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Old 07.04.2012, 10:08
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What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Hi everyone,

I hope someone can help me out here...

We will move to Preverenges in summer and our kids, age almost 7 and 5 will go to the local school.
y daughter will go to enfantine 2 which is pretty straight forward, but my son would go to grade 2 according to his age ( he is also going to grade 1 now in Vancouver), but the school recommended he should go to grade 1 because of his lack of french. I heard that this is there general recommondation, and of course it's easier for them to go down a grade in order to have more resources to learn french.
But, I am a bit worried that he will be bored, despite him having to learn french. I heard kids pick up a language pretty fast. I looked at the curriculum of the school, and even what they are doing until the end of grade 2 seems not a lot more than what he already does here end if grade 1. He is able to read simple books for beginners readers now in englisch and german, and also in math, doing head counting until 20. I am wondering what he will do when they would start with he ABC, just in french, but still. It would be the third time for him to learn the ABC.

I have to say, that he in general is a bit slow to start, not very happy with changes. So the begining will be challenging. Also that is the reason I don't like him to start one grad and if it doesn' t work out, have him switch to the other one.

What do you know about grade 1 curriculum in vaud? How was your experience with having a kids start french in the "proper" level? ALthough we speak german at home (mostly) he is more or less considered native englisch speaking as he is in Canada since he's one and went to school here since 2 years and 2 years daycare. he's bilingual already, this will be the third language. Anyone having experiences with how that goes??

Thanks so much for your advice. We have to decide soon where we want to put him, school leaves it up to us, but strongly recommends grade 1.

Tanja
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Old 07.04.2012, 11:06
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

my kids are much younger so might not have direct answer to your question. But i could with you 2 real situations that happens

1)my friend's daughter is studying in public school and after few months of starting her grade, her teacher think she's too good for her current grade and suggest her to skip to next grade after x'mas. So i think skipping grade is always possible. (I haven't heard about downgrading and also I think it's not easy for a kid to accept it too.....)

2)my daughter will be 5 this september and she is actually eligible to go to 2nd level of kindergarden in private school but we decided to get her in 1st level. A few of my friends are doing the same thing as we believe that kids actually develop a better level of confidence as he/she feels comfortable of what he/she learns. She will thus be more interested to go to school.

good luck
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Old 09.04.2012, 04:30
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

It's a tricky one... This is for one year, right? Let's see:

Academically, if in first grade he will definitely be covering material he's already done. But since he won't understand a word of the class, that doesn't really matter. Arguably it'll be a little easier for him to already understand the concepts being taught - reading, maths, etc - and just concentrate on the language. The reading can be differentiated - when my daughter went into 1st grade, some kids were learning the phonic sounds for the first time and some were already reading at the level of a year or more ahead and taking home much more advanced books. Don't forget that reading in French is very different to reading in English or German; the sounds are different and there is SO much of the word that's printed but not said.

Maths... first grade only works with numbers up to 20, and is very keen on drilling number facts, especially addition. Based on what my daughter's doing here in US 2nd grade, your son can probably already do speed addition facts and perhaps subtraction too.

Personally, I wouldn't sweat overmuch about what he may or may not do academically in the class for one year. Either way, he'll be adrift at first because of the French, and you'll almost certainly have to supplement to keep him on track to go back into presumably 3rd grade when you return home.

Where he'll fit socially will be much more important. It sounds like he's on the cusp of the year change, and you can choose whether he would be the oldest in the class, or the youngest. Which would suit him best? My son, for example, would have preferred being the oldest as at that age he tended to play with younger kids, especially since the language will be preclude more 'conversation'-based play. So in that situation I probably would have put him in 1st grade (we arrived in Preverenges when my son was halfway through 2nd grade, with a mid-grade birthday, and they put him in the correct grade for his age.)

But if yours is more mature than mine was, and gravitates upwards in his playmates, I'd go for 2nd grade.

If he happens to like playing soccer, he'll find friendships really easy with the older kids. The younger ones still tend to be running around more randomly; football in the playground is more unusual among 1st graders.

Any help? Shout if you have further questions.
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Old 25.04.2012, 21:38
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Hi Tanja

Just found a whole bunch of messages you sent me about this, in something called a 'Visitor Message' section that I didn't know existed! Sorry for not replying; they pre-date this thread, though, so hopefully you've now got enough info to make your decision - have you done that yet?

