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Old 05.02.2009, 01:30
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Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

Hello,

Moving to Zurich soon. Actually I'm here - but family are moving soon from an English-speaking country.

We have 2 kids (one under 1, one aged 3). The 3 year old is in a Monetessori preschool in our home country. She's very happy, love sit and is doing
well. In our home country, she does 4 half-days for abt 450 CHF per month.

Again - she's 3 now. We know we can't do State Kindergarten for another 2 years. I've also checked the other threads to get insights. We don't want daycare, we want a good sessional/instructional program that will help her learn.

We want her to continue learning and loving preschool. Delighted to have her exposed/immersed in German language as her mind is super-elastic now providing the teacher is nice

We're thinking of living in the suburban/outlying area NW of Zurich between Baden and the City Centre.

I'll be reasonably well-paid but can't afford to spend as much on education for 1 child as we do on housing. A lot of the bilingual schools look very good and provide German too. However, fees look like 20-30K CHF per year for them!!!

I'm wondering if there is a good layer of local German-language/Swiss preschools that are better value and used by local folks? If so - what kind of fees do they pay?

Her current school is very local, not a "brand name", doesn't have a website but run by a super-dedicated teacher-owner and is educationally superb and has a student teacher ratio of 6:1.

Got a strong bias for Montessori methods....

I'm pretty stressed out about this so any help would be appreciated :-)

Last edited by killylastin; 05.02.2009 at 09:07.
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Old 05.02.2009, 10:04
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

Regardless of method, you'll be looking at fees of around 90-150 CHF/day. Cheaper in the countryside, more expensive in the city.
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Old 05.02.2009, 10:06
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

Using "affordable", "good", "school" and "Switzerland" in the same post makes me laugh.
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Old 05.02.2009, 11:10
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

the reason why international/montessori schools are so expensive is that they don't receive any money at all in government subsidy in Zurich (and I don't think anywhere else in Switzerland either)...

Unfortunately, that prices a lot of people out of the market, and the schools fight for the 'wealthy' clients because that is what makes their whole school viable...

oh, yeah, and teachers are paid here...very well paid...compared to the rest of the world - I dunno what preschool teachers get, but you'd have to have a teacher-child ratio of 1:20 just to be afford one staff member on the sort of school fees you are currently paying...to afford one trained primary school teacher in switzerland, which would be fine, except then you need assistants and administration and cleaning etc etc etc...

I can totally relate...our school fees are more than our rent, and a large chunk of our salary, and that's after a 50% tuition discount because my husband teaches !
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Old 05.02.2009, 13:16
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

All private school work under the same conditions and charge the same fees more or less. Makes no difference if they are Swiss, International or Montessori. There are certain subsidies available and they can be applied for by any type of private pre-school.


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the reason why international/montessori schools are so expensive is that they don't receive any money at all in government subsidy in Zurich (and I don't think anywhere else in Switzerland either)...
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Old 05.02.2009, 13:36
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

and I have not heard of any 'government-run' Montessori preschools...
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:14
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

Thanks to all for their responses - and I recieved some really nice private messages.

Again, I'm just looking for a preschool. Preferably a small neighbourhood program.

In my country, there's a bunch of inividual teacher/owners who run small 1-2 person operations - often in small premises attached to their own homes. Do they exist here at all? If so, where

By the time she's 5, we think the Swiss State system will be better/good enough for her. However, I know enough about child physcology to know that the pre-school years are highly impactful on development and want a good program for then.

I definitely don't want to pay 25K a year for an alumni committee and some nice grounds. You can get these options in my country too and get a better quality/more personal education from a montessori teacher in your neighbourhood for 20% of the cost...
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:18
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

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...In our home country, she does 4 half-days for abt 450 CHF per month.

...We don't want daycare, we want a good sessional/instructional program that will help her learn...

I'll be reasonably well-paid but can't afford to spend as much on education for 1 child as we do on housing. A lot of the bilingual schools look very good and provide German too. However, fees look like 20-30K CHF per year for them!!!...
Welcome to Switzerland... I am afraid that you will not be able to get anything resembling the fees that you mentioned in your home country. The Montessori school in Geneva charges about 19,000 CHF per year and this is indicative of what you pay in most private schools (no reason to believe that Zurich would be much cheaper).

