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Old 25.05.2012, 23:49
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Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

Its Complicated

We recently moved here, expected to stay 3-5 years or even longer.
I am not sure what schooling to provide for my 4 year old.. he speaks English.
Job will not pay for the school, so will be self paid. I am worried if we go into public school, our employer move us elsewhere too soon and this would confuse my son if i move him again to an English school.

I really do not want to make a decision i regret later on..
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Pls help
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Old 26.05.2012, 00:04
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

At that age, I'd have no hesitation and send him/her to the local primary school.
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Old 26.05.2012, 00:26
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

thanks a lot Odile for the prompt reply!
I am also thinking about bilingual schools and hope to visit some in the next weeks..
I have researched so much They are all very expensive but worth it I hope..
Came across
LIPSchule
D'Insle
SIS

Any insight/ experience would be appreciate..

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At that age, I'd have no hesitation and send him/her to the local primary school.
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Old 26.05.2012, 07:59
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

My advice would be that Montessori is *very* different to traditional schooling, and that SIS is a traditional school - from what I have heard, possibly even more 'traditional' than even the local swiss system

Our kids were in Montessori in Australia and then transferred to Bilingual Montessori in Switzerland and there were heaps of advantages to doing it that way. Our daughter is just about to finish primary school in Montessori and will now move to the local Sek A (she's considered 'gifted' but has problems with social anxiety but refuses to communicate in German, although her teachers say that her German is actually very very good (and when she does use it, it's gramatically perfect with extended vocabulary beyond what would be expected)). We'll let you know how it goes!

The other issue is the cost...

Are you looking for 'day care' or just 'preschool' ? If you want a lower cost option then I can recommend looking at www.houseofkids.ch They offer a morning-only kindergarten, bilingual, which is cheaper than using a full-day programme when you only need half days - if someone is caring for the child, then they can drop them off between 7-8:15am and pick them up at 11:45, 2pm or after 4pm.

If you 'opt' for an english-only programme, then you will be 'opting out' of your child learning German, and I'd think in the longer term you might regret that, so I'd definitely go bilingual (and swiss-curriculum approved, as the Montessori schools that you have listed are) - so your child is meeting the local expectations and should cover the swiss curriculum and be able to integrate later.

But if you think an english-only programme might be suitable, then I can recommend two that I know of (I think these are the only two)

www.happynest.ch
www.childrenfirst.ch

If your child's birthday falls after a certain date, then you have to be in some sort of approved kindergarten programme for a minimum 16 hours per week, school terms.

Do you know where you are going to live yet ? That would make a big difference in choosing the school - there are a few smaller Montessori bilingual schools that offer kindergarten that are not on your list, and might be closer to where you live.

You should also be able to go to the school authority for your local area (Gemeinde, Schule Sekretariat) and ask them if you can set up an appointment with the local kindergarten - you might even be able to meet with the exact teacher you would be allocated to (local kindergartens are usually tiny and very local to where you live), and get an understanding of the culture and programme, and how they would integrate your child.
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Old 26.05.2012, 08:54
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

Saw a funny tweet this week

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Well positioned high chair PLUS CBeebies EQUALS Montessori
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Old 26.05.2012, 08:57
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

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Saw a funny tweet this week
Not sure how that is funny ? Couldn't be further from the truth if you tried...
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Old 26.05.2012, 08:58
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

Total no-brainer, don't worry. My daughter went into our local French-speaking school aged 4 (we were on a local contract; we were staying 'for ever') then when she was almost 8 (last year) we moved to the US.

She had a completely happy time in the Swiss school, and became fluent in French. When we moved to the US at the end of last year, she was perhaps 12 months behind her peers in 2nd grade due to the later Swiss start, learning to read in French, etc. Yet within 6 months she's almost completely caught up in English reading and writing; her teacher says she's maybe a couple of months behind grade (ie, pretty much nothing at this age), and her latest report is splattered with A and B grades as a recognition of her effort and increased attainment. Again, she's 8 - can you really recall ANYTHING you learnt before the age of 8? By the time she's done a few months in 3rd grade, you won't be able to tell the difference between her and her 'been in English-speaking education for ever' peers. Your son'll be the same - he'll learn to read and write in German, and then transfer it over if necessary with no real problems.

My son, who was in Swiss school from age 8-11, has also just spent 6 months in US 6th grade and received As for reading and writing despite not writing a single thing in English for 3.5 years (but in fairness he could already read and write pretty well before, coming from the early-starting UK system).

It's fine; it's almost irrelevant what you do for a kid's primary education assuming he has a supportive home life. Go for the local school. He'll settle in in no time - the teachers will almost certainly have experience in non-German speaking kids - he'll have local friends, and if you move in 3-5 years, he'll be caught up in no time. And if not, he'll be totally bilingual before the all-important secondary streaming phase. There's really no down side.
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Old 26.05.2012, 09:38
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

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Not sure how that is funny ? Couldn't be further from the truth if you tried...
I think "funny" can't be explained afterwards

But I think it is a joke about lazy parenting rather than Montessori....
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Old 26.05.2012, 09:40
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

We moved here a month ago with three children, one of which is 4 also.
We are staying here for a minimum of three years then may see where we fancy going next so our schooling worries were the same as yours at the begininng.

We looked atthe swiss options and the private options, as you say the private is extortionate!

I think private should only ever be an option is you have tried the swiss systemand it hasnt worked for you after a good few terms of tryin OR you are only here for 2 years!

4 yearolds are sponges, they embrace everything they are taught, they dont loose their english skills because you will still be speaking this at home and you may meet some expat friends with kids for them to play with.
I think you shouldnt deny your children any learning experience, you may find its the best thing you have ever done for them, to speak another language opens up a while array of opportunities for them.

