The school year in Switzerland begins in August and finishes in June for summer break. At the moment there is a two week Christmas break so Claudia will start school in the second week in January. She is going to a local school that has an integration class for foreign children. There are currently eight girls and two boys in the class ranging in age from nine to 13 years, and from Brazil, Syria, Spain, Hungary, and of course Australia 🙂
The class uses an immersion technique for teaching German. High German (the written language in this part of Switzerland) is spoken at all times and the children work through a textbook and cd. They also learn about Swiss culture and do mathematics appropriate for their current level. Once they are ready, children are then integrated into a regular class. There are currently two children who go to a regular class a couple of days per week, and the integration class on the other days.
Claudia will go to school two full days per week and three half days. She will come home for a two-hour lunch on the full days and then return to school for the afternoon lessons. I plan to help her keep up with English and Australian history on her half days. She is a little bit nervous about the language as she has only heard Swiss German (the spoken language in this part of Switzerland) from her dad and it sounds quite different, but I’m sure she will be more fluent than me in no time! It is a steep learning curve but a fantastic opportunity to not only learn about Switzerland, but also about the home countries of the other children.