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  #41  
Old 18.03.2007, 19:48
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Your kids sound like one of the lucky ones to have integrated so well, good for you, it is not as easy for most as the other expats kids around, examples being on this thread of posters intodeep and Hayley.
We are lucky, but we did work at it, putting in quite a bit of effort. I wouldn't say that it was 'easy'. I have heard stories of other families that have had great difficulty, though, yes.

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Re the schools being behind by 2 years, this is most definetly the case and you will be told this by educators if you enquire. I am not just plucking it out of the air as i did much research on this before deciding.
I'm not questioning that you were given this information, not at all. I question the validity of the statement, and this comes from my experience as a middle-school teacher in the States, and from taking part in extensive studies at Yale University education lab. Looking at my son's education thus far at the local college and now at the lycee, I know without a doubt he would never be placed 2 years behind were we to return to the States.

Also, www.unil.ch/immat/page5375.html page on the University of Lausanne site gives the requirements for admission for USA students: a high school diploma + 2 years of university in a recognized program; or a high school diploma + 5 Advanced Placement tests.

I don't want to argue about your statement that Swiss schools are 2 years behind the UK or the USA, but from what I've seen, this isn't the case at all. Maybe my particular canton has a higher quality? I do not know. And of course, I'm not familiar with the UK system, so it could very well be true in that case.

Anyhow, Good Luck with the move, Annette! And Good Luck to both you and wannabe on the birth of your 3rd! I had my 3rd here, and that experience, unfortunately wasn't as positive as our school experiences!

Last edited by lolab; 18.03.2007 at 19:58. Reason: fix link
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  #42  
Old 18.03.2007, 20:06
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Re: kids in swiss school

THanks for all the info lolab. I am only going by what i have heard from qualified sources on that. Surely you see that It does stand to reason that since the French system starts official schooling exactly 2 years after the UK and US systems that they will be 2 years behind. I have heard that they start to catch up a bit more when the children are 14 but not sure how qualified that is.

I have heard another problem that even Swiss families have with the schooling but i dont yet as mine are not that age. My neighbours are swiss and when their daughter reached 10 she was streamed in a different direction that she and her parents wanted her to go so they put her into a private school so that she could choice what she wanted to study and was not forced to study what she did not want to.
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  #43  
Old 18.03.2007, 20:32
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi,
altho I think we might go for public schools probably I won`t decide till we come out and see the schools myself. Have heard so many conflicting stories. I worry slightly that the state schools do not encourage or motivate the children to do their best according to a Swiss friend whose children were in the state school until about 11 years old. She then moved them to private and has advised me to do so too. However apart from the financial implications my main worry about this is the integration of the children with the locals. This is hopefully a permanent move for us. Like yourself and wanabee I have lived in several countries over the last few years and do not want to put them into one system only to find it is not working then unsettle them again. This problem is giving me real headaches and I`m not even there yet.
I also have concerns that in the state system as wanabee says they may not be streamed the way you may wish them to be and end up not achieving their dreams. My eldest will only be in school a few months before being streamed and I feel she may be at a real disadvantage due to the language. Maybe the answer is private Swiss school ie French speaking- at the moment I really am not sure and will probably change my mind again several times before deciding.!!!
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  #44  
Old 18.03.2007, 20:47
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Re: kids in swiss school

Now I'm starting to question whether or not our canton does things differently. My youngest just turned 3 at the end of November. He starts the first year of ecole enfantine this August. The following August [2008], at age 4, he starts his second year. At age 5 [August 2009] he will start his first year of primary school. If we were in the States, because of his late birthday, he wouldn't start Kindergarten until August 2009 and his first year of primary school would be August 2010. [wow, 2010! That was really strange to type!]

As far as the practice of tracking at a young age, I totally agree that this is a problem. I don't think my younger two will have a problem with this, but my older son was placed in one of the lower tracks when he started. He worked really hard and worked his way up over the 3 years. Mid-way through his last year, he still didn't have the French level to attend lycee and we fought and fought for him to go. We ended up in a meeting with the head of Jura education and he decided to admit him to lycee on a probationary period of 6 months. Thankfully he was successful enough that he's just had his probationary status lifted. whew.

My advice to parents facing this problem would be to fight it all the way. Even my son's teachers supported his going to lycee, but clucked and talked of the 'regulations' and what a shame it was that he didn't have all of the qualifications to go when clearly he should go, etc. They are very hesitant to make exceptions to the rules here, and I think you have to talk to everyone you can until you finally find someone that will listen to you and make a sensible ruling.

wannabe - how is your son doing now? Has he settled in any better or is he still having a difficult time? I must admit that the post a month or two ago where you talked about him walking around with pictures of his old friends made me tear up a bit. Poor little guy.
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  #45  
Old 18.03.2007, 20:51
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Re: kids in swiss school

Jojo - how old will your eldest be when she starts school here and what area will you be moving to?
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  #46  
Old 18.03.2007, 21:35
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Re: kids in swiss school

Lolab, would be interested in hearing that birth experience if you are keen. Must say i am a touch tense about it all. I will now have three children all born in different countries would you believe.

