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Old 06.12.2012, 16:30
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Registering for School Mid Year

We are relocating to Zurich in January, house hunting, and then my husband begins employment in February. We are curious about how soon we need to have our children registered in the local public school. Obviously, we would like to get them immersed as soon as possible, but a little time to explore our new city would be welcome. Advice welcome.
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Old 06.12.2012, 23:40
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

Hi there, my first thought was "I really wonder which impact has it got on children to be relocated to a new country where people speak a different language in the middle of the school year? why do parents do that to their kids really?". I don't know what people are going to answer to your question but how do you want to register your children in a school without knowing where exactly you are going to live? And for the sightseeing, well you will have every single weekends to do so I guess!
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Old 07.12.2012, 04:35
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

If you're registering in Zurich proper, they'll pay you a visit, personally, in about a week or two. I was giving my 4yo (at the time) daughter her bedtime bath when the lady came knocking around 7pm one night. They'll be very proactive in getting the kids into school.

It should also be noted, since this will probably be a bit of a surprise for you coming from the states and having pulled the kids out of school so early before moving, but they take school attendance VERY SERIOUSLY. No skivving off a day early before one of the many 2-week ski/winter/fall/whatever breaks as one family did that with their daughter and the mom went to jail protesting the 5k chf fine the judge gave her after they caught them at the airport. I needed to get my daughter to Bern once for some passport business, and called my daughter in sick (it was a Friday and we made a 3-day trip out of it)...the headmaster called me from an unlisted phone to check up on us and she hadn't had any days absent prior to that. Anything short of a death of someone in the immediate family takes some negotiation to get time out of school.
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Old 07.12.2012, 05:25
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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Hi there, my first thought was "I really wonder which impact has it got on children to be relocated to a new country where people speak a different language in the middle of the school year? why do parents do that to their kids really?". I don't know what people are going to answer to your question but how do you want to register your children in a school without knowing where exactly you are going to live? And for the sightseeing, well you will have every single weekends to do so I guess!
I am not going to groan at you. Joining local schools in the middle of the school year is very difficult, especially before ski break. I agree with you on this. International schools have kids coming and going throughout the year, but this is not the case in local schools.

In response to your question, "why do parents do that to their kids really?" Well, not all parents have a choice in the matter. Others just don't look at other options. I know of situations where parents chose to live apart temporarily so the children could enter school at the start of the school year. This is far more logical particularly because children who need to learn German from scratch joining mid year is a big problem for the teacher.
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Old 07.12.2012, 05:33
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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If you're registering in Zurich proper, they'll pay you a visit, personally, in about a week or two. I was giving my 4yo (at the time) daughter her bedtime bath when the lady came knocking around 7pm one night. They'll be very proactive in getting the kids into school.
This is very interesting because I have never heard of anyone paying someone a visit.

Usually when you register your family the question is asked about the children's schooling. It could be international school, or home schooling, for example, which has been chosen. I try to register children in local schools in advance, particularly so I can arrange for German language instruction. What is available varies widely, particularly in Kanton Aargau. Often I choose an area because of the availability of German language instruction for non German speakers.
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Old 07.12.2012, 05:44
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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This is very interesting because I have never heard of anyone paying someone a visit.

Usually when you register your family the question is asked about the children's schooling. It could be international school, or home schooling, for example, which has been chosen. I try to register children in local schools in advance, particularly so I can arrange for German language instruction. What is available varies widely, particularly in Kanton Aargau. Often I choose an area because of the availability of German language instruction for non German speakers.
We were pretty surprised, too, especially given the time of day and because she was already registered in a bilingual school outside of Zurich proper and the kreisburo and other such offices had already been made aware of that...or so we thought. If we understood her correctly, she said they check up on all children newly arrived to make sure they're registered and that they are in a good environment.
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Old 07.12.2012, 06:52
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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If you're registering in Zurich proper, they'll pay you a visit, personally, in about a week or two. I was giving my 4yo (at the time) daughter her bedtime bath when the lady came knocking around 7pm one night. They'll be very proactive in getting the kids into school.

It should also be noted, since this will probably be a bit of a surprise for you coming from the states and having pulled the kids out of school so early before moving, but they take school attendance VERY SERIOUSLY. No skivving off a day early before one of the many 2-week ski/winter/fall/whatever breaks as one family did that with their daughter and the mom went to jail protesting the 5k chf fine the judge gave her after they caught them at the airport. I needed to get my daughter to Bern once for some passport business, and called my daughter in sick (it was a Friday and we made a 3-day trip out of it)...the headmaster called me from an unlisted phone to check up on us and she hadn't had any days absent prior to that. Anything short of a death of someone in the immediate family takes some negotiation to get time out of school.
You paint a pretty bleak picture - and while you don't have the freedom here as in the US to take kids out of school, they also aren't so inflexible. Here we get a couple of "joker" days to use for times like you mention. Also, if you have a good relationship with the teacher and tell them ahead of time you would be surprised what you can get permission for.

