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  #121  
Old 20.09.2007, 02:10
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Re: kids in swiss school

We are planning to move to the Lausanne area next year with three kids (5,7 & 2 yrs). They speak French (Mom is French) so they are going to public school. I hope it works out OK, this thread has been very informative.

My personal experience with public vs. private is that it doesn't matter so much, more depends on the parents and how THEY teach their kids.

I don't know what I'm going to do when the kids start openly plotting in german in front of me!

Anyway, thanks for the thread.

-S68
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  #122  
Old 20.09.2007, 06:25
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Re: kids in swiss school (Zurich specifically)

At this point we're a bit time-crunched...

We will move to Zürich late October 2007 and we need to get the kids into school immediately. This was a surprise to us as in the US you could "home school" children for some time.

We're debating the proper course:
  1. International school. Easy, safe. Costly.
  2. Bilingual school. Better, we are moving to Switzerland in part to learn another language.
  3. Local school. Scary but maybe one of the small classes work?
I've read this and other threads and my wife and I are all over the place on this. Our kids are 7 and 10. No German (yet!).

Any thoughts on Zürich schools specifically?
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  #123  
Old 23.10.2007, 19:32
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hello,
Good luck on your move from Seattle. We just moved here from CA. We have a 8 (next week) year old and 3 year old. We are in Zurich and are going the public school route. So far so good, everyone has been really friendly. They have a special class for kids who don't speak any German. It's for all school ages from 6-13?? Our class has 8 students. The teacher is great and speaks German to the kids. We've just started but hopefully it'll go well.

You can pm if you would like to chat

Good luck

J
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  #124  
Old 23.10.2007, 19:57
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Re: kids in swiss school (Zurich specifically)

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At this point we're a bit time-crunched...

We will move to Zürich late October 2007 and we need to get the kids into school immediately. This was a surprise to us as in the US you could "home school" children for some time.

We're debating the proper course:
  1. International school. Easy, safe. Costly.
  2. Bilingual school. Better, we are moving to Switzerland in part to learn another language.
  3. Local school. Scary but maybe one of the small classes work?
I've read this and other threads and my wife and I are all over the place on this. Our kids are 7 and 10. No German (yet!).

Any thoughts on Zürich schools specifically?
Drop them in the state school system - they will swim, honestly. Your biggest issue will be keeping up with them in German.
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  #125  
Old 23.10.2007, 22:46
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Re: kids in swiss school (Zurich specifically)

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At this point we're a bit time-crunched...

We will move to Zürich late October 2007 and we need to get the kids into school immediately. This was a surprise to us as in the US you could "home school" children for some time.

We're debating the proper course:
  1. International school. Easy, safe. Costly.
  2. Bilingual school. Better, we are moving to Switzerland in part to learn another language.
  3. Local school. Scary but maybe one of the small classes work?
I've read this and other threads and my wife and I are all over the place on this. Our kids are 7 and 10. No German (yet!).

Any thoughts on Zürich schools specifically?

Take a look at all 3 options and try to get copies of the curruculum.

1. How long are you planning to stay? If not long and especailly if the company will pay then put them in the American International school and emphasize that you want them to be in classes where there are a high percentage of children who speak English well and that the teacher has an MEd. Will the kids take the International Bacc.?

Ask for a tour of the school and a quick peak of the classes in session.
2. Will they follow both the US curriculum and Swiss so that the kids can do SAT's regional state exams etc to a level that they will fit in okay if you were to go back, or transfer to a Swiss school at an age-appropriate level into Sec or Gymi. Ask how many kids transfer later and where to.

3. Best bet if you are staying long term and live in an fairly affluent level where foreigners are seen as an asset and not a problem. Ask what percentage of the kids go to Sek or Gymi. This may seem cheaper, but you should also think about home schooling them in the American system so that they don't lose out if they want o return later. Also you may need an tutor to support their learning in school something like the Lernstudio?
If you find a tutor check their credentials/ references and watch them teach.

If at any of these school the parents encourage you to contact other parents for info on the school this is a good sign.

Listen to your kids and get any problems sorted out early.
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  #126  
Old 26.10.2007, 07:08
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Re: kids in swiss school

Thanks for all the info....

I am officially scared I need information or a contact to speak to from Heerbrugg or surrounds in the St Gallen canton. I need to find education and housing.
tonia
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  #127  
Old 26.10.2007, 07:21
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Thanks for all the info....

I am officially scared I need information or a contact to speak to from Heerbrugg or surrounds in the St Gallen canton. I need to find education and housing.
tonia
That is a bit out in the sticks .

This is a good starting point. The Bildung link on the top menu will take you to the schools.