I just remembered that i actually made a mistake, the UK is 3 years ahead of the Swiss system and the US is 2 years ahead, not both 2 years as I mentioned. Just looking at your post re the different levels not sure whether the cantons do perhaps do things differently but the book on Switzerland, French side, that i have says that Swiss schools start official education, as in reading and writing etc, at the age of 7. The UK starts that at age 4 and the US at age 5. Have loaned the book to a friend so dont know exactly what terminology they used but they did mention enfantine one etc.

Thanks for asking about my son. Yes he is doing much better now. I have unfortunately started limiting the contact that he has with his old friends back in the UK and have, ashamed to say, been keeping their mail and pics they send about there birthdays etc away from him. Just thought it would be better for him to start moving forward instead of constantly looking back. I also think it has helped that I have started to settle more. I suppose it is true what they say that if a mother is unsettled and unhappy then so will the whole family. He is really doing much better and has made a good many friends although i must say that they are still primarily English. I did have a bit of a worry on Friday though. He goes to the local French gardarie and the teacher said that at snack time for the second day in a row now he refuses to sit with the others and wants to sit with the teachers. She said he would not say why. I eventually got it out of him with a bribe of the park and an ice cream - bad mom - that the other children where being mean to him and did not want to talk to him and that he just wanted to be with the teachers as they could speak English to him. Hmmm, not sure what to do about that now. I was at a party this weekend where all the children were English and a French family arrived. They had a little girl, 4 and a boy 6. It was such a shocking eye opener to watch them trying to interact with the English children. The little girl tried but eventually gave up and went to sit on her own in a corner of the garden. The boy actually reacted rather violently instead and ran up to one of the English girls and hit her really badly with a toy broom on the face and ran away. It was just so interesting to see how well the English children played together and totally excluded the French speaking children. It was really sad to see happen and I wondered if this happened to my son at the garderie. His teacher did say he was a loner which is SO NOT my son as he has quite an extrevert personality. Gosh i am rambling.....

Jojo, good to see you here again. I also changed my mind a million times about the school situation and I feel so much better now that I have made a decision, it has helped ME to settle. I think you will only be able to decide for sure once you come out and visit the schools. I did visits to international, bilingual and state schools before I decided and you will get a feel for where your child will be more comfortable.
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Old 18.03.2007, 23:07
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Re: kids in swiss school

wannabe - I think you are doing the right thing with your son, I feel so badly for him reading your posts. If my children had had as hard a time, I don't know what i would have done. We lived in France before moving here and both of our children had a very hard time there - and my husband is French! They were completely excluded and both pretty miserable. I was so thankful when, after we moved here, they met other kids right away and had regular playmates. My son's b'day was just 9 days after we arrived here, and some children living nearby made a 'gift' for him - a box full of tiny toys of their own - and they offered it to him along with a small chocolate cake. It was so sweet, and I knew then that they were going to be much happier here than in France...or happier than in the USA, for that matter!

I'd be happy to share about my birth experience...is there another thread where you're talking about it?

Last edited by lolab; 18.03.2007 at 23:09. Reason: grammatical ereror
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  #48  
Old 19.03.2007, 00:08
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi ,
lolab my eldest will be 13 in Dec this year, entering CYT 2 . She will be streamed at the beginning of next year. She is very bright and wants to be a Vet so really needs to get into the VSB ( not sure of the German terminology here- the stream where you hopefully go for the bacc/maturite) . When I discussed this with the principal of one of the state schools he suggested putting her into the VSG stream initially as she might struggle because of the language. My fear is she might get stuck in that stream, when I really believe she has the potential to do better and I am absolutley certain if we were to stay here in the UK she would have no problem getting into uni etc. We will be moving to Vaud, somewhere between Lausanne and Vevey, depending on where I get a job.
JO
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Old 19.03.2007, 10:25
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi Hayley,

I know exactly what you are talking about...Am currently going through something similiar...if you want to talk, PM me.
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Old 19.03.2007, 12:57
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Re: kids in swiss school

Some replies to recent comments (Internet has been down for 24 hours in my house...)

