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Old 14.08.2012, 20:29
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Help with Schools around Baden

Hello Everyone,

I am here from the US on what was supposed to be a 6 months assignment, but has turned into a permanent post. Yay me, but now, I want to bring my family over, which includes a 13 year old boy, and a 15 year old daughter.

I have been here in Baden by myself since April, and so far, I have heard mixed things with regards to school. I now live in a little postage stamp studio, paid for by my company, but will move very soon into a more suitable dwelling, one that can accommodate my family (4). I would like to reamin in the Baden area, since the cost of housing in Zurich is out of control!

Based on cost alone, I think the International School in Zurich is out. I'm thinking the kids will end up in Swiss school, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If we're going to be in Switzerland for a while, the sooner they learn Swiss German, the better off they will be. I'm just starting German classes myself, and intend on learning quickly, especially if I'm going to have kids in a German-speaking school system.

I am just wondering what you all might have to contribute based on your personal experiences with schools. I have read a few posts, and for the most part, they involve younger kids. Anyone with older children who moved to Switzerland?
Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 14.08.2012, 21:41
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

I think the best thing will be to check with the gemeinde. each gemeinde has a school secretary (i think) who will be able to give more information. My son is little and just started kindergarden here - so that information will be of no use to you. however i know a neighbor whose kids are older (15 and 12) and i have heard from them that the kids have to go through one year of integration before attending regular school. the kids did 2 years of 'intensive' german tutoring before moving here - not sure if that helps in any way.

All the best with moving the family and schooling for kids!
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Old 15.08.2012, 11:09
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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I have read a few posts, and for the most part, they involve younger kids. Anyone with older children who moved to Switzerland?
Thanks for the feedback.
You may have missed this thread because the title suggests it is not about school but in fact it is.

Chances of casual work for my 16 yo daughter from UK ( EN only )

I posted a link on that thread(sorry German only) with options in Kanton Aargau. To be very honest, your children are at a difficult age to integrate into the local school system, particularly your daughter. Many would advise you to let your children continue with their schooling back home unless you know you are going to be staying here permanently, not just for a while, or your employer is willing to pay for international school. Have you asked?

If your children are not interested in attending university, which many children here do not, the local education system offers opportunities for young people to take different paths to gainful employment. My neighbour's son is an electrician, he did not attend university. Electricians are one of the highest paid tradespeople in Switzerland!

Teenagers are the most difficult group to relocate. I am not one to promote families living apart but there are times when putting childrens' educational needs first may mean living apart with visits during school holidays.

I know of a few teenagers who came but did not stay because they could not learn the language quickly enough, or make friends and were miserable. There are others who have managed but not without hiccups along the way.

Hope you find a good solution.
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Old 16.08.2012, 00:30
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

Children aged 12 - 15 in Baden go to the integration class (RIK). They can stay here for up to one year. It is an intensive German course and some other subjects. My daugther (12 years old) started in this class in last October. She did not know a single German word then. Now she communicates in everyday situations without any problem.
Check this website: http://www.schule-baden.ch/index.php?id=149
Google translater helps.
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Old 16.08.2012, 01:49
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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Children aged 12 - 15 in Baden go to the integration class (RIK). They can stay here for up to one year. It is an intensive German course and some other subjects. My daugther (12 years old) started in this class in last October. She did not know a single German word then. Now she communicates in everyday situations without any problem.
Check this website: http://www.schule-baden.ch/index.php?id=149
Google translater helps.

The RIK has had mixed reviews. Academically some children thrive, but not all. But it can be a very lonely experience, it is not a large class, and a 15 year old girl is hardly likely to be happy placed in the same class as her 12 year old brother. The problem is where does a 15 year old go to school after the RIK? This is not an issue for a child who is younger.

May I ask what level of school your daughter is in this year?

Other villages have criticized the RIK and prefer to keep students in their age appropriate class and provide them with intensive support to learn German. It is a different approach and I have seen it work. But you must be very selective about which village you live in.
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Old 16.08.2012, 15:04
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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The RIK has had mixed reviews. Academically some children thrive, but not all. But it can be a very lonely experience, it is not a large class, and a 15 year old girl is hardly likely to be happy placed in the same class as her 12 year old brother. The problem is where does a 15 year old go to school after the RIK? This is not an issue for a child who is younger.

May I ask what level of school your daughter is in this year?

Other villages have criticized the RIK and prefer to keep students in their age appropriate class and provide them with intensive support to learn German. It is a different approach and I have seen it work. But you must be very selective about which village you live in.
Considering the 15 year old I think it is a very difficult question. There is a 15 year old in RIK at the moment and her only choice is to go to the Realschule. She is just too old to enter the 1st or 2nd class of Sek or Bez, and the 3rd or 4th class would be far too difficult and stressful for her. However, she was informed, she could go to further education in one or two years when her German improves.
As far as I know, villages around Baden send kids to Baden RIK. There are pupils from Fislisbach, Wettingen, Würenlos, etc. in the class.
For a 12 years old RIK is a much better choice. The kids get lots of attention, one-to-one lessons, when necessary. Most of the time they work in small groups. After the year in RIK they can go to the first class of Sek or Bez and they'll be only sligthly older then the rest of the class, chances of integration are better.
My daugther is still in RIK. We have to decide very soon in which school (Sek or Bez) she goes after the autumn holiday. This is a hard decision for us to make.
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Old 16.08.2012, 21:40
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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My daugther is still in RIK. We have to decide very soon in which school (Sek or Bez) she goes after the autumn holiday. This is a hard decision for us to make.
I am not sure what you have been told but you don't get to make the decision. It is up to the RIK teacher and the school admin will support the teacher's decision. You just have to accept it.
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Old 16.08.2012, 22:04
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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I am not sure what you have been told but you don't get to make the decision. It is up to the RIK teacher and the school admin will support the teacher's decision. You just have to accept it.
Yes, that is the usual way, however, in our case the decision is in our hands. The teacher supports our choice.
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Old 16.08.2012, 22:48
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