For accommodation start with homegate.
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  #128  
Old 26.10.2007, 12:15
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Re: kids in swiss school

thanks Bob,

I will try it.
Tonia
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  #129  
Old 20.11.2007, 09:43
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Re: kids in swiss school

interesting posts. lots of information.

Anyone sending their kids to Obersee Bilingual school in Pfaffikon or Gemini international school Ferienbach.

Appreciate if you could share your experiences.

Regards
landmark
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  #130  
Old 20.11.2007, 15:32
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Thanks for all the info....

I am officially scared I need information or a contact to speak to from Heerbrugg or surrounds in the St Gallen canton. I need to find education and housing.
tonia
My kids go to a local school, and are now bi-lingual and very happy, totally thriving. If at any stage they don't, we will move them to an International School.

In St Gallen area there must be plenty of local schools. Why don't you try one of these first, and see how it goes? Its the quickest way for your kids to settle and learn the language, and a real bonus to have friends down the road. Don't forget, some of the people who post scary stories haven't actually tested it. I know of a mother who tested an international school and in the trial week the kid was left at a park ... found by mum when they didn't return. The kid was forgotten. There are plenty of scary stories around in all schools, key is to make your own assessment of the actual situation in your area.

If you choose international over local, I don't know of an International School in St Gallen, but if you can commute to your work from WIntethur (easy commute, against the traffic as most are going to ZH, about 20 mins is my guess) Winterthur is a great place to live. There are two choices of International school, one of which is bi-lingual. Info on Winterthur area is found at http://www.city.winterthur.ch/defaul...uppe=0&Seite=0

http://www.iswinterthur.ch/ international school

www.sis-winterthur.ch bilingual school

Good luck! And if you wnat to know more feel free to join our expats meet up group (free networking with others in WInterthur) at http://expat.meetup.com/125/ or join our yahoo group Expats-in-Winterthur@yahoo.com.

Wishing you loads of luck, and don't worry, we all manage it!

Lisa
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  #131  
Old 20.11.2007, 15:41
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Re: kids in swiss school

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<snip> if you can commute to your work from WIntethur (easy commute, against the traffic as most are going to ZH, about 20 mins is my guess) <snip>
Hmmm. 60Km in 20 mins. 180 Km an hour. That could be expensive .
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  #132  
Old 20.11.2007, 18:34
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Re: kids in swiss school

I had posted questions about kids going to public school in Switzerland earlier, I thought I'd give an update now that we're 1 month in.

Our kids are going to a "kleine klasse" in Zurich. This is a separate class for kids who don't speak German. The teachers are friendly and good, the school is very nice. We've had our hiccups (some of them below) but overall we're very pleased with how things are going. We of course reserve the right to pull the ripcord and move them to an International school later, but so far it has been great having the kids learning German this quickly.

The only sad part is we are told that Zurich is winding down the Deutsch fur Fremdsprachige program (the separate non-German-speaking class) at the end of this year. Coming from the US I understand budget cuts but I am sad this is happening.

Glitches & hiccups:
  1. Kids come home for long lunches. It is a very nice way to operate, the kids need that downtime. For the parents though, sheesh, I want to hike:-)
  2. Couple of days a week are early dismissal. Good for the kids, tougher on the schedule. Somehow we never quite manage to understand which days are which.
  3. Phys Ed (turnen?) was a surprise. We needed separate clothes, shoes, etc. Nice surprise, good to see kids exercise. But a surprise.
  4. Swimming: same as above, a surprise but a nice one.
Only time will tell but so far we are pleased with how this is going. Kids are happy and learning German, they have made some friends (I cannot tell you the fun with my English-only kids playing with French/Arabic-only kids, warms my heart how they still manage to communicate).
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  #133  
Old 01.12.2007, 19:49
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Re: kids in swiss school

I think this thread is absolutely fantastic and really clarified several things I had in mind but never asked anyone. We're moving to Vevey in January 08 and I'm extremely anxious about all aspects of living in a new country. By no means I'm unfamiliar with moving countries but still, everytime I do so, I get anxious about it. My son is 5 years old and will be going to school as soon as we arrive. I haven't found any schools , apart from the international ones, who will take him and give the same level of education as he is receiving now (he goes to a british school). Indeed one local school said he could be acessed and put on a more advanced level if they find it necessary but I can't gamble with his education. I know that the public school system only really start with numbers and letters at the age of 7 in Switzerland so I am highly inclined to send him to an international school as we don't know how long we will stay there for (could be a year, could be more, we just don't know). Of course if we're there for the long haul then I will weight my options at a later date and look more deeply into the possibility of sending him to a state school. I'll be back with my first impressions soon

Also, is there a group of expat mothers in Vevey?
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  #134  
Old 01.12.2007, 21:56
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi
I think there are some clubs in Lausanne eg. American women etc. I live just outside Vevey, there are lots of expats in the area. My village seems to be a suburb of nestle so it is full of expats.There is also the English Church in Vevey where you will meet many expats, they have a monthly lunch session for women I think as well as other events. If you send your child to one of the international schools eg Haut Lac they often have family events.
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  #135  
Old 03.12.2007, 18:47
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Re: kids in swiss school

I am and exchange student going to a Kantonsschule in Chur. I am not too amazing with the language yet and I am also having some of the same problems your child is having. I have a lot of friends at school, and everyone talks to me, but I really dont get invited out that much.