Private does not mean more expensive, though. Our two children are in public daycare and, since salry thresholds apply, it costs us about 34,000 CHF per year (ie the same as our rent ).
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:28
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

And Montesorri does not neccessarily mean high quality here, either. My friend worked in one in Geneva (or was it near Geneva? I can't recall) and she told me some horror stories, besides the school being really expensive, she was forced by the owner to discipline the kids in a harsh way. Then she got fired, apparently he personality did not match the job position - she was very helpful to both children and their parents too, one day she just had to tell parents of one "difficult" girl that the poor girl was for the most of the day in a time out, totally age inappropriate, and her boss did not like it. The other reason for being fired apparently was the fact she did not come to work to clean up in the school during the weekends..This is only one insider's story but it gives me chills, anyways.
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:41
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

And of course, once you've narrowed down some options, make sure you take a look yourself

A friend of mine who is early-childhood trained put her child on the waiting list for a centre on a friend's recommendation...

two weeks' before her child was due to start she went for her 'observation' visit- and the director of the centre put gloves on and changed all children's nappies in a row, with the same pair of gloves

I think you can tell a lot by just sitting in the room and getting a 'feel' for the place - but of course, that doesn't help the OP who asked for costs and recommendations...in Zurich...
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:50
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

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..
two weeks' before her child was due to start she went for her 'observation' visit- and the director of the centre put gloves on and changed all children's nappies in a row, with the same pair of gloves ..
Wow. That person must have been only worried about her/his own hands then.
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Old 05.02.2009, 14:59
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

What I was trying to point out is that it doesn't matter who owns the pre-school or on what program they run it, the cost for the parents are still the same.

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and I have not heard of any 'government-run' Montessori preschools...
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Old 05.02.2009, 15:04
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

In Switzerland you will not find that spread of offers. All offers cost more or less the same as the biggest cost-component is the rent and the personnel and those are stricktly regulated regardless of what type of nursery you have.

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I definitely don't want to pay 25K a year for an alumni committee and some nice grounds. You can get these options in my country too and get a better quality/more personal education from a montessori teacher in your neighbourhood for 20% of the cost...
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Old 05.02.2009, 15:09
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

This might interest you. http://funtastic-english.ch/
I have my friends whose kids are attending and general feedback is not bad.
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Old 05.02.2009, 15:54
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

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Hello,

Moving to Zurich soon. Actually I'm here - but family are moving soon from an English-speaking country.

We have 2 kids (one under 1, one aged 3). The 3 year old is in a Monetessori preschool in our home country. She's very happy, love sit and is doing
well. In our home country, she does 4 half-days for abt 450 CHF per month.

Again - she's 3 now. We know we can't do State Kindergarten for another 2 years. I've also checked the other threads to get insights. We don't want daycare, we want a good sessional/instructional program that will help her learn.

We want her to continue learning and loving preschool. Delighted to have her exposed/immersed in German language as her mind is super-elastic now providing the teacher is nice

We're thinking of living in the suburban/outlying area NW of Zurich between Baden and the City Centre.

I'll be reasonably well-paid but can't afford to spend as much on education for 1 child as we do on housing. A lot of the bilingual schools look very good and provide German too. However, fees look like 20-30K CHF per year for them!!!

I'm wondering if there is a good layer of local German-language/Swiss preschools that are better value and used by local folks? If so - what kind of fees do they pay?

Her current school is very local, not a "brand name", doesn't have a website but run by a super-dedicated teacher-owner and is educationally superb and has a student teacher ratio of 6:1.

Got a strong bias for Montessori methods....

I'm pretty stressed out about this so any help would be appreciated :-)
I am quite in the same boat. my wife and my son will join me here(Dübendorf) in April/May. He will be 3 in March. He is also in pre school at home which is private but dirty cheap compared to Switzerland. He really enjoys it.

So he can join state kindergarten only when he is 5? No possibility to join it earlier? Or this depends on the Gemeinde?

My wife wont work here so it is not a problem, we just want him to be with the swiss kids to learn the language as soon as possible.

So thanks to start this thread killy and please post it if you find anything good.
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Old 05.02.2009, 16:16
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

My daughter (almost four) currently does a combination of things. She goes to a small English preschool one morning a week (3 hours) in Uster at the WAC (Women's Activity Centre). It is very activity focused and she loves it. They offer preschool five mornings a week. www.wac.ch

She has also been going to a local kinderkrippe (nursery), primarily so she will understand and hopefully speak some Swiss German by the time she starts kindergarten, and also so she can get used to how things are done here and make some local friends. She really enjoys that, too, and is understanding a lot of German.

We thought about a bilingual option but in the end decided to throw her in the deep end with the German (she'd just turned three at the time), partly because the bilingual options were so much more expensive, but also because we really liked the feel of the krippe we found. It has lots of learning activities and excursions and also a kindergarten preparation class for the older kids. I have heard of some that don't do much at all so you need to shop around.

The other alternative for your daughter is to find a local spielgruppe (playgroup). They usually take place a couple of times a week for an hour or so and can be found in every area.

Kate
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Old 12.02.2009, 18:50
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Re: Affordable but good preschool or Montessori options in ZH area

Killylastin,

I know a very good Montessori school, but unfortunately it is not in Zurich but Vevey (canton Vaud). I know they train Montessori teachers from all over Switzerland over there so maybe, just maybe, they might have the name of a good school near your area. Here is their website:
http://www.montessorivevey.com/home.html

They speak english, french and german. Do not send an email as they take ages to reply, the best thing you can do is call them at the end of the day (after 16:00) and ask directly.

Good luck!
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