The 15 year old could either go to the RIK in Baden or try one of the private German options (Intuition in Basel, or residential, like Humboldt, come to mind).
How good is your daughter with languages, how motivated is she, and how adaptable would determine whether she would be successful. Has she taken French? It is just as important for the upper stream.
The year our DS went to RIK was quite disappointing. The small group of kids was broken into 2 subgroups, with each only having 1.5 hours a day of German. Add to it math 2x week, woodworking and sports, and that was it. Most of the kids in his group spoke English, so there was no pressing need to learn German anyway :-) I think the timetable since has gotten better (I wonder if someone complained as it was not supposed to be so empty. We should have complained, but were too disoriented that first year).
We had a very good experience with the Humboldt Institute in Germany (closest location for teenagers is in Lindenberg, 2 hours from Baden). In the summer it is a zoo, but during the school year is it filled with serious students, and the progress is incredibly fast.
If she gets comfortable enough in German (and French?), then the bilingual kantonschule program in Wettingen may be a realistic option, but you would have to talk to them upfront to see what would the requirements be. It is probably an option only for very motivated and hardworking.
If you don't mind the apprenticeship route, then the bridge program may be good after the first year, and they also have an integration class.
Or you could decide that this level of stress and uncertainty of outcome is too much, and either find some way to pay for ZIS, or leave her to finish school in the UK.
For the 12 year old the start in the Swiss system would also be hard and stressful, but less so. Going to RIK and then to 1st Bez is realistic, but loses 2 years compared with the normal speed of school progression (being placed in a class of 11 year olds at 13). It is not unusual to see a range of ages in the classroom though.
For both kids, going to public school would require a big commitment from at least one parent to learn German.
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Old 17.08.2012, 00:53
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

And sometimes, as parents, we have to put our own aspirations on hold and make sure that we give them (ie our children) the best opportunity available while maybe passing up an opportunity for ourselves....

Last edited by Snoopy; 19.08.2012 at 17:47.
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Old 23.08.2012, 12:04
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

Hi all

I am looking at moving to Baden area. I would like to have feedback on state schools as well as localities which have good schools.

Thanks for any feedback on this.

Regards
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Old 03.04.2013, 12:12
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

Are they kindergarden international schools around baden ?
Thanks
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Old 03.04.2013, 12:32
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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Are they kindergarden international schools around baden ?
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Search this forum for international schools
or
Google - International schools Baden
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Old 04.04.2013, 10:52
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

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Are they kindergarden international schools around baden ?
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ZIS has a campus in Baden. Lower school is for children from age 3.
http://www.zis.ch/page.cfm?p=307
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Old 04.04.2013, 12:07
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

Chef, although my kids (17 & 20) were born abroad they mostly grew up here (arriving aged kindergarden & primary school).
They're in the gymi (Gymnasium = academic/uni prep high school) Baden. The younger one's acceptance coincided with launch of the bi-lingual/immersion programme @ gymi Baden, which is part of the Kantonsschule Baden in the town centre campus, which also incorporates two other schools: business admin (WMS) and IT/compi science (IMS), altogether about 1300 students & 700 faculty. There's a second gymi in Baden (actually twin town Wettingen), at the bend in the river next to a picturesque Kloster. The gymi Wettingen offers the International Bac (bi-lingual D/E).

The immersion programme is good, although no-where near full immersion. There are many bilingual students from mixed & expat families who've settled here.

The schools are selective and students have to qualify (grade average & leaving exams) after having first made it into a regional school (Bezirksschule), the upper of the 3 levels when the elevenses division takes place in the final year of primary school. The Bez. selection is also based on performance but heavily influenced/decided by the head of the primary school. in our case we were lucky, good primary school & a Schulleiter who treated those with regional school ambitions to an early dose of what it would be like.

I've had a tower at yr thread and agree with many of the comments/advice. Your kids are at a difficult stage to be parachuted into Swiss secondary education from east b'jesus USA. I have no personal or anecdotal experience with the RIK, but it seems a good idea and has a decent, if not unquestioned, reputation.

I'm a former banker who came here for a job long ago. I was nearly bi-lingual in French, which is about as useful here as tits on a bull. My wife handled everything to do with Swiss officialdom & bureaucracy, including schools. I'm also a widower and I can say that it was an ice bath having to take on that role as well. I'm now competent in German after 20+ years on/off relationship with CH. You'll need help as, if I've got it right, it sounds like your wife is a Septic (our loving sobriquet for Yanks) like yourself.

Start with someone who knows well/has had personal experience with the RIK. I don't know but suspect that only a minority of the students will be from expat familes with high educational & training standards. I could be wrong. But you have to get on with it as your kids are already at advanced ages, as far as Swiss selective education goes. It seems to me that, if they're going to be educated here, an international school is the best bet, at least as a transition. A serious employer eg, ABB, Oracle, will will recognise that.

Good news is, the education system in Kt Aargau is very good, much better than Kt Zurich, where many familes have to resort to private education.
Tough call and wish you luck. Find an advisor; there seem to be several candidates in this thread.
FB
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Old 27.02.2019, 10:19
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Re: Help with Schools around Baden

Be careful with AVS Language School. It provides no flexibility at all. Once registered, your money is blocked.

The registration includes a tick box agreement (written in german) that legally blocks your money and it is only refundable for "valid" reasons according to the school direction judgment. I have tried most of the german schools in Baden where try-lessons and refundable courses (without giving reasons) are common practice.

AVS has been by far the worst experience I've had during my german learning.
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