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Old 04.01.2010, 23:17
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Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

Hi, I am currently in the UK but it looks like I may have an opportunity through my job to work for 12 months near Bern. If it happens it is going to happen quickly so I have been looking into schooling for my 5yr old daughter and nearly passed out when I saw the cost of the International schooling. As far as I can tell the state schools start at 7 years old unlike the UK so what other options do we have?
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Old 04.01.2010, 23:55
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

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As far as I can tell the state schools start at 7 years old unlike the UK so what other options do we have?
Don't know about the Bern area but here in Zurich a child starts its first year of elementary school at age 7 but there's still kindergarten that comes before that. 2 years of it, age 5 and 6. I'd say at that age just let her do kindergarten here in the local language, a couple of months into it and she'll be flying away with the language. Besides, so many of us started here with the idea that it would only be for a year or so..
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Old 04.01.2010, 23:58
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

it is the same in Bern like in Zurich: the first kindergarten year is optional, the second year is mandatory...
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Old 05.01.2010, 00:13
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

Thank you both for your replies.

My worry is that the Kindergarten stage maybe less advanced than the UK schooling at the same age and if we do go back after just 12 months she may be behind. Although saying that she will be bilingual which would never happen at that age in the UK.
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Old 05.01.2010, 00:18
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

The delayed Swiss school entry is a real problem. Can you coach your daughter at home using UK textbooks?
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Old 05.01.2010, 00:21
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

She will be behind at six in terms of reading and writing and maths, but if you do stay on a year or two more it will be of huge value to her to already have the local language before starting formal school.
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Old 05.01.2010, 00:49
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

also, with the money you save by not putting her into private school, you have the option of supplementing the reading and writing beginnings that you are worried about with private lessons or playgroups. it is a huge advantage to begin in the local schools and learn the language so early. with a bit of time dedicated to english language skills each week she will surely benefit and be well ahead of her peers by having the basics (and more) in another language at such a young age.
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Old 05.01.2010, 06:55
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

I am in the same situation. We will be moving from the US to Basel in a few months and I have one daughter in 1st grade (age 6) and another in 4K (age 4 pre-kindergarten). So when we arrive will the 6 year old be technically in Kindergarten? She is young for her grade (birthday July). The ISB is very expensive and we plan on being over there for a number of years. I think that it would be beneficial to send them both to public schools (not to mention I have a 2 year old as well) but my concern is we speak no German. I realize they maybe behind in their english when we come back to the states and I will deal with that then, but how does it work getting the kids into school in the middle of the school semester?

Any advice?

Thanks
Jenn
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Old 05.01.2010, 07:59
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

To be precise, children are entitled to the public kindergarten if they are born between 1.5.2003 and 30.4.2005 (canton Berne). Therefore the child has to be born after the 1.5.2005 to go to primary school. Exceptions are possible, but need to be seen by the local school psychologist.
Do you already know where you are going to live. If yes, get in touch as soon as possible with the head master.

You have also to consider that your child will be taught in German, which can be pretty demanding.

You find all the details about kindergarten in the canton of Berne here:
http://www.erz.be.ch/site/sls-kindergarten-info-eltern-englisch.pdf
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Old 05.01.2010, 09:45
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

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You have also to consider that your child will be taught in German, which can be pretty demanding.
I used to speak English with my daughter at home, so that when she started the primary school (in the city of Zurich), her German was not sufficient. The school organized a free-of-charge tutor for her whom she had lessons with once a week. I must admit though that at this school, there are hardly any foreigners. I don't know how schools deal with this situation if every second child is a foreigner (which happens sometimes). Also, I switched to speaking German with her at home after having been told by the teacher how horrible her German was. Her German is quite ok now (in the 4th grade), although not the same level like for example the kids from Germany. Her English is unfortunately not very good
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Old 05.01.2010, 09:48
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

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You have also to consider that your child will be taught in German, which can be pretty demanding.
Is finger-painting more demanding in German?
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Old 05.01.2010, 09:55
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

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Thank you both for your replies.

My worry is that the Kindergarten stage maybe less advanced than the UK schooling at the same age and if we do go back after just 12 months she may be behind. Although saying that she will be bilingual which would never happen at that age in the UK.
In the UK, people use the word "Kindergarten" to mean playgroup in some places (I know; my sister sends her toddler to what they term a "Kindergarten" in the UK which is actually a nursery but I guess sounds more posh for the Chelsea-tractor-driving WAGs in the area ).

Kindergarten's proper UK equivalent is reception class and the teaching here is pretty much on the same level as the UK and is pitched at the 5-6 year old age range.
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Old 05.01.2010, 10:50
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

The cut off for starting kindergarten or school varies from canton to canton. In August, my daughter, age 4, started her first year in kindergarten in Baselland. Here, if your child is 4 before the 1st of May you can start kindergarten in the August. In BL the first year of kindergarten isnt compulsory.

So if your child is 6 before the first of May then they start school in the August.

So far my daughter is loving it; we have been really pleased with the school, staff and pupils. My daughter has two high german lessons per week and is making good progress but more important to me she is happy.

Happy to answer any more questions if I can!
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Old 05.01.2010, 13:09
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

Kindergarten's proper UK equivalent is reception class and the teaching here is pretty much on the same level as the UK and is pitched at the 5-6 year old age range.[/QUOTE]

Thank you for that info. Gives us a little more confidence we won't be too challenged when returning to the UK.

Out of interest how do you add thanks to people for their advice?
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Old 05.01.2010, 13:16
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Thank you for that info. Gives us a little more confidence we won't be too challenged when returning to the UK.

Out of interest how do you add thanks to people for their advice?
You've just got to reach ten posts.
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Old 05.01.2010, 15:08
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

After visiting the Bern area and loving it, and then getting through the miriad of other challeneges that come with a 12 month work secondmant. Is there anything that regularily gets forgotton that could come back to bite my bottom a few months down the line?
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Old 05.01.2010, 15:42
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Re: Schooling Options For a 5yr old.

Try this website www.scholastic.co.uk - magazines child ed plus, it has some great worksheets and activities. We also use www.starfall.com for reading and our four year old is doing really well with her reading now. She enjoys doing these activities with us and it is nice quality time as some of them are really good fun almost like playing games and learning all in one, amazing that kids really do learn through play and fun. We visited the UK recently and my sister (a reception teacher) was very impressed that my daughter was doing so well considering she was getting no formal education. So we have it both ways - a child who is integrated into the swiss childcare system learning the local langauge and making friends plus learning at home (some of the same things that her UK friends are too). I must admit the home learning is only a couple of hours a week or if she says she would like to do a worksheet/activity and it works for us and we are happy and most importantly our daughter is thriving from the experience.
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