Recommendations for Realschule or Gymnasium with help for non-German speaking kids

55 posts in this topic

Hi All,

Can I start by saying how grateful I am for this forum, as it has helped decrease somewhat the brain fog around living in Germany;) I am originally from Bulgaria, but have lived and worked in Tokyo for over 13 years. My husband is Japanese and we have twin girls who will turn 11 in the end of April. Excuse me for not being concise,  but I will try to be concrete about our situation, so I can get the best advice from you.

 

As of 2 weeks ago, my husband was offered a role in Munich for 3 years out of the blue. I am still trying to work out an internal transfer from my own MNC but not sure if it will happen as my German is non-existent at the moment. We need to move there around the end of June, so I have limited time to figure out where to live and the schools. His work is near DomagkStraße U-Bahn station, but we prefer to live close to the school, so kids can go home on their own.

 

I am now frantically checking the school system.International schools and Japanese school is out as a choice. My kids currently speak only Japanese language fluently. Their level at school is high and I think they can handle Gymnasium, but without the language I am not sure if they catch up on that plus extra languages that start in Gymnasium.

 

So, local schools it is - Hauptschule is also no option I want to consider for the time being, so I would need to find a good Realschule or Gymnasium that would support non- German speaking kids. I heard there are such schools and I know I can start emailing each realschule and Gymnasium in Munich, but I was hoping someone would recommend 3-5 Realschule and respectively, Gymnasiums so I can start there. 

 

I need help around good areas to live in Munich, but maybe I will start a separate thread.

 

Thank you all in advanc

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My apologies, the title is a bit misleading but I could not edit it as I am a new member. 

" Request for Recommendations for Realshules and Gymnasiums with help for non-German speaking kids" was probably more appropriate

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been there, done that, a long time ago.
When we came to Germany, my children were almost 14, 12 1/2, and almost 11.  They'd had a few German lessons.

All the children had to repeat their last grade.  The two younger kids were in the local Volksschule, the oldest in a very accommodating gymnasium.  Ultimately, the oldest left for the US at 18 and finished high school there.  45 years later he still speaks German well.  The second kid went on to a business Realschule and completed the Mittlere Reife. 

But my then youngest, the same age as your kids, fared the best.  Having completed fifth grade in the US, she spent another year in fifth grade in the Volksschule; by that time her German was pretty fluent and her grades were sufficient that she entered Gymnasium, again in the fifth grade.  She went on to make her Abitur.
Yes, she was a little older than most of the kids in her class, but that didn't matter to her or to them.  

You're lucky that you'll reach Germany before school lets out for the summer.  That means your girls will be able to make friends in school before the end of July, when vacation begins.  You'll also be able to get them into one or two sport clubs, where they'll make more friends and learn more vocabulary.  Don't be unhappy that your children will stay back a year.  It's the best way to assure that their German is up to snuff before you send them to Gymnasium.

The problem I see is that if the girls are comfortable only in Japanese, it will be difficult to find teachers who share a language with them.  You'll probably need to get them tutoring from a Japanese-German speaker.   

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that was quick;)

 

Hi Katheliz,

 

If I can avoid Hauptschule which I think it the current equivalent of Volkschule, I would like to do that as I read too many bad things about recent Hauptschule ( seems very different than old days) and my german friends also strongly suggested to avoid it. I have no problem repeating an year, but not sure if it can happen ( see below). 

Tutoring is something that we would definitely need to find;) I did not think of putting them in school just for a month at all when we arrive before Sept and just find an intensive summer school but that could be worth exploring as I thought school finishes in June.

 

Jeba,

 

I did call them and even exchanged a couple of emails. They told me that based on my girls` birthday( they will be past their 11th birthday), repeating Grundschule is not an option ( even though I suggested it), so I should go with Hauptschule and then Gymnasium.

 

I told them that my understanding is that Hauptschule is low level and Gymnasium may be too high, which they agreed to but basically had no further advice than " come see us when you arrive", which is a bit late for me as we need to know where we will live by then, which will be determined by the school they will go to ( needs to be in close proximity).

