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Please help - I can't choose a bilingual school for my child and it's tearing me up

(4 Posts)
1950sHousewife Sat 10-Sep-11 20:22:02

Any advice gratefully received.

We've recently moved abroad to a country that speaks French. I sent my 7 year old daughter to the local school, which happened to be a school where English is taught to French children (about 60% English lessons 40% french). I probably should have just put her in a French speaking school and thrown her in at the deep end, but she has moved so much it seemed cruel.
She was happy at the school for the first week, but I worked out she wasn't speaking french at all. It's a good school but with a good reputation but they had no firm way of integrating her into speaking French.

So, I moved her into a private school where she could get more one-to-one tuition. But the very thing I thought would be great (the kids spoke French in the playground) has meant she feels sad and isolated and wants to go back to the original school.

All I want is for her to be happy and to do fairly well at school. If we had been in England I would have left her in the first school. But I'm also aware she needs to intigrate as quickly as possible with French...

I haven't slept for days worrying over whether I have done the right thing. Any advice?

Oakmaiden Sat 10-Sep-11 20:25:08

I think you have done the right thing. She WILL learn french if she is immersed in it - although obviously it will take time.

I have seen this from the other side of the fence, working in and english school with new children arriving who do not speak english. It is stunning how quickly they pick it up when they are surrounded by the language. It is hard to start with, but it will get better for her.

1950sHousewife Sat 10-Sep-11 20:31:50

Thanks Oakmaiden. That's reassuring.

She just seemed so happy at the other school. Its a bit scruffy and much bigger classes and I was a little shocked at how much further behind they are in maths and english than in England and became crazy worried. But at the same time, the teacher was just lovely, it is a 5 minute walk across a park and she was just so...happy.

The private school is a 15 min drive away down a horrible industrial road, they get about 45 mins of homework a night, but she will come out of it trilingual (spanish as well) and it has a good reputation and does stuff like dance twice a week etc. She's a bit of a laid back tyke and I just worry that too much pushing her will make her unhappy. AAAAARGH. I just wish we had moved somewhere I could speak the language as well. My French is rubbish and I've had to take classes as well.

unax Sun 11-Sep-11 11:55:11

Hi 1950sHousewife ,

I do sympathise with you, we all worry about our children's happiness and well-being. It is difficult to step back and make a decsion when you just want to protect them from getting hurt. However, our children are much more resilient then we often give them credit for, and we need to make choices for their overall development, not just immediate joy. Which one gives her the better chances in life? Imagine what she would say 5 years or more into the future, be grateful that you made a decision based on her overall well-being or left her isolated in her new country. And it is worth remembering that nothing is written in stone. If she was really unhappy still in a couple of weeks talk to the teachers, ask if there are mum's who might speak English, invite children home, and if all fails it would be still be worth moving her back.
All the best,
Unax

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