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SSSandy in BBBerlin

(59 Posts)
finknottle Tue 19-Jun-07 09:12:49

How are things? Have you sorted out a school for your dd? Was thinking of you as am being v virtuous atm & helping out with sports & projects at the school here. Has had the unexpected but v welcome development of the head actually calling me by my name and not dh's - not bad after 4 years.

admylin Tue 19-Jun-07 09:44:38

Guten morgen finknottle! Haven't seen SSSandy around this morning. Well done for joining in at the school, I'm offering my help at the sommerfest in July too. Offered to go on the day trip but thank goodness they found a teacher to help out as it's a swimming trip, phew got out of that one nicely!

finknottle Tue 19-Jun-07 13:05:24

Hi admylin Swimming would be a nightmare I think - brave of you to even contemplate it! I must admit I only offered to help as I thought the boys would like it if I were there but found it amusing that the head was forced to be civil to me Added bonus. Plus it was horrible with all the hassle of this last year and ds1. Ds2 has 2 more years of primary and dd starts next August so figured it's better to show up and help rather than seethe at home and refuse.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Jun-07 14:53:09

Hello Fink! Long time no "see" on MN. I'm wondering how being well-organised and getting along with the head could remind you of me! That's great, keep at it. So glad things are taking a turn for the better with that old cow.

I really wanted to come on here and show off how organised and in control I am but the truth is despite going round viewing all the schools and everything, I still haven't found a place for dd which I am really happy about it. I have two places - private international and state bilingual but not 100 percent sure, like the international much better. We were at the bilingual this morning for the language test and then hung about trying to get a feel for the place. Think it's a bit rough.

Am considering the French private school at the moment but dd will not be grateful for having to change to yet another language now! If we buy a house near there, it would be worth considering though. Do you think it is too late to change school system/language for year 2 though? It has a good reputation and costs a lot less than the other private one I'm considering (about a quarter of the other's fees). Any advice you have is VERY welcome!

at going swimming with the class admylin

admylin Tue 19-Jun-07 15:32:42

Brave of me to offer wasn't it!
That french school looks OK but quite a long way out for you. You are right those Europa schools aren't really working as far as I can tell - it's still a fairly new concept and they certainly haven't got that much in extra govt grants to make things any better than a normal state school. In ours the parents of the portugese classes(well most of them are Brazilian) have to pay extra for native speakers to look after the kids after lessons otherwise there would be very little portugese spoken at all. Wierd.

finknottle Wed 20-Jun-07 07:19:04

Tricky, isn't it? There's such a difference between learning another language and being at a school where the new lang is the language of the school. If you switch, this is probably the best time.
How much German & English would there be? Many other non-French? So much also depends on your dd. You know best the environment she's most likely to thrive in but it is such a leap in the dark. Hordes of screeching children can seem uncontrolled when you get a snapshot but not nec the full picture.
She'll do French at some point anyway - at Gymnasium it's either the 1st foreign lang at Yr5 or the 2nd at Y7 here in RP. Taking the long view? House buying is def long view!
Forget "organisation" and "being in control". Changing your child's school is major in any country or circumstances. I found the secondary choice stressful enough and had to keep reminding myself that ds1's short term wellbeing was for now more important than what he does longterm - i.e. Abitur etc. We never know what'll happen later and an unhappy school life has such an impact on a child as you know.
Purely subjective - not sure that these bilingual/Europa schools are as successful as the schools/govt/parents would like them to be. Trying perhaps to achieve something they can't deliver. Ditto a bilingual stream in the gymnasien here (one French, one English) where the children have 2 hrs (@45mins) extra per week and then do Geography & History (?) in the lang in Y7. The parents love boasting about their child in the bilingual stream

admylin Wed 20-Jun-07 10:21:38

Hi, are you also melting in this heat today? Can't wait for the storms to come.

Did you get in touch with the french school SSSandy? The French do have a nicer way towards dc, just by the way they speak to them, there's a big difference compared to the way it sounds in german. That's what bothers my 2 dc the most (I think) because they translate and think "hey, they could have said that a bit nicer".
There is a french language institute over in your direction, I once looked at lessons there for my 2 but it wasn't possible because of the times but you could always try to get some sort of summer intensive course for dd if you like the french school.