 

Ani

 

 

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

My kids currently speak only Japanese language fluently. Their level at school is high and I think they can handle Gymnasium, but without the language I am not sure if they catch up on that plus extra languages that start in Gymnasium.

 

Forget Gymnasium. No Gymnasium will take children that don't even know the Latin alphabet.

 

After the mass migration of asylum seekers 3 years ago the system is still over burdened. You'll have to find a Wilkommensklasse where they will spend a year or two learning German. 

 

If I were you I'd find a Japanese boarding school for them.

 

I'd also recommend reading this thread :

 

 

Keep in mind that Emkay's daughter is a native English speaker and that Emkay already spoke German well enough to argue with officials on her daughter's behalf.

 

http://www.schulamt-muenchen.musin.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=255:unterricht-fuer-auslaendische-schueler-schueler-nichtdeutscher-muttersprache-und-interkulturelles-lernen&catid=28&Itemid=157

 

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hauptschule is where the girls can learn German.  Total immersion is a wonderful thing for children.  Eleven is about the top age that a child can quickly and successfully assimilate a second language.  We came to Germany from married student housing for UC Berkeley, and the 500-odd families included foreign students from China, India, Iceland, Germany, etc.  The local school district was used to children who didn't speak English, and in fifth grade - 10 or 11 years old - my son was assigned to a new, non-English-speaking boy from Taiwan.  He and the Asian kid played together, sat next to each other in class, and even played together outside of school.  By the end of the school year the foreign boy was speaking English fluently.

It won't be easy for your girls, or for you and your husband.  All the more reason to spend a year in the Hauptschule, so that they have a firm grounding in German.  Even if you don't spend more than two or three years in Germany, you want the girls to come away from the experience with good language skills. 

They'll probably also be learning English - it's not easy to learn two languages at once.  My oldest, the one in Gymnasium from the start, was learning German and French at the same time.  But it worked, although he speaks French with a German accent.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Katheliz,

 

I will think about that as this would take me right where I was at the start. I was considering it and then read 1000 posts against it...I appreciate the perspective;)

 

Jeba,

As for the Montesorri solution, I looked into it but it is not free, so private schools or Montessori will not work, as the Jp company will not cover the cost and we can`t afford it.

 

 

If anyone has concrete suggestions about good Hauptschule, good Realschules and Gymnasiums with support for non-German kids that they used in the past 2-3 years, I would appreciate it. Specific school names would help me head start the email chain to numerous school heads in Munich. 

Also, I read some disturbing things about the only Gesamtschule in Munich, so I was wondering if anyone has tried that in the past couple of years.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, katheliz said:

Hauptschule is where the girls can learn German.  Total immersion is a wonderful thing for children.  Eleven is about the top age that a child can quickly and successfully assimilate a second language.  

 

That was 45 years ago. 

 

Do you really think that mainstream schools would take children with whom they can't communicate at all when there is the option of Wilkommensklassen?

 

Would you really want to send your granddaughters to a Wilkommensklasse?

 

 

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As has already been mentioned, the German school system is overburdened with kids who do not speak the language well, and I think you would be lucky to find a school that would really welcome your girls, and see them as an asset to the mixed school community.

Whilst I can only speak for the local Gymnasium, if a child does not speak German, then they have no place there!

 

At the end of the day, I think it would be best for the girls to go to a Japanese boarding school - one where they understand the language, and can communicate with those around them.

 

Edit: I see there is a Japanese International School in Munich - have you already contacted them?

http://jis-muenchen.blogspot.de/

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses!

 

Japanese school is out, as it will be a too easy option( it is plan D). The girls are a bit worried, but intrigued and want to try it. They are familiar with the alphabet and started German lessons this week. How do I find schools which have Wilkommenklassen - is it by going to each website and look for that word? 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hauptschule is a slippery slope. I wouldn't advise it. I would try my luck at a Gsamtschule before I would put my child in hauptschule. 17 years ago I put my 13 year old in a hauptschule. Then spent a year kicking and screaming until I got her out of there.  We landed in a gsamtschule. My daughter made her ABI  in the end. With many tutors and tears. 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AniFuru said:

Japanese school is out, as it will be