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Old 01.11.2012, 22:21
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early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

Do any EFers have experience of getting your kids to attend kindergarten a year earlier?
We have booked an appointment with my son's pediatrician for an assessment to evaluate whether he is ready for kindergarten next year. I initially thought the assessment would be carried out in an assessment center with other kids to see how they behave socially with each other. But I was told that only his pediatrician would be present during the assessment along with a parent. So I would love to hear other EFers' experience regarding this matter and also advise on how to get the child prepared for the evaluation.
Many thanks in advance.
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Old 01.11.2012, 22:28
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

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Do any EFers have experience of getting your kids to attend kindergarten a year earlier?
We have booked an appointment with my son's pediatrician for an assessment to evaluate whether he is ready for kindergarten next year. I initially thought the assessment would be carried out in an assessment center with other kids to see how they behave socially with each other. But I was told that only his pediatrician would be present during the assessment along with a parent. So I would love to hear other EFers' experience regarding this matter and also advise on how to get the child prepared for the evaluation.
Many thanks in advance.
Ours went a year early. There's nothing to worry about with the evaluation.
It's not about social interaction but more that they have the physical and mental skills and hand-eye coordination to cope with activities Kindergarten classes.

I don't think that the idea is to prepare you child for the evaluation. If they're not ready then you're not doing them any favours by trying to get them in early.
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Old 01.11.2012, 22:44
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

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Ours went a year early. There's nothing to worry about with the evaluation.
It's not about social interaction but more that they have the physical and mental skills and hand-eye coordination to cope with activities Kindergarten classes.

I don't think that the idea is to prepare you child for the evaluation. If they're not ready then you're not doing them any favours by trying to get them in early.
thank you for the reply. I don't mean to train my child to get ready for the evaluation. As I am not clear myself about what is going to happen during the evaluation so I don't know how to tell my child about what the pediatrican is going to do. So far he only remembers to get the painful injections from the pediatician.
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Old 01.11.2012, 23:25
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

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thank you for the reply. I don't mean to train my child to get ready for the evaluation. As I am not clear myself about what is going to happen during the evaluation so I don't know how to tell my child about what the pediatrican is going to do. So far he only remembers to get the painful injections from the pediatician.
As I said, there's nothing to worry about - it's things like being asked to draw something specific or stand on one leg.
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Old 02.11.2012, 08:04
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

My only experience is that some schools/towns are very reluctant to start kids early for kindergarten. Just because a kid is 'ready' at 4.5 doesn't mean he will always progress ahead of his peers...or growth spurt/hit puberty early. He's also faced with a school experience of being continuously the youngest/smallest in the group.

Have you also considered sending him to a private preschool for a year ?

The age cutoffs in Switzerland are quite different to the Australian system that my kids came out of - they will all do an extra year of primary schooling before heading off to high school, but from what I have observed, they all benefited from that extra year and are progressing very strongly amongst their peers...

How far below the cutoff age is your child ? Consider also that (at least in our area) Kindergarten classes are a combined K1/K2 group, so putting a barely 4 year old into a mixed class with boisterous kids who will be 6-7 might not be that much fun, and the emphasis of Kindergarten at least in our area is not purely on the academics, but on socialisation and independence, communication skills and being able to stand up for yourself...

Short answer is that I do know parents who tried to do this and in the end chose a different option. I have three children and our 4th started in Montessori preschool at 3, and when he transitions to primary school he will be put into grade 1 in August and turn 7 in the December of the same year, and that will be a 'normal' grading for the swiss system, because kids here are usually close to 13 going into high school.

Personally, the goal for us is maximum educational opportunities, not leaving school in the fastest number of years...kids don't waste time with more years of schooling, if they are in a good quality educational programme...
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Old 02.11.2012, 08:38
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

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Do any EFers have experience of getting your kids to attend kindergarten a year earlier?
We have booked an appointment with my son's pediatrician for an assessment to evaluate whether he is ready for kindergarten next year.
Ask to see a copy of the assessment criteria.

Also there will be a written (canton) curriculum that you can look at - possibly not an English version though. THat will give you an idea on whether you feel the early entry is really in the best interests of your child.

Swiss Pea made some valid points for consideration in her first paragraph.
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Old 02.11.2012, 09:10
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

I think Swisspea made some very valid comments.

