you don't justify paying for the lunches, they eat with you. Which I would prefer as well coz I am old school and love to cook. But. They could have had a French speaking lunch. I know it is hard on women, since the bill for lunch is a hard copy and you immediately transfer a bit of yourself in it, servicewise - ie make the lunch to save cash. Your hb's high fly career can surely expose your kids to French speaking lunches.

I am just trying to say, indulging in your career, you might see it this way since you have been home for a while, can actually be benefitial for your kids when you are in a place where you guys don't speak the local lingo...

I know how inflexible and self doubting one becomes when shut off from work market. I just want to tell you, even little jobs, no career, lead up to somewhere. Even 2-3 years. People justify fear with all sorts of things, supporting hb's career, kids, or the fact you would only be in the CH/US 2-3 years.

But, every little step counts, and more so with individuals like you, with overgifted potential. It's the smart people who see their imperfections so much they get hindered and rationalize. Just take the plunge, have home imperfect and kids battle with homework and take time for self indulgence called realizing yourself through work. It seems to me you miss it but woudn't admit since it is selfish. Your daughter will see her mom take little steps and plunge into career again. Not overstressed mom who wants her kids having their stimuli served specific ways since they wouldn't cope otherwise, busy with spreadsheets and house cleaning and googling the cheapest electric bike.

Even edu you once did, experiences you once had, they never get lost and word spreads out when you try. So, saving cash ok, supporting family ok, electric bike ok instead of a car ok, but then one becomes smaller and smaller, never asks for anything, and overcompensates on kids, controlling their edu, wanting the system to provide the best possible stimuli so much that you stop trusting your kids as much as you stop trusting yourself when at home for a few years...human mind is weird.

I am putting this out there since I have a huge faith in you, had a chance to read up fantastic things you wrote (write a book when you are in the US and have a min)..and maybe, there is a mom who wants to get you of the role and does not dare...We have all been there at some point.

You probably laughing now at my crazy posting. CH schools are not culturally void since it is the biggest mix of cultures who actually let themselves live instead of push stuff on eachother so much there woudln't be time for anything else. I am a tad jealous since it is so much easier in the US, sure, life, career, mingling, social bonds...I also know you will miss CH, you have done things like a hero here, so hope you know it. Even when you bitch about CH schools now, I'd would agree with most of the things, anyways.
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Old 29.09.2011, 16:17
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

Excellent thought-provoking post MC, thank you.

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So, if you don't justify paying for the lunches, they eat with you. Which I would prefer as well coz I am old school and love to cook. But. They could have had a French speaking lunch. I know it is hard on women, since the bill for lunch is a hard copy and you immediately transfer a bit of yourself in it, servicewise - ie make the lunch to save cash. Your hb's high fly career can surely expose your kids to French speaking lunches.
He didn't really need lunches for the French - he was already going to a private tutor twice a week, just really for one-to-one conversation to extend his vocabulary and expose him to correct adult French for modelling (not that he appeared to be able to hear it/ reproduce it, grrrr...). Plus I spent about 18 months doing Tae Kwon Do twice a week, whilst the kids were looked after/played with by one or two local teenagers.

So the lunches would really have been an indulgence just for me, and that's if I'd been able to find somewhere for him to go - there's no provision in our village past 2nd grade (and even for KG/1st/2nd you have to be working full-time, preferably single and on a waiting list for ever).

The other kids in his class with working parents just came home and spent 2-3 hours alone each day. Aged 8+. I'm willing to embrace the Swiss notions of un-supervision for walking to school, or leaving them for an hour or so to pop to the shops, or even them doing the very occasional lunch by themselves for my convenience and their sense of achievement, but coming home regularly to an empty house, getting their own lunch, eating alone, remembering to leave again on time and lock up, etc... no. Mine are such chatty little creatures, and there's next to no time to talk to people in school apart from a 20 minute break.

On the flip side, mine are the only foreign siblings I know of who still talk solely in their native tongue. Several other families in my school with similar-aged children have found that somewhere between 2 and 3 years, the kids switch to playing together in French, which brings with it a whole other set of issues and challenges. Hours of daily exposure to my English has at least resulted in excellent vocabularies for their ages, and no trace whatsoever of using the word 'like' as bizarre punctuation.

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It seems to me you miss it but woudn't admit since it is selfish.
Very, very true. Full-time at home with children is incredibly dull and unsatisfying at times. But I couldn't give time/attention to me, without feeling I was taking it from them. I wasn't prepared to do that 3 years ago when we moved here, as they were much younger and there were the extra language demands. It just didn't seem fair.

But now I feel that they are old enough and stable enough to 'share' me a little with the outside world. I hope the US move will work out well for all of us: schooling system more suited to the kids' talents, more free time and less unreasonable work hours for hubby, the start of my 'who am I post-kids?' discovery process now I have the time/ English-speaking environment to work on that.