Did you talk to the teacher ahead of time (or headmaster?). I have never had the school call after I called the teacher to say my child was sick. Of course, they really were sick, or at least at home. Maybe private bilingual schools are more rigorous.

To answer the OP, I would think that once you register as living here with the city, the kids will need to be in school asap. Do you have a relo company you can ask? It is much better to know where you are living before you have to start school as you go to school where you live. We were able to start our children in the village where we are living for the 2 months before our house was finished as I didn't want them to have to start new 2 times... So if there is a way to find accommodation first, that would be beneficial.
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Old 07.12.2012, 07:19
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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Hi there, my first thought was "I really wonder which impact has it got on children to be relocated to a new country where people speak a different language in the middle of the school year? why do parents do that to their kids really?". I don't know what people are going to answer to your question but how do you want to register your children in a school without knowing where exactly you are going to live? And for the sightseeing, well you will have every single weekends to do so I guess!
Really its totally simple, the kids are way more resilient and able to handle the change then you!

In most cases if you take on an offer you dont get the choice to defer the move by up 6 months or more, we did it and the kids were absolutem fine so moving mid year is not an issue. To the negative comment quoted (who seems to be not experienced at the subject) it makes almost no difference out of their full school life they will catchup and in most cases do even better longer term. Probably the only exception is if they are older kids near the end of regular schooling but any that are in the primary years then dont even worry about it they will thrive
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Old 07.12.2012, 08:23
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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We are relocating to Zurich in January, house hunting, and then my husband begins employment in February. We are curious about how soon we need to have our children registered in the local public school. Obviously, we would like to get them immersed as soon as possible, but a little time to explore our new city would be welcome. Advice welcome.
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Hi there, my first thought was "I really wonder which impact has it got on children to be relocated to a new country where people speak a different language in the middle of the school year? why do parents do that to their kids really?"
That seems awfully judgemental. I can't imagine a parent who doesn't do their best to take their children's welfare into consideration in this sort of situation. In our case we are bringing our children to CH in the middle of the school year because in New Zealand they will be finishing their school year in December. There are plenty of reasons that maybe you're not aware of. Not to mention that it didn't answer the original question.

...

We are being provided with an apartment when we first arrive until we can rent a place of our own, and so I have been trying to find out similar (ie. what happens if we shift into another school zone). I've been told on this forum that you will need to enrol your children quite soon after arriving because they do indeed expect your children to be attending school straight away. Is there a chance you can get a housing agent to help you settle? We are very lucky to have been offered this help and so we will be able to rent a place and get our kids sorted with help from a local.

We expect to do most of our major family sightseeing in the first week in CH and then on weekends or in school holidays. Just exploring our neighbourhood will be enough for a start - or even exploring the local market! If your time in CH is long, there's no great rush to see all the things.
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Old 07.12.2012, 08:43
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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That seems awfully judgemental. I can't imagine a parent who doesn't do their best to take their children's welfare into consideration in this sort of situation. In our case we are bringing our children to CH in the middle of the school year because in New Zealand they will be finishing their school year in December. There are plenty of reasons that maybe you're not aware of. Not to mention that it didn't answer the original question.

...

We are being provided with an apartment when we first arrive until we can rent a place of our own, and so I have been trying to find out similar (ie. what happens if we shift into another school zone). I've been told on this forum that you will need to enrol your children quite soon after arriving because they do indeed expect your children to be attending school straight away. Is there a chance you can get a housing agent to help you settle? We are very lucky to have been offered this help and so we will be able to rent a place and get our kids sorted with help from a local.

We expect to do most of our major family sightseeing in the first week in CH and then on weekends or in school holidays. Just exploring our neighbourhood will be enough for a start - or even exploring the local market! If your time in CH is long, there's no great rush to see all the things.
You will do fine we moved from Aust in the March. The kids did 3 weeks of the new year in Australia, arrived here did the last 3 months of the year that was finishing here and yes we then agreed with the schoo they should repeat the year that they had only seen 3 months of. They have thrived. In answer to your question you will need to enrol the kids promptly and we enrolled them in the community to where we selected our permanent accomodation which was some 3 months before we were moved into it. Anyone that tells you this is possible doesnt know their facts

By the way -It will take you years to see everything!
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Old 07.12.2012, 14:28
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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You paint a pretty bleak picture - and while you don't have the freedom here as in the US to take kids out of school, they also aren't so inflexible. Here we get a couple of "joker" days to use for times like you mention. Also, if you have a good relationship with the teacher and tell them ahead of time you would be surprised what you can get permission for.
Those 'joker' days, there are two of them, and the school can choose whether or not to accept your request to use one or not. I didn't want to deal with that possibility and since I had hoped to reserve those days for emergencies of some sort, I just hit the easy button.