To help put things in perspective, my 15 year old son is the youngest in his class by at least one year i.e. all his classmates are 16 nearly 17 and some are already 18. There is a big difference between a 15 year old and an 18 year old. Luckily he is physically mature for his age, but it does open a whole host of problems as to what we will allow him to do - 16 year olds can drink beer and wine etc. and obviously we don't want him doing this.

I realise this type of problem is far in the future for you, but the issue of their social interaction can't be underestimated and in particular in the teenage years.

In my view the vast majority of children are ready for kindergarten earlier than 4 and a half, but that is the system here. I would also consider putting your son into a private school for a year, perhaps somewhere where he can concentrate on his English or somewhere bi-lingual.

In any event, I wish him a good start in his education.
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Old 02.11.2012, 22:17
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

thanks so much everyone for the great input!

My son is 2 weeks below the cutoff age and most of his friends are going to kindergarten next year which is the only reason why he wants to go as well. Personally I am happy if he doesn't have an early entrance as we will be more flexible with our holiday arrangements and I had an early entrance to my school which wasn't a very happy experience- being bullied and really slow with writing etc. He is currently in a daycare which also take the kindergarten kids in the afternoons and he enjoys playing with the bigger kids and even has made some friends. By looking at the way he interacts with other kids in his daycare and being a physically strong boy, we think sending him to an evaluation will be appropriate.

Putting him to a private preschool is a very good idea! Thanks again for the suggestion!
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Old 03.11.2012, 00:17
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

Very interesting topic for me, I didn't know that this option was available. I really wonder what are the assessment criteria for this.

My daughter started doing some things a bit earlier than average, she started telling long children poems by heart at the age of 1.8 and was talking with the extended phrases by the age of 2. She also learned all the 33 letters of Russian alphabet by 1.7 and started reading short words at 2.2, now at the age of 3 she can read long words and short sentences. Unfortunately, she doesn't speak the local language yet, but she still has time to learn it.

She is entitled to go to the kindergarten in 2014 almost at the age of 5 (she was born in October), so after I had read this thread I started thinking, maybe it would be more interesting for her to go one year earlier. However, if they pay more attention on social skills, how to express yourself and so on and do not learn to read and write etc, maybe it does not make sense, as I think that there are reading, writing and math skill she could gain quicker than average. Maybe I need to discuss it with my pediatrician.
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Old 03.11.2012, 11:50
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

In Zürich, the cut-off kindergarten entry is children whose 4th birthday is latest 30th April. My son's birthday is 3rd May and conceivably last year we could have pushed for early entry to kindergarten but we decided against it as it would have meant being one of the youngest in the class. He is also physically big for his age - so we also wanted to avoid that more would be expected of him in a kindergarten than he could actually accomplish.

In the "year off" he was going to kinderkrippe plus my wife was taking him to a class for native Dutch speaking kids once per week so he was already getting a flavour of being in a classroom situation.

Now he has started kindergarten, he is one of the older kids in the class and he is doing well by all accounts. We also continue with the Dutch class plus we take him to an hour per week of reading for English speaking kids. They haven't started reading at the kindergarten - but he is getting quite fluent with Dutch and English reading.

I think if your child is on the borderline agewise it is tempting to push them into kindergarten early, but we took the view that he will be in the school system for 15 or so years, so why be so impatient to start the ratrace early?

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Nick
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Old 03.11.2012, 14:30
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Re: early entrance evaluation for kindergarten in zurich

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She is entitled to go to the kindergarten in 2014 almost at the age of 5 (she was born in October), so after I had read this thread I started thinking, maybe it would be more interesting for her to go one year earlier. However, if they pay more attention on social skills, how to express yourself and so on and do not learn to read and write etc, maybe it does not make sense, as I think that there are reading, writing and math skill she could gain quicker than average. Maybe I need to discuss it with my pediatrician.
I think the main point here is she is not 5 until October and the cut off for Thalwil, I think, is 30th April so that is quite a substantial difference. All the cases I have heard of where children have been admitted early the child is less than 1 month younger than the cut off.

Kindergarten, as I understand it, is more on social skills, listening, developing independence and it is not until 1st Grade that the maths, reading and writing really start.
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