Children integration in a new school in Germany

Hello everyone,

Moving abroad can be particularly hard on children. For any parent planning a move to Germany, it is of utmost importance to make sure they do everything in their power to make sure their children’s transition is as smooth as possible. Would you be able to give a few tips to parents planning to move to Germany by answering the following questions on children integration?

What does one need to factor in when choosing a new school for their children in Germany?

How does one prepare their children for the transition into a new school in Germany?

How does one help their children integrate into their new school? Any tips to help a child transitioning into a completely different new program or curriculum?

Is there an age period during which a child really should change schools?

What are the signs that a child is having trouble transitioning into their new school?

Tell us how it went for your child in Germany.

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

German public schools are free of charge and of generally high quality.
The authorities ensure that all schools (of the same type) are teaching at the same standard - thus choosing the nearest school to your residence is usually the best option (and enables the child to have friends in the neighbourhood, which greatly facilitates integration).

The only issue is language: All public schools teach in German!
Even those called "bilingual schools" (a current fashion) are geared towards German kids learning English, thus start with more language classes and in later years teach some subjects (up to half of them) in English. This does not help a foreign child who already understands English, but lacks German.

There are two ways out of the language dilemma:

- Many public schools offer preparatory classes (also free of charge) to bring foreign kids (in language and other topics) up to the standard needed to join regular classes. This will cost them a school year, but gives good integration chances afterwards.

- International schools, which teach in English and/or other languages and often follow a foreign syllabus, exist in major cities. They are expensive (depending on the school €1000/month or more)  and do not offer a chance to integrate into the German society, but might be the only option if you are here only for a limited time (e.g. two/three years) and the kids return to your home country afterwards.

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