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I think that integrating with the locals is very important if you plan to stay somewhere for a long time. It will go a long way with making your child feel part of things. We never considered private school for her, and we started out by getting involved in local activities - she does swim lessons, takes piano lessons and participates in the children's chorale. She met lots of people this way and was quickly accepted as one of 'them', for the most part.
This is the way to do it! Nothing happens by itself. We all have to work hard to make our children feel good. After all they havenīt choosen our lifestyle, have they? We are the once in charge, deciding when to stay or when to move...

Sometimes I wish I had met a guy down the block in Sweden, stayed there with mom around the corner and at the same job, language, culture and everything I know... It would have been so easy. But on the other hand I am getting so much more out of life living this way even if it is tough sometimes. I have experienced more the last few years than in my whole life before that.

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WANNABEE: Yucks i hope no Americans see the generalisation you made about the violence and fast food mentality in America.
I am sorry. I shouldnīt generalize, you are right. But I just watched a documentary by Michael Moore about school violence in the States a few days ago. I guess I still have those tragic pictures fresh in mind. Also, I love the States in many ways, we used to live there and my husband is American but I never really settled. We both feel more at home in Europe than anywhere else in the world.

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WANNABEE: I also think it has helped that I have started to settle more. I suppose it is true what they say that if a mother is unsettled and unhappy then so will the whole family.
I totally agree with this. If you are a happy mom your kids will be happy. Very simple.

We had plans to move in June already to let my 5 yr old settle before starting school but with a newborn baby, a 3 year old and a husband working in Sardinia for all of July, I decided to stay here in Mallorca and postpone everything until August. Just because here I am at least comfortable and know where I can drop off the kids and who to call if baby blues attacks.

It might be a bit stressful for Nelly to start school immediately but for sure less stressful than having a Mom sitting on the couch sobbing (and breastfeeding) because she doesnīt know how to get to the playground or how to find certain groceries in the grocerystore because of lack of language skills... So, if we all do what makes us feel good our kids will also feel good, or at least better...

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By the way, I am also expecting my third How far along are you. Are you staying put until the baby comes. If not let me know as I can give you some info about Gynis, hospitals etc. Also about insurance cover. Alot of the expats seemed to go to some really posh expensive private hospital over here Our insurance would cover the hospital once we have been here a year only and the baby is coming way before then so state hospital it is. Not to worried about that though as it is my third after all. But it is amazing the comments you get. One of the moms over here actually showed me a baby bag and said, if you go to the private clinic you get this baby bag free. Ha, ha, ha, now that is a reason to want to go to the private clinic. Unfortunatly it is hard not to run into many many pretentious expats that are here on the hubbys company money. if you know what i mean.
I know, I know... I am not a Posh Spice Girl... far from it. Have never cared about fancy cars, fashion designer clothes or wearing the right sunglasses (they just break anyway having all these kids around, so I couldnīt be bother to spend hundreds of Euros on a par of sunnies that will last for a couple of months...) But I do rely on my husbands paycheck.

I am hoping to start my own little projects though once I get to CH. To keep myself from going insane with wiping butts, dressing whining kids, dealing with tantrums, bleeding knees, food strikes and constant sleep distruption because of kids coming in like beads on a thread at night... And I am having a third one? Crazy, that is my middle name. Baby girl due in May and I will write you a PM regarding this, Wannabee. Also I want to learn more about the bilingual schools that you are talking about, where do I find info about those? It is one thing to send one child to Int school, but three??? Way to expensive.

Annette
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  #51  
Old 19.03.2007, 13:44
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Re: kids in swiss school

Welcome back online Annette

I just realised how similar your set up is to a friend of mines. She is from Sweden, her hubby is American and she has two kids, a boy and a girl. She lives in Lausanne sur Le Mont but she is considering moving to Vevey soon too. I will have to introduce you to her when you arrive.

Yes my middle name is crazy too having a third. Dont know how i am going to cope just yet and like you I am always busy with little projects of my own. Oh well, i am sure we will manage. Yes, 3 in private schools is going to cost but the way I figured is when I sat down and worked it out, we could pay for no.1 on our own but my concern was no.2, so that is why we pressured DHs company, so now no.2 is covered and a bit of no.3. I reckon that by the time no.3 goes to school in 4 years time, DH will have had many increases and i will maybe do some part time work as I dont know how i would deal with sitting at home from 9am - 4pm whilst they are all at school, so we should be sorted. I actually sat and wrote down all the expenses till 2015.

I look forward to your pm and we can chat more as between you and I we are writing a book on her.
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Old 19.03.2007, 14:11
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Re: kids in swiss school

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I'd be happy to share about my birth experience...is there another thread where you're talking about it?
Great, i was following a thread here,

http://www.englishforum.ch/family-ma...s-stories.html

But it is quite old.
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  #53  
Old 19.03.2007, 15:17
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Re: kids in swiss school

Annette asked where you can find out about the bilingual schools, well I can't help if you're on the French side but if you are looking at Zurich then www.circleofschools.ch has a list of many international and bilingual schools. Go to the list of member sites and you can access each schools website.

