Bilingual kindergarten, primary or secondary schools in or around Heidelberg

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My youngest was plunked into German day care just before his third birthday. Within a couple of weeks he was able to complain to his older brother, who was crowding him, "Martin, ich can nicht sleepen!"

Both your children will do fine.

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Thank you leibling! HPC looks like a very good option! If the quality of education and availability of seats are not a problem, I can land in Heidelberg :-)

The fees of HPC are not a stretch, so I don't have to do weekend jobs to put my kids in school. But will January be too late a time to look for a seat for admitting my child?

In Canada, when I was there, people started from almost Jan - March to apply at schools. Is there a way to know if my elder one (who has good progress report from his kindergarten so far) will get in?

 

Thank you Katheliz for reassuring words. I plan to put my little one in German nursery, if he cannot join the same institution as the elder one. Bilingual would still be my preference till I understand German schooling well enough.

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I have no idea about the availability of seats in the schools, so can't advise. Preschools/kindergarten spots are generally difficult to come by (can't speak for bilingual ones specifically but I think it's across the board) as there simply are not enough places even though Heidelberg is better in terms of provision than other places. Most schools (public/private) tend not to select on any basis other than the child's place on the registration (or waiting) list, so it pays to pre-register or at least indicate your interest as early as possible. They may consider other interests (balance of boys/girls, native English vs. German speakers) but unless your child has special needs they are unlikely to be too interested in reports from your child's preschools or what-have-you. Contact the schools now to ask about places for autumn 2015 and to inquire about registration procedures. if they do have interviews or wish to see your child's records, you'll want to make arrangements. Most schools and kindergartens issue letters of admission to children in February or March for the following September, so their admissions decisions have been made before then. I'd recommend moving on all that stuff now, getting on as many waiting lists as possible, and keeping fingers crossed for spots opening in Sept 2015.

 

Good luck!

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p.s. Note that normal primary school hours at most German schools (including, I think, HPC) are from about 8:30 (give or take a half hour) to at most 12:30. Before- or after-school care (but no instruction) are offered for an additional fee. You may also want to look into getting your 5.5-year-old into a German kindergarten from March through July 2015 to aid his linguistic integration. You may be given priority for him given his ge and lack of German skills. Couldn't hurt, might help to try.

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Just a brief reply as I'm on my mobile - we live in Bensheim and love the town.

My eldest child attends Seeheim-Jugenheim State International School, which is an English - language state school and costs 300 euro per month. They go from kindergarten to high school, we're very happy with the education she is getting there. Public transport to SISS from Bensheim isn't great but there are quite a few SISS kids here so you would be able to car pool.

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primary school hours at most German schools (including, I think, HPC) are from about 8:30 (give or take a half hour) to at most 12:30. Before- or after-school care (but no instruction) are offered for an additional fee.

 

8:15 am to 13:00 am fixed school time at F+U elementary (HPC) under the Verlässliche Grundschule concept. Before/after school care available from 7:15 am to 5 pm for 195 Euro/month extra plus 3.50 per day for lunch, i.e. if one books that the total cost for the school would be about 560-660 Euro/month depending on grade.

 

If one wants to compare prices, the same package is available with päd-aktiv at public schools in Heidelberg, subsidized by the city, and depending on family income and school runs between 75-80 Euro/month (under ~25,000€ income) and 300-320 Euro/month (over ~62,000€ income). School itself would be free.

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Does anyone here have personal experience about F+U Grundschule? The school is located in the middle of city. However do they have sufficient play area and other sport amenities needed for a kid of small age? Any list of Pro and Cons would be helpful to make a decision.

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It's pretty new so hopefully more can comment as time goes on. We have a friend whose kid just started there and it might be a reason for us to move to HD in a few years.

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Does anyone here have personal experience about F+U Grundschule? The school is located in the middle of city. However do they have sufficient play area and other sport amenities needed for a kid of small age? Any list of Pro and Cons would be helpful to make a decision.

 

As you suspect, there's no playground or sports field or anything like that, but many primary schools here are limited to a paved courtyard in terms of outdoor space, sometimes with one or another climbing frame, sometimes completely bare. If I understand correctly, the F+U Grundschule is eventually going to be occupying a new building near the Heidelberg main train station -- that's what I gathered from a sign at the building site, anyway. Whether they're going to have a playground there is anyone's guess -- best bet is to ring the school itself and ask.

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Nah, the elementary or any of the other schools from the Fahrtgasse site as far as i know won't move into the new building at the train station.

 

Iirc F+U with its Privatschulcentrum is a co-user of the sports facilities of neighboring (public) Kurfürst-Friedrich-Gymnasium. F+U's colocated Realschule also has a sports profile, so they should have some facilities to use on site.

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Well, I was there a couple of days ago. Inside it's fine, but doesn't really have the air that you'd associate with a regular school. It's basically just a few rooms in an office building. There is an encaged outdoor area of sorts that is probably about 20x5 meters altogether. No playground or anything like that. For sports they go to a gym that is about a 10-20 minute bus ride from the school once a week, and to a pool that is across the street also once a week. Classrooms look normal but it certainly has a different feel from HIS or EI.

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Does anyone have any up-to-date information on the primary school situation for Bahnstadt? Is the new school on site going to open next year (2015-2016)? I saw articles saying it would be a full-day school which would be all inclusive, having all children together including "special needs" children. I also saw a reference to it being a first "model" primary school following new policy for Baden-Würtemberg. Does anyone know what that policy or model is more specifically? Does anyone have any information of any kind about the school so far? Many thank!