SSSandy2 Wed 20-Jun-07 11:00:31

Hi there Fink! The website for the French school doesn't reveal much. I would have to go in and ask for more detailed information. As far as I can see, German would be a school subject from the start, English is a school subject from Y6. It is tricky, having to learn maths and so on in French all of a sudden. Am not sure I feel up to it myself! I will just have to go and look I think. Hear what they have to say about changing language of instruction and whether they have a place, etc. They have dc from 40 different nationalities (presumably a lot are francophone anyway)

As to private German schools, I do quite like this school academically and from the setting and so on. I read you have to apply as soon as you stop taking the pill though so we may have NO chance whatsoever of getting a place and it is the behaviour of the dc which concerns me more than the academics really, so maybe no real difference?

Have been having LONG talks with teachers at these schools, as you do and that's been really helpful. From what they say, these bilingual schools they teach at are a waste of time for English speakers. That was my suspician anyway from what I've seen, so only really private of some description left as option.

Must say I am sick of looking at houses and schools, really am. Takes up all my time. Stayed home to do some housework today which was really needed. It's really hot again, isn't it?

admylin, the Institut Francais is no longer on Ku'damm, as far as I know it moved to Mitte a couple of years back. Is that what you were thinking of?

admylin Wed 20-Jun-07 11:16:54

Knowing Berlin you could be right about the institut francais having moved. Half the stuff I find on the internet is out of date and you can forget travel guides, even the yellow pages is often wrong because things keep moving!
If it is in Mitte it would be good for us but last year their website wasn't up to date and it was Kudamm!

SSSandy2 Wed 20-Jun-07 11:19:32

Will investigate admylin and let you know. Just realised it was probably hitzefrei again today and I should have picked dd up at 12.30

admylin Wed 20-Jun-07 11:22:14

I thought we should have Hitzefrei too but the headmistress can't organize things like that for the whole school. I am going to be boiled alive when I haveto pick my 2 up at 2pm.

finknottle Wed 20-Jun-07 13:26:48

My lot would be at the sailing - our family sport. Does look lovely but as you say, experiencing the teachers, children and their parents is usually an eye-opener. Then again, I overheard parents lately wittering on about the kiga here and thought they couldn't be talking about the one dd goes to - our experiences were totally different; expectations play a big role too.
Suppose you just have to try and get as complete a picture as you possibly can and then match it up to what your dd needs and would be comfortable with - not always the same thing. E.g. ds2 had a v comfy time at kiga (did bugger all) but needed more confidence building, encouragement & communication with the teachers for his language skills.
How does your dd take to the idea? Again, ime, ds1 would say "Cool, Mum!" and ds2 would cling to me in tears and beg me for weeks not to even think of it again.
Ditto also what admylin said about the way teachers speak to the children = a biggie for us too. The boys always comment on how "grumpy & cross" the teachers are. A major "Guess what Mum?" when a teacher is kind and smiley - flipping awful really when you think about it.
How do you feel about buying a house? We did last year and it was a massive "gulp" for me.

Am also v hot but love love love my new garden. We moved last Easter & last summer it still felt like it wasn't mine. Now tho' am enjoying pottering about. Hence less MN

finknottle Thu 21-Jun-07 09:12:38


admylin Thu 21-Jun-07 09:24:33

Morning finknottle! Pottering inyour own garden sounds good. Have you got a veggie patch yet too? I had one once in the old days and it was great to go out and pick some lettuce and fresh herbs, I even had a strawberry patch! Can't do that here as we share with 8 flats, atleast we did daffodils in spring!
Ds has gone off to an open air pool today, 17 of them with one teacher, and a scatty one at that. Atleast dd's class has 2 teachers for 26 of them when they go somewhere - slightly better I suppose! Dh applied to a job in Cardiff today, that would do me fine even if I did have to learn Welsh!

finknottle Thu 21-Jun-07 09:50:41

Mornin' Yes, veg patch, fruit bushes, orchard already there. Wonderful We were very 50/50 about buying the house (was only half-finished) but as soon as we saw the garden we wanted it. Last year all I managed to do was to make a herb garden. Now I'm slowly shaping the rest. Do a lot of sitting under trees drinking Gs&T reading RHS books

finknottle Thu 21-Jun-07 09:55:00

Forgot to say 17 pupils to 1 teacher? Mind you at least they go swimming. Ours never do, then again I always wonder why yours have school till 2? Thought it was standard Y1&2 till 12 and Y3&4 till 1? Apart from the famed Ganztagsschule...

admylin Thu 21-Jun-07 09:58:22

When I lived in a southern German village, we were a student family in a flat but most people had built houses with lovely gardens. Now we used to go to the playground or walk in the village to find it completely empty of any signs of life. Infact a few mums told me later (when ds started kindi) that they never went out as they had their gardens to sit in, they lived in bubbles really. Work was miles away and when they drove home they shopped at aldi then they just sat in their gardens/houses!
By the way is Aldi like that where you live? In south Germany there was always big mercedes or luxury jeeps parked in the car park? Here in Berlin Aldi still seems to be the poor mans shop.

