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Grundschule in Germany (NRW)(5 Posts)
Hello, I'm hoping to get some advice on grundschule. My dd is due to (finally) start grundschule next summer and we've naively expected the schools to be as good as the kindergarten she's currently in. However, I'm aghast. School will finish by 11am in the first year and then the Red-Cross run afternoon club is frankly abysmal. The excellent school building closes and kids have to use a converted house that's pokey and small. They used to go on outings but apparently a couple of kids got lost so now they just don't go anymore. I can't believe that they're surrounded with good facilities and not allowed to use them. It seems as though the whole system is actually barely paying lip service to educating children and relies on a parent or grandparent being around to look after the kids. We just don't have that. Are there any alternatives apart from moving house to be in the area for a better school?
I'm in Hessen and here there are other after school options that are not on school grounds, called Hort. Often in the same place as a kindergarten. Maybe there are similar options for your school? The kids walk back together after school finishes.
I totally get your horror though, I also couldn't believe how early my DD finishes school but we are lucky that she got in the Betreuung in school and that it is actually very good. It seems so strange that there is relatively good childcare available enabling parents to work until school starts and then it becomes a real nightmare!
You may be able to find an Elterninitiative Friesschule or a Montessori school running full day school without homework. Obviously they are not free but if your kindergarten fees were full whack not subsidised the cost may be similar, and certainly nothing like international private school fees.
My children all went to the local Grundschule, but I worked at an Elterninitiative school one day per week at one point. Parents are expected to be very involved (both as part of the low fees deal and because that's the ethos of those schools, which are not for profit and only partially state funded) but that can be doing gardening or other stuff at the weekend if you both work Monday to Friday office hours.
Be aware that your child may have to sit an extra exam to enter secondary school unless going to Mittelschule as the recommendation of a Montessori or free school won't be accepted.
There are also Elterninitiative Ganzen Tag Klassen in some regular state Grundschule, although only in some areas.
Thanks! Those are good ideas to look into.
I work at a private primary school in Hessen and the school's recommendation for secondary school is just that - a recommendation. If parents want to go down a different path, the secondary school can't do much about it initially. Not sure whether it's different in NRW.
We do offer wrap-around care at our school but the focus is very much on free play. It's a vital part of the school's vision statement and seems to have high priority in Germany in general. They don't go on outings but our school day finishes at 3pm and kids get collected at 5pm at the latest. Not much time to go on outings.
The state school my DS would be assigned to offers before and after school clubs. No outings there, either, but again lots of free play. The private ones I consider for him are similar, although facilities are better and they do offer some extra-curricular activities.
On the while, the focus here is much more on parental contribution and the work children do at home. It's quite normal to go home after lesson 4 at 11am and not to have any lessons later in the day while they are little. It's due to the fact that lots of women used to stay at home and that made it possible to have such short days. Is there a "Ganztagsschule" near you, which mich be an option? Alternatively a bilingual/private school? They tend to be a lot cheaper than independent schools in the UK and might be an option.