There is probably something similar for other regions.

As people have said the bilingual schools are cheaper than international schools and the kids tend to spend Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday in one language and then the rest of the week in the other. This does mean that each child has two main teachers as they only teach in their mother language. There are also specialists in subjects like music, PE and art so potentially children are dealing with a lot of different staff members.

In international schools they will still have different teachers for specialist subjects but will have one main teacher who they work with each day.

Some children get very attached to their "main teacher" and this should also be a consideration, how will your child cope with lots of changes.

I'm not saying which is right but it's something to keep in mind.
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  #54  
Old 19.03.2007, 15:26
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi Annette,
you can check out most of the schools at the following website.
http://www.avdep.ch/

I have not actually visited any yet altho I know Wanabee has and can give you the rundown on them . There are a few about offering different options at secondary level eg International bacc, Swiss maturity, French Bacc, English Curriculum. The ones I had been looking at were Haut Lac, ENSR and College Champittet ( which has only been running the bilingual programme for a short time I believe).
Jo
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Old 19.03.2007, 15:39
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hello! My kid is going to the French school in Gockhausen, but it is quite international, and much cheaper than the International schools (tuitions around 7K /year) Advantage are numerous, apart from learning another language, but I know that there is English theater class given on Wednesday afternoon. I honestly don't know if these classes are opened to children who are not attending the school, but you may give it a try. And have you tried the WAC? (Something like the Woman American ....) I went there once, but they have moved (used to be in Volketswill), basically mothers meetings and children wednesday afternoons classes...
Good luck!
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Old 19.03.2007, 17:23
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Re: kids in swiss school

Yes www.avdep.ch is the private school association for the canton of Vaud. There is a school in Gland which is a private school and it is really not expensive at all. In fact it is cheaper than the bilingual schools by about 4000chf or so. It does have a very christian ethos though which may or may not be a problem. It is www.cedarsschool.ch.

The schools Jo mentioned are on the internet just use there names as the address. If you want further info on what i thoght of each then let me know as I did go and visit them all.

If you need info on the state schools, as in the programmes etc and locations in Vaud then have a look at www.vd.ch. It is in French though.
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Old 19.03.2007, 18:12
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi,
It is time to prepare dinner but I will check out the links about schools later this evening or maybe tomorrow afternoon. Great information! Sometimes it feels like I am the only one researching this issue as my husband seem to have the "relax, it will be alright" attitude... I want to do find out as much as I can before I make any decissions, and like some of you I will probably change my mind a thousand times before we know what the pick will be.

Canīt wait to hear more about the Swedish girl in Lausanne from you Wannabee, will write to you soon when there is peace and quiet in the house.

Annette
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Old 19.03.2007, 18:34
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Re: kids in swiss school

Doing dinner too, chicken pie from left over roast, how exciting.

Your DH sounds just like mine, typical male head in the sand approach. My turn to generalise, sorry all the males out there.
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Old 19.03.2007, 21:20
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Re: kids in swiss school

Jojo - My son was streamed into the lower level, too, and that's how we ended up fighting for him to be able to go on to lycee. I think that if I had to do it all over again, I'd insist that he go into the baccalaureate track from the beginning, and get him extra help with the language.

I think it all depends on your canton, though. If I recall correctly, Vaud and Geneve have less rigid requirements for admission to lycee than Neuchatel and Jura. So, maybe, with a cooperative and supportive school principal who will work with you to make sure she is working towards lycee as a goal, it may work out just fine. And there is always private school as an option if she is not admitted to lycee at the end of her college years. Good luck with your decision, I know it's not easy!

Also, I don't know if your daughter will be going to uni in Switzerland, but the only vet school is in Bern, and instruction is in German. My daughter wants to be a vet, too, but she's studying German now at age 9 and we hope she will be up to speed by the time she reaches uni. Or maybe she'll change her mind as lots and lots of young girls want to be a vet!

Last edited by lolab; 19.03.2007 at 21:21. Reason: spelling error
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Old 19.03.2007, 21:41
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Re: kids in swiss school

hi,
lolab I did look into the various unis offering Vet Medicine and found Bern. She started studying German just this year with a small group of kids after school. My German is really very very basic ie O level 30 years ago!! so I am also trying to learn it or at least keep up with her so I can be of some assistance to her. In Vaud I think that she will be offered German at school. As you say my girl is only 12 and may change her mind several times. The last thing I wanted to be was a nurse ( after considering being glaciologist, geography teacher, surveyor, nun!!!........)and here I am still at it!
Jo
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