My 8 year old has a few learning problems, she is easily distracted and drifts into her own world half the time but is also a clever girl when she puts her mind to it! We put her into the swiss system with loads of worries over her ability to cope aNd she has loved it, she enjoys the way they teach, the fact she is learning another language and is making friends who live fround the corner and she can play with and develop relationships with.

Trust me, at the beginning i thought private was the only option but do hive the swiss systems a chance, they will giveyour child so much help and you will findthey pick it up so quickly! Xx
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Old 26.05.2012, 10:03
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

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I think you shouldnt deny your children any learning experience, you may find its the best thing you have ever done for them, to speak another language opens up a while array of opportunities for them.
Just to manage everyone's expectations... the rate of language attrition if you move on at this young age is shocking. My 8 yr old, who was totally fluent last year (and she really was; I'm pretty fluent in French myself so it wasn't just a case of 'oh, hasn't she got a nice accent'), has lost almost all her French in 9 months. It so happens that during the last week or so I've (a) shown her videos of herself reciting poetry and speaking French with her friends, and (b) played a game with her and her brother to see how much vocab they've retained.

In the first case, she couldn't understand more than about 1 word in 10 of what she was saying. In the second, she'd forgotten pretty much everything, despite them being basic words - animal names, verbs for 'to eat' and so on - and despite me handing out chocolate for each correct answer.

Oh well, never mind. Hopefully she now has one of those marvellous rewired bilingual brains, which will make learning other languages and general lateral thinking easier. Plus she'll always have the positiveness of 'of course I can learn another language, I did it before', along with a kicking 'R rolling' accent for Romance languages in general.

My 12 yr old's retained more, because he was fully literate in French. He's still become very rusty very quickly, but I think could get it back quite quickly if he studied it again (it's an option in 2 years' time at high school).

But despite them pretty much losing their language in minutes, I am still glad we did it, would choose to do the same again, and would recommend doing it to others. If nothing else, I think it'll give the kids a real benchmark going forward when facing any challenging situation in life: 'come on, I once walked in a classroom totally unable to understand or speak to anyone, and it all worked out completely fine - how hard can 'this' be?'
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Old 26.05.2012, 10:16
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

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Just to manage everyone's expectations... the rate of language attrition if you move on at this young age is shocking. My 8 yr old, who was totally fluent last year (and she really was; I'm pretty fluent in French myself so it wasn't just a case of 'oh, hasn't she got a nice accent'), has lost almost all her French in 9 months. It so happens that during the last week or so I've (a) shown her videos of herself reciting poetry and speaking French with her friends, and (b) played a game with her and her brother to see how much vocab they've retained.

In the first case, she couldn't understand more than about 1 word in 10 of what she was saying. In the second, she'd forgotten pretty much everything, despite them being basic words - animal names, verbs for 'to eat' and so on - and despite me handing out chocolate for each correct answer.

Oh well, never mind. Hopefully she now has one of those marvellous rewired bilingual brains, which will make learning other languages and general lateral thinking easier. Plus she'll always have the positiveness of 'of course I can learn another language, I did it before', along with a kicking 'R rolling' accent for Romance languages in general.

My 12 yr old's retained more, because he was fully literate in French. He's still become very rusty very quickly, but I think could get it back quite quickly if he studied it again (it's an option in 2 years' time at high school).

But despite them pretty much losing their language in minutes, I am still glad we did it, would choose to do the same again, and would recommend doing it to others. If nothing else, I think it'll give the kids a real benchmark going forward when facing any challenging situation in life: 'come on, I once walked in a classroom totally unable to understand or speak to anyone, and it all worked out completely fine - how hard can 'this' be?'
use it or lose it really fits the bill here! I had a similar occurrence as I spent 8 months in Austria when in the 6th grade. I "went" to school (when I wanted to, the local school didn't care and I didn't necessarily get grades) with the local kids. I was fluent in the Austrian dialect. However, after returning to the US for 7th grade and then started to learn French (French and Spanish were the 2 on offer at that grade level) I basically forgot it all. Or a lot of it. It probably did give me a foundation where I wasn't really at 0, but I didn't retain it at a high level...

Personally, I think going the local route gives you more exposure to the local culture and traditions (although I haven't done private so I can't compare). But, the friends are just around the corner, we participate in the town's activities and are more integrated. I think if you go the private/bilingual route you will find yourself driving your kids everywhere - to school and then to play dates - unless you live near the school. Plus the costs are just SO high, at that age I don't know that you get value for the money.
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Old 26.05.2012, 11:00
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

I agree with many of the points made. At 4 years of age the local school would provide a perfectly good education and lots of local friends to hang out with. The monet you would have spent on an expensive private school can be used for extra curricula activities or a few language lessons. We taken this approach and my daughter's having a great time.
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Old 28.05.2012, 00:27
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

I suggest visiting a public kindergarten and the various schools that are of interest to you. You will know what is best for your child.
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Old 30.05.2012, 00:16
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Re: Bilingual/Montessori Vs Public

I am really so thankful to each and every reply done with so much concern! I visited the local kinderKrippe and was really impressed! They offer a lot of activities including doing real sculptures!! my only concern is that the kids and teachers communicate in Swiss German rather than High German but i got to know that this changes when kids move to Grade 1! I also visited few private schools.. I think I still have some time to think but I am more inclined towards the public school and if my son does not adapt I will move him..

I was also a bit surprised and worried when the teacher in the local kinderkrippe asked me about my German skills i suppose they do not accept a kid based on his parents language skills?
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