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AFAIK, the "new model" of all-day school has more to do with administration and policy than with anything the school/pupils are likely to notice in practice. It means simply that the Bahnstadt school is a planned all-day school from start to finish, integrating special needs pupils with students who don't have special needs at primary level. This integration -- and the shift to all-day provision -- has been happening in B-W already (indeed, it's happening all over Heidelberg already), but until now it's been on an ad hoc or experimental basis. In the case of the Bahnstadt school, the building, hiring of teachers, etc. has all been designed with an all-day programme in mind for the long-term. There doesn't seem to be one singular model for how this integration should actually work in detail throughout B-W, and there are two models anchored in the law for how the all-day component can work (verbindlich/bound and option formulas)

The Bahnstadt school is "bound"/verbindlich according to §4aSchG, which means all kids at the school must take part in the all-day offerings. Under the "option" formula, kids at a given school can choose to take part in all-day offerings or else they can leave school after a half-day - they sign up for one version or another for the school year.

 

Even so, the definition of all-day requires reading the small print in each case. I have read that the Bahnstadt school will be all-day (8am-3pm) on only 3 days a week, so presumably PädAktiv provides care on other days and from 3 to 5pm even on those days. There have been some city-wide info events about the changes ahead for Heidelberg primary schools in general, which will mean changes for PädAktiv and its provision of after-school care at all schools, presumably including the Bahnstadt school.

 

The latest I've heard is that the Bahnstadt primary school will take its place in the Bahnstadt building no earlier than 2016, with the expanded Kita opening in that same building/complex in 2017.

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Thank you so much, liebling, for your extensive reply! It is very helpful! We lived in Quartier am Turm before and hope to relocate back close to our friends, but it is hard to find something open in such a small area. We are thinking we may end up in Bahnstadt. One of the advantages of Bahnstadt for a 3rd grader would be that, by definition, all the kids are new or recent arrivals to the school. So, socially, it would likely be easier to make friends.

 

A bit off-topic, but I just have to ask: Do all primary schools teach children to use fountain pens for math? The Eichendorffschule in Rohrbach does and it seems like lunacy from my perspective. A friend said the purpose is for the children to be careful with their math. I last used a fountain pen 30 years ago, and it was archaic then, but fun. I looked hard for a fountain pen here in California to get my son started. The only ones for sale were upwards of 30 dollars and where big, heavy ceremonial office gifts, sort of like those huge tourist-trap beer steins that no one actually uses. :)

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Lamy - the one company that everyone who has to use fountain pens in school grows up with* - has its global HQ in HD-Wieblingen, of course therefore we have to use fountain pens in school ;)

 

Lamy USA sells online, but their pens also start at around 30 dollars (which at least makes about any purchase of a pen free shipping). Designwise they're the kind one might use in school. The "nexx" model ($32) is what Lamy's currently advertising in Germany to transition kids to fountain pens if they start late, the "safari" model ($38) is what most kids use (or at least used to use) in elementary school after having learned to write with one. You might want to add a five-pack ink cartridges, as those are pretty much impossible to get otherwise.

 

Note with regard to prices though that those two above retail for about half that in Germany. €17.50 for a safari at Kaufhof, €15.90 for a nexx. Cartridges are around €2 per five instead of $4.50...

 

They do the office gifts too, although more the "look, my pen is made out of palladium and has a 14-karat gold nib" kinda thing a guy might unobtrusively show off after refusing a ballpoint pen for signing something. For around $350-400. :lol:

 

*- there's other companies, but Lamy is to Füller what Scout is to Schulranzen.

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Quidditchmom, you might look at this pen. I've been using a similar one for over twenty years. Refill cartridges are available. And if you're not in Califiornia any more, you can always order from Amazon.

Children used to use ink pens in Germany starting from Grade 1. I know it sounds like Disaster City, but children accommodated.

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Thank you for taking the time to research and post specific fountain pen recommendations and the link to the amazingly long thread. I'm sorry I never thought to look. Silly me! I should know by now there is already a thread for almost any imaginable topic! :) The political angle from Kato is very interesting also. I must say there are pens available now that have even less friction than fountain pens. I find some of them too fast to comfortably use. We'll wait to buy the magic pen when we arrive. I'm afraid I'll teach my son to use it differently than his teacher will and cause more trouble!

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@taylormario - any updates how it went? Did you choose HPC? Did you even make it over?

 

On 12/9/2014, 5:08:44, quidditchmom said:

Thank you so much, liebling, for your extensive reply! It is very helpful! We lived in Quartier am Turm before and hope to relocate back close to our friends, but it is hard to find something open in such a small area. We are thinking we may end up in Bahnstadt...

@quidditchmomWhere do your kids go to elementary school? Isn't the Englisches Institut nearish to Quartier am Turm? I heard good things about the elementary school.

 

We live in Mannheim and IMO, it's looking more and more likely that we'll be moving to Heidelberg so as to take advantage of the bilingual opportunities. We could enroll our little one at the DAI English courses, but I'd have to drive him there and I don't know how much fun he'll have. Granted, at 4 1/2, he is speaking more English with me (when he wants something), but it's not enough to make me happy.

 

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11 hours ago, Elfenstar said:

Isn't the Englisches Institut nearish to Quartier am Turm?

 

 

Not if you want your kid to make it to school safe and sound by himself. It's about 2 km away and you have to cross the most-used commuter artery road of Heidelberg (think Augustaanlage, just without the center break).

Well, that and if he made it to school he'd probably be run over by one of the parents taxiing their kids there. Unlike the commuters, those parents are the main reason for traffic jams, honking, swearing and probably also most accidents on streets in Südstadt.

 

Oh, and since you don't want your kids' school to be too big - Englisches Institut has around 50 Gymnasium classes right next door in its secondary...

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