(Apologies for drifting off-topic; the moderator seems to be indulging us, though )
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Old 29.09.2011, 16:45
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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Excellent thought-provoking post MC, thank you.



He didn't really need lunches for the French - he was already going to a private tutor twice a week, just really for one-to-one conversation to extend his vocabulary and expose him to correct adult French for modelling (not that he appeared to be able to hear it/ reproduce it, grrrr...). Plus I spent about 18 months doing Tae Kwon Do twice a week, whilst the kids were looked after/played with by one or two local teenagers.

So the lunches would really have been an indulgence just for me, and that's if I'd been able to find somewhere for him to go - there's no provision in our village past 2nd grade (and even for KG/1st/2nd you have to be working full-time, preferably single and on a waiting list for ever).

The other kids in his class with working parents just came home and spent 2-3 hours alone each day. Aged 8+. I'm willing to embrace the Swiss notions of un-supervision for walking to school, or leaving them for an hour or so to pop to the shops, or even them doing the very occasional lunch by themselves for my convenience and their sense of achievement, but coming home regularly to an empty house, getting their own lunch, eating alone, remembering to leave again on time and lock up, etc... no. Mine are such chatty little creatures, and there's next to no time to talk to people in school apart from a 20 minute break.

On the flip side, mine are the only foreign siblings I know of who still talk solely in their native tongue. Several other families in my school with similar-aged children have found that somewhere between 2 and 3 years, the kids switch to playing together in French, which brings with it a whole other set of issues and challenges. Hours of daily exposure to my English has at least resulted in excellent vocabularies for their ages, and no trace whatsoever of using the word 'like' as bizarre punctuation.



Very, very true. Full-time at home with children is incredibly dull and unsatisfying at times. But I couldn't give time/attention to me, without feeling I was taking it from them. I wasn't prepared to do that 3 years ago when we moved here, as they were much younger and there were the extra language demands. It just didn't seem fair.

But now I feel that they are old enough and stable enough to 'share' me a little with the outside world. I hope the US move will work out well for all of us: schooling system more suited to the kids' talents, more free time and less unreasonable work hours for hubby, the start of my 'who am I post-kids?' discovery process now I have the time/ English-speaking environment to work on that.

(Apologies for drifting off-topic; the moderator seems to be indulging us, though )
It's very on topic. Moms and, lunches, exposure, culture...I know, I take supervised lunch for granted, but it gets easier if you make steps to move away as a woman from the family a tad, get work first, system sees it, and then you get a spot, not the other way around.

Lunch with kids is actually the way my child is learning, since she is a loner player so shy using her French while playing..Soaks up the kiddo talk, contrasts it with teacher talk. It's a gate. And I am telling you as a linguist, not as a mom. It is nice your kids speak English together and well. But I thought it was about making them speak French, or your son. English vocab is important, you can build it reading at bedtimes. You don't need to sacrifice your career potential for this. On the other hand, if you had parascolaire available, French lunch with kids could be the thing to actually expose the right way, as opposed to adult French, hyper correct one on one, some kids don't learn this way..It's nuts your place with such a huge school does not provide parascolaire, and I agree hours of unsupervised kids over lunch at home isn't ideal, aupair (way cheaper than parascolaire)?

I am glad you are happy with your move and decision, though...Who-am-I post kids I am sure will be ok.
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  #37  
Old 29.09.2011, 17:13
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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Lunch with kids is actually the way my child is learning, since she is a loner player so shy using her French while playing..Soaks up the kiddo talk, contrasts it with teacher talk. It's a gate. And I am telling you as a linguist, not as a mom. It is nice your kids speak English together and well. But I thought it was about making them speak French, or your son. English vocab is important, you can build it reading at bedtimes. You don't need to sacrifice your career potential for this. On the other hand, if you had parascolaire available, French lunch with kids could be the thing to actually expose the right way, as opposed to adult French, hyper correct one on one, some kids don't learn this way..It's nuts your place with such a huge school does not provide parascolaire
I know, madness, isn't it - our school currently has 1285 kids, is adding another 950 places in a year's time, yet the last time I checked there were 34 places for lunch club. Hence the need to be working/single/struggling somehow before you'll even be put on the list. There are a couple of maman de jours in the village, each of which collect an alarming gaggle of tiny children and head off - but again, no kids over the age of 7 or so. Above that age, they just seem to turn into latchkey kids; we regularly had one of son's classmates calling by to collect him on the way back to school, but at least half an hour before they needed to leave so he could come in and play, because the poor little thing was obviously lonely.