admylin Thu 21-Jun-07 10:01:19

Our school is trying to be a ganztagschule but hasn't quite got it to a tee yet! I'd rather have them home at 1 to be honest. By the time they've walked home and had a snack for lunch it's late and then it makes Abendessen late too because they aren't hungry. I think SSSandy has more civilized hours at her dd's school though! I'm in the wrong Kiez!

finknottle Thu 21-Jun-07 10:06:18

There was kind of reverse snobbery about Aldi when people used to buy their champagne there & boast about how cheap it was Now everyone shops there but act embarrassed if you see them! Daft really, people here will drive 20 km to the discounters to get something 10 cents cheaper...
The bubble thing is prevalent on the new housing estates. We didn't even consider buying there; much prefer the old part of the village. Wouldn't have got a garden a quarter of the size in the new bits.

admylin Thu 21-Jun-07 10:11:58

Looks as if SSSandy is out viewing schools again eh? It's hard work trying to get it all arranged and make the right choices, especially when there's so many alternatives to investigate.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Jun-07 15:27:57

hello you two

Fink, dd is very keen to move schools. She wants to move to the British international one but she likes the web pictures of the Schele Grundschule. You are SO right. I just don't know how the other dps/teachers will be or how the dc will act and that's the main reason I want to move schools because dd isn't coping with that side of things. The British school has new dc in for a 3 day trial which I find excellent since all sides get an idea of what to expect. I am trying to bring dh round to this option really but he finds it far too expensive, and it probably is. I was told even a lot of the embassies can no longer afford it.

What I think dd needs is a "safer" more protected/controlled environment and, at the same time, more project (Sachkunde?) and group work, more artwork and more fun things. That's what I would like to have for her in a primary school. She's not being stretched at all really and I find this copying text from the blackboard and then from one book into another really deadly boring stuff. Surely there are many more interesting ways of learning to write?

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Jun-07 15:32:22

Fink, I'm torn about buying a house. On the one hand, I have a vision of me drifting about an English country garden with shears and a basket, a bit like a youthful Miss Marple. And I quite like that vision, although doubtful about my gardening skills...

On the other hand, it feels so frighteningly permanent and that's a bit scarey. If you don't feel really at home somewhere and then get all settled... It would be nice to have the space, dd could have a puppy and some rabbits or something, maybe a treehouse. She's getting all excited about that but I would ideally like us all to leave.

Do you feel at home here now and are you glad now you went ahead with the house?

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Jun-07 15:41:46

no civilised hours at our school admylin! It used to be till 12 but they changed to a "verlässliche Halbtagsschule" which means till 1.30 but they don't do extra lessons as such, just play sessions in the classrooms. The point of changing was that they are then entitled to subsidies they wouldn't get as a Halbtagsschule and can employ Erzieher and so on, as far as I understand it.

Don't think it's a good move really. Better to pick them up at midday and get home for lunch at a reasonable hour. We're not home till 2pm most days and then I still have to get lunch ready so we don't eat till 2.30 often enough.

admylin Thu 21-Jun-07 18:43:01

Hi SSSandy! So were you out inspecting schools again this morning? Maybe you should start applying for jobs then your dh will accept the British school!
My ds was out at the freibad this morning and then it poured down so they got soaked, he was fed up!
While waiting for dd to come out of school a mother said to me " You know I've never seen your dd smile and I asked my ds if he had seen her smile in class and he said no he never had" now that's got me worried and I can't wait to get on that plane in 2 weeks because she smiles everywhere when we go back home.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Jun-07 20:45:29

That's awful, isn't it? You know your own dc as sunny, friendly little people and see them all glum going into and coming out of school. What do they DO to them there FGS?!

I find it a bit weird her saying that to you though because one thing I have found very disconcerting about dc here is that they rarely, if ever smile. I've never understood it but I suppose if people don't smile at them, they won't learn to smile back? I think they drop the smiling at kindergarten.

THat's making me feel depressed too. I bet she does smile in class admylin but if the mum asked her ds a leading question he couldn't be bothered answering, he may just have given the response she expected. You could ask the teacher some time though.

Putting all the decisions on hold here for now admylin (schools, houses, jobs) because we just found out my df has been diagnosed with cancer and we're all very worried about it as you can imagine.

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