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English DD struggling. WWYD?

(5 Posts)
Newyearnewbrain Fri 16-Dec-16 15:11:13

I feel like I'm probably worrying unnecessarily but am looking to canvass some opinions on this. I wish I could see five years down the line and make the right choice.

DD6 started réception and grade one in a bilingual school (French:English). We have now moved from French speaking country but put her into the French school in our new country (Asia). The problem is this new school is much much tougher than the last one with a more typically French approach to education. DD is doing ok-ish but struggling with her reading and writing.

To be fair, she's only been there a month or two. Do I let her carry on and try and support her in the hope she'll pick it up better or try for the bilingual stream, which was full when we enrolled her?

I just want to get it right.

Abricot1993 Sat 17-Dec-16 11:42:46


I work as an education consultant for expats in the german speaking part of Switzerland and the French and German border areas.
Experts say the most important thing is to keep up the primary language as this then supports the second language. It is great that your child has the opportunity to learn a second language so early.
Later on the French education system is tough and very traditional chalk and talk so you may want to have the future ability to move into an english system which you can do if you have kept up the primary language.

Newyearnewbrain Sat 17-Dec-16 12:35:11

That's unbelievably helpful. Thanks. I guess total immersion will cement it in her head and she seems up to speed in the primary language as she has a few hours per week in English for native speakers.

In your experience will she just find it easier as she goes along? I'm guessing the confusion over syllable sounds will gradually change.

We were in Geneva before. Very different school. Love Switzerland!

Abricot1993 Sat 17-Dec-16 14:19:16

Hi Some things will get easier and I am sure the confusion over syllable sounds will get easier but the thing that won`t get easier is broadening the vocabulary which is important when you start studying other subjects in French such as history and biology. Normally vocabulary is achieved by being immersed in a language and learning to read in that language and having the keenness to learn helps here too.
The difficulty you have is that you cannot read to her in French (I assume) and she is only using French in the classroom as you are not in a french speaking country and are not a french speaking family.

So this is why I say it is important you keep up the English and be prepared to keep that channel of education open. fyi the normal age they select based on ability for the next "middle" school is age 10 in the French system and 11 or 12 in the swiss french system. Also be aware the school year is Jan to Dec in terms of ages in France and canton dependant in Switzerland. So the oldest children are January birthdays in the French system. They are ten in the January and start school in September of the same year. Therefore those born in October to December of the school year start the middle school when they are nine.

akuabadoll Sun 18-Dec-16 08:27:30

My first child was in a French nursery in a partly French speaking country (ME). Now we have ended up with two children in Anglo education in Asia. We intended to bring them up bilingual which, as it turns out, they will not truly be; though my husband still speaks to them in French. For us, we wanted the French language but not the education system. Hope you find the best solution for you.

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