It's not a bleak picture, but there are a lots of shockers ahead for these folks since nobody wants to pee on freshly fallen snow. The schools do take attendance very seriously and, for the most part, discourage parent participation of any kind (by contrast, I'm really worn out by all the volunteering I'm doing on this side....no happy medium). The kids will be expected to walk to and from school on their own, etc.

I still wonder what happened to the mother who dared to dream of cheaper airfares and took their kid out one day early, got busted at the airport and then wound up in jail refusing to pay the fine. Now /that's/ bleak.

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Did you talk to the teacher ahead of time (or headmaster?). I have never had the school call after I called the teacher to say my child was sick. Of course, they really were sick, or at least at home. Maybe private bilingual schools are more rigorous.
As far as I know, the school didn't 'chip' her so they could track her movements at any time...so, I don't know. My daughter is almost never sick and she wasn't poorly the day before so....the Head probably knew and wanted to cast a warning shot across my bow in the "We do actually take this very seriously" kind of way. We went to Europapark for the weekend after hitting Bern so, I didn't really care if he wanted to make a simple sickie into a ponderous affair.
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Old 07.12.2012, 14:58
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

Where we are, school is helpful and flexible,just shows the differences in communities. It doesn't nitpick on kids who are really sick. It nitpicks on parents who teach their kids that pretending to be sick while sightseeing (and exposing their kids to a teacher's simple question "are you ok NOW" afterwards,teaching them to lie) is actually ok.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:10
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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I am not going to groan at you. Joining local schools in the middle of the school year is very difficult, especially before ski break. I agree with you on this. International schools have kids coming and going throughout the year, but this is not the case in local schools.

In response to your question, "why do parents do that to their kids really?" Well, not all parents have a choice in the matter. Others just don't look at other options. I know of situations where parents chose to live apart temporarily so the children could enter school at the start of the school year. This is far more logical particularly because children who need to learn German from scratch joining mid year is a big problem for the teacher.
I mean, for some perspective, some people leave war zones in the middle of the year and their kids are fine. I really think if this is your kids worse problem, they have it pretty damned good.

And kids are quite resilient.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:14
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

Back to the original question...you'll be expected to put the kids into school ASAP. How they handle integration depends on the local area, but in Zurich I know they have special integration classes for primary school, but for kindergarten they may just walk straight in to the regular class.

The age cutoffs will be different, along with the school year anyway, so expect that your kids will quite likely pick up an extra year of schooling, possibly even two - depending on their birthdays - and it's not really 'repeating' because it's going to be pretty much all new - new curriculum, new language, new school, new town...

We arrived at the end of July, and I can tell you that after about 10 days the kids were absolutely ready to begin school...and bored...and sick of being dragged around to buy furniture, food, clothing, whatever...so getting them into school ASAP when you know you will have a 2 week 'sport holiday' then not much later a 2 week 'spring' holiday and then easter, ascension and pentecost - plenty of extra days off for tourist stuff...

Putting my 'teacher' hat on I'd be recommending that you switch to your new routine fairly quickly - for us it felt like a holiday for about 5weeks, and then after that, just plain old hard work getting adapted to a new society and way of living...

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Old 07.12.2012, 15:20
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

How old are you children? It will make a huge difference on how easy it will be for them to fit in. The younger the better.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:28
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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The age cutoffs will be different, along with the school year anyway, so expect that your kids will quite likely pick up an extra year of schooling, possibly even two - depending on their birthdays - and it's not really 'repeating' because it's going to be pretty much all new - new curriculum, new language, new school, new town..
Except to most kids it is "repeating", no matter how much you try to sugarcoat it. The grade level is less important in my experience than placing children with the age appropriate peers.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:28
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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Where we are, school is helpful and flexible,just shows the differences in communities. It doesn't nitpick on kids who are really sick. It nitpicks on parents who teach their kids that pretending to be sick while sightseeing (and exposing their kids to a teacher's simple question "are you ok NOW" afterwards,teaching them to lie) is actually ok.
Does everything have to be a moral hazard when you have kids? JFC on a pogo stick. What do you do for kids whose parents explained that a) they were lying b) that it was for something necessary and c) sometimes you lie without malice, e.g. no, Frau Gooch, that doesn't make your ass look fat at all.

Some kids are naturals, some have to be taught...and the rest learn from each other. And then there are parents who tell their kids a few weeks before xmas that santa is a lie....well, me, we're going to teh North Pole in 2 weeks...THANKS HONEST PARENTS. *grumble* I need more coffee and fewer santimonious arseholes.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:32
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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To answer the OP, I would think that once you register as living here with the city, the kids will need to be in school asap. Do you have a relo company you can ask?
OP already said she has no relo company provided to her.
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:39
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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OP already said she has no relo company provided to her.
Thanks...found it now in the other thread!
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Old 07.12.2012, 15:46
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Re: Registering for School Mid Year

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Thanks...is that in a different thread?

yes, it is here.

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There is no relo specialist, I asked. We're on our own, but not really....You've all been a wonderful resource! Thank for your advice so far!
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