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Old 15.06.2009, 12:41
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German-speaking children to French part

Dear all,

I have questions related to schooling and relocation from the German to the French part of Switzerland.

I wonder what do families normally do when they move from the German-speaking part to the French part before the children have started to learn French in school?

My children (10 & 8) speak Swiss-German, High-German and Swedish but no French and only the oldest have started to learn English (we currently live in Sweden but we have previously lived in Zürich and we are now in the process of returning to Switzerland). I would like that our children attend a public school, if possible. My job will be in Lausanne.

One option I have considered would be to live in German-speaking parts of cantons Fribourg or Berne and commute to work, on the other hand having the possibility to learn French is of course a nice opportunity when they are still young enough to learn a new language easier than later in life. And commuting a long distance every day when the children need a lot of help with their home-work could be a problem. In addition, we really like the Lake Geneva area and wouldn't mind to live there.

What kind of help can and will Swiss-German- and/or High-German-speaking children typically get in public schools in the French-speaking part?

Pingu
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Old 15.06.2009, 14:42
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Re: German-speaking children to French part

It'll be the same as for any other non-French speaking children: they'll be placed in the correct class for their age, almost certainly offered additional French support several times a week within the school building (although that can depend on the school and the numbers needing the tutoring), and will otherwise pick it up from their teacher and classmates.

They will have the advantage for communication that the teachers will also know German as it is taught from 3rd grade. And it will make a nice easy lesson for your children at the beginning, and a positive bonus when it comes to secondary streaming (based largely on scores in French, Maths and German).

It's possible that your 10 yr may redouble a year, in order to get the language secure before moving into the all-important 5th and 6th grades where it is decided what secondary stream they will follow, but this happens for many, many kids for language reasons and there is no stigma attached (I'm half-expecting my 9 yr old to have to do the same).

We live in a village between Lausanne and Morges and have found the school system excellent and the local amenities beyond brilliant for families, and everyone has been very welcoming and friendly without a hint of 'being a trouble' by putting our non-French speaking kids into the local school.

Good luck for your move.

kodokan
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Old 15.06.2009, 14:57
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Re: German-speaking children to French part

Dear kodokan,

Thanks a lot for your informative reply, I appreciate it a lot. I am happy to hear that your school experience is positive!

Pingu
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