I'm not convinced that adding more child-time exposure would have helped much, though. He spent TONS of times with his friends, the neighbours' kids, etc - he's out there right now, as usual, for hours each evening on a trampoline with half the neighbourhood. He communicates brilliantly, because he's very verbally confident, and kids just don't care if the tense is a little wrong.

What he was missing was having correct French gently modelled back to him, much as you do with toddlers: 'I runned to the shop'... 'Oh, you ran to the shop, did you? Did you go fast when you ran?' His tutor was great at this - he wasn't doing lessons as such; sometimes she would help with his homework, other times he would take along his latest Star Wars book and chat about his ever-increasing Lego collection. It was just two years' worth of twice a week one-to-one with an interested, attentive adult, more like a spare grandmother than a teacher.

Still didn't flippin' work though
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Old 29.09.2011, 22:19
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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I know, madness, isn't it - our school currently has 1285 kids, is adding another 950 places in a year's time, yet the last time I checked there were 34 places for lunch club. Hence the need to be working/single/struggling somehow before you'll even be put on the list. There are a couple of maman de jours in the village, each of which collect an alarming gaggle of tiny children and head off - but again, no kids over the age of 7 or so. Above that age, they just seem to turn into latchkey kids; we regularly had one of son's classmates calling by to collect him on the way back to school, but at least half an hour before they needed to leave so he could come in and play, because the poor little thing was obviously lonely.

I'm not convinced that adding more child-time exposure would have helped much, though. He spent TONS of times with his friends, the neighbours' kids, etc - he's out there right now, as usual, for hours each evening on a trampoline with half the neighbourhood. He communicates brilliantly, because he's very verbally confident, and kids just don't care if the tense is a little wrong.

What he was missing was having correct French gently modelled back to him, much as you do with toddlers: 'I runned to the shop'... 'Oh, you ran to the shop, did you? Did you go fast when you ran?' His tutor was great at this - he wasn't doing lessons as such; sometimes she would help with his homework, other times he would take along his latest Star Wars book and chat about his ever-increasing Lego collection. It was just two years' worth of twice a week one-to-one with an interested, attentive adult, more like a spare grandmother than a teacher.

Still didn't flippin' work though
I get it..he didn't fail. They soak up, and then it happens, I think we needed 2,5 years of more intense absorption. I can imagine the timing was making you nervous. Did commune offer more French classes?
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Old 29.09.2011, 23:20
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

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I get it..he didn't fail. They soak up, and then it happens, I think we needed 2,5 years of more intense absorption. I can imagine the timing was making you nervous. Did commune offer more French classes?
Nah, because from their point of view he was fine; he was hitting the required 4-note across his subjects so therefore 'passing'.

His form teacher who taught him Maths and Science got it, though; she was quite gushingly relieved for his sake when I explained we were leaving. She was a decent woman who, from the very, very little she let slip in our previous meetings, has her own opinion on the narrow subject emphasis for streaming decisions.

The timing was all, really. If we'd come a year earlier, it might have made the difference for him. Whereas if he remained here, in 4 months' time the teachers would have made their first cut for the rest of his education. As it is, he'll leave here feeling that he made a reasonable success of the whole thing (I know some failure is character-building, but I'd rather it resulted from laziness and slipshod work on his part in his teens, than from his parents placing him in a virtually unwinnable situation at the age of 11).

On the plus side, we're having a lovely time homeschooling. He's following a writing program and today he did a really interesting lesson on bias, objective/subjective reporting, reliable sources for research, etc. The program wanted him to produce an account of a real or imagined sports event at his school, reporting fairly and giving credit to both teams where due - as he has no interest in sports, I let him write a balanced, unbiased account of a battle between Stars Wars Clones and Droids instead.
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Last edited by kodokan; 30.09.2011 at 11:12. Reason: typo correction helicoptering
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Old 03.10.2011, 11:35
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Re: Swiss primary schools - cultural void?

Education varies so much in Switzerland; subject matter, methods of teaching, grading methods, testing and so on. You would have to visit every Gemeinde to try out the schools and see which one suits your liking. Not very practical.
Most do go on outings, and the usual Christmas events, Easter, Fasnachts and so on. My son went to learn about how a Gemeinde runs, and my oldest daughter visited Bern and got to see how the government works.
Swiss history does not have as much detail and events as some other countries. Mainly the dates the first cantons joined, the small battles they won against their neighbors, and William Tell is prob. one of the most famous of the Swiss heroes.
Switzerland has interesting historical value, but more from the remains of all it's former occupiers and the things they left behind. Like the castle ruins, some which have interesting backgrounds, old style buildings, etc. We used to take our kids to see those things when we home-schooled.
For Swiss culture, go to Appenzell and spend a few days in the typical cheese/farm country, with it's folk dress/music, small markets and mountain air. That is real Swiss.
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