Let me know if there are any more specific details I can help with - probably best to use this thread, given my track record with the messaging system...
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Old 11.05.2012, 00:20
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Hi kodokan and muffin,

Thanks for your replies and helpful comments! Sorry for late reply, but I am being swamped by everything! We are leaving in not even 2 month. (starting to panic right now!)

We decided to put him in grade 1, for several reasons. He is a little sensitive guy that does not like change, so we thought he is beter of with a somehow easier start, and I will try and supplement the grad 2 canadian curriculum, also to keep up his english. Wish me good luck with that, I am not really the good homeschooling mum...

Thanks!

Alos, kodokan, one question came up:

Is there a library close to Preverenges (probably in Lausanne if at all..) that has english books? Wondering how many english books we should bring.
Is there a toy lending place as well?
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Old 11.05.2012, 09:18
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Oh good, glad to hear you've made a decision on this. I'm sure it'll be fine; I think I would've gone for 1st grade too given his character, age, lack of French, etc. Plenty of time in his schooling later to catch up on the English - my daughter joined US 2nd grade in December at age 7, going on 8, knowing almost no reading and writing in English. At the time, she was at least a year behind grade; her teacher told me that she's now 3-6 months behind in writing and perhaps 3 months in reading, but that those gaps will close very soon.

Library - the school library has a teeny selection of books in English. Morges library has some adult books in English, perhaps a couple of hundred tops, but none for kids the last time I was there, a year or so ago. There's also a specialist library down the road in Renens, which has books in lots of languages: http://www.globlivres.ch/. I never went there myself - we brought LOTS of books with us, plus now mostly use e-readers anyway.

(For schooling the kids, I used this website: http://www.readinga-z.com. It has hundreds if not thousands of printable books across all elementary reading levels, covering a vast range of subjects. And many of them are also available in French, which helped them - and me! - enormously for preparing school projects on things like bears or the Moon, as we could read the English version for core knowledge, then use the French one to crib vocabulary).

Toys - there's a toy library right in the school, with plenty of choice from Playmobil to board games to DS and other video games. Here's the details: http://www.ludotheque-chouette.ch/index2.html. The ladies that run it are super friendly and helpful, and at least one speaks English if that helps.

Good luck for the move if I don't speak to you before!
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Old 13.05.2012, 22:39
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No idea about book prices in CA, but here they're absurdly expensive, and in children's libraries non-French books are hard to come by, so you better take some along or befriend Amazon.uk.
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Old 14.05.2012, 10:57
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Bookdepository.co.uk also ships books to Switzerland for free and are another option for inexpensive English books.
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Old 14.05.2012, 20:38
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Thanks kodokan for the helpful info.
I really like real books, so we better bring some with us. I am sure we will also order some from amazon and so.
I will go to Ireland in August with my hubby (first trip without the kids, yayy for the grandparents!) and will buy some there.
Getting nervous about the trip, there is so much to do!

How are your kids coping in the US? Is it a big difference for you/them compared to UK?
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Old 14.05.2012, 21:19
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

I'd definitely accept going back a year. Your child just won't notice - but if s/he fails at the end of the year, and has to remain in the same class (you never Know you might end up staying longer- I went to UK for 6 months and stayed 38 years!).
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Old 14.05.2012, 22:35
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

For what it's worth I also think you've made the right choice. It will be so much better for your son to be ahead of his class mates in maths since he will be playing catch up in French. I think his self esteem would be seriously affected if he was in the higher class but struggling to keep up with his classmates.

Excuse me if I'm being a bit dim here but is this just for one year? A couple of posters have referred to it being for a year but I've read your posts several times now and I can't see any reference to a specific time frame.
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Old 15.05.2012, 01:13
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Re: What grade in public school in Vaud for non french speaker?

Quote:
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Excuse me if I'm being a bit dim here but is this just for one year? A couple of posters have referred to it being for a year but I've read your posts several times now and I can't see any reference to a specific time frame.
We are planning to stay there for a year, as my husband is doing a sabbatical there.

Thanks for your thoughts. I also feel better with this decision now.
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