In my opinion it could be because the kids are kind of uncomfortable with me still and it is still at that awkward stage where we dont have much to talk about. I am sure things are going to get better for me, and I would guess as time goes on for your child as well. I would suggest starting your child in some sort of easy sport maybe...like ice skating, or something for younger kids. Sports are always a good way to meet people. As for you meeting people, just try to learn the language and you just have to get out there. I know for Graubunden (where I live) people love to practice their English on you (even if you ask something in German). I dont know about the more central cities, my friends have told me that people in other places are really stuck up, but I dont see it.

The big thing though is to work on the language...as they say, "The key to a Swiss German's heart is speaking Swiss German"
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  #136  
Old 03.12.2007, 20:35
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Re: kids in swiss school

Dear quinallex,

My kids (11 and 9 ) are in a private bilingual school close to Lausanne. There are lots of English speaking kids in the school and many came from the Vevey area. They have even a special French progam for English speaking kids to help them with the language. This could be an option for you.
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  #137  
Old 05.12.2007, 21:42
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hello

Can anybody tell us how difficult/easy it would be to get on with communicating in English for every day life types of activities in Zurich. We have an 8 month old boy and we don't speak German. (have not moved to Switzerland yet as waiting for offer). So our concerns would be, say if we went to a pharmacy, doctor, swiming or any other activities for the child, will English be understood and accepted or will we have a hard time and get strange looks.
I know that I am in the 'kids in school thread' but this would also relate to later on when we enrol him in kindergarden and how English would be spoken by the teachers, administrators etc. Just to mention that currently we live in the Netherlands and almost perfect English is spoken by everybody here.
If you can please share your thoughts on this, it would be appreciated.

Thank you.
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  #138  
Old 05.12.2007, 22:50
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi all doctors will speak english and probably many other languages as will the pharmacist. My children have always been lucky in that most of the swimming teachers have some english but not all. In the music school all the teachers my children have had have been english speakers as well. The times you get into difficulty i find is with local work men who really only speak swiss german and I struggle to understand with my limited high german.
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  #139  
Old 05.12.2007, 22:59
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Thanks for all the info....

I am officially scared I need information or a contact to speak to from Heerbrugg or surrounds in the St Gallen canton. I need to find education and housing.
tonia
Just found this thread. Heerbrugg....sounds like you might be on your way to a company starting with L....

There is an international school here in Buchs which is much easier to get to than the Winterthur ones suggested elsewhere - said company are (or at least were) one of the sponsors of the school.

Having said that mine went to local schools and seem to have survived - although being here more or less permanently probably helps.
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  #140  
Old 10.12.2007, 14:07
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Re: kids in swiss school

Our son aged 8 has now been in the local Swiss school for almost one semester. He is in an "integration class", which means that it is for kids with no or weak German, and aged 7 to 12 (1 to 5 year in Swiss school).

The idea is that when the kid's German is judged good enough, they are moved to a normal class. This seems to be after a year or so in most cases.

The experince is mixed, but mainly positive.

Positives first:

- The teacher is great, she is very enthusiastic even if she has some challenges that most of her colleagues do not.

- The standard is quite high. Our son comes from one of the best state schools in Denmark (we lived in a wealthy area) and have as far as we can see continued the level. Homework typically about an hour per day, but varies. He normally does it without needing prompting.

- His German is picking up well, he is now playing with one of the neighbours.

- Swimming.

- He likes his school!

The negatives:

- The kids are a _very_ mixed bag. This is not bad in itself, but some kids are traumatised (Chechnya, Iraq) and live in refugee shelters and have serious problems adjusting to normal situations.

- a lot of coming and going in the class. They were 9 in August, now they are 12, and one has left already.

- socially, he has a hard time to relate to many of the kids. Either age, gender or background makes it difficult. This is of course bad luck.

Would we do the same again? Probably yes, but he would have had lessons in High German rather than Swiss German before he started.

And by the way, you can home school here. I did that. We arrived at easter and were away all of June, we saw no reason starting him for a total of 6 weeks before the summer.

And remember, all of this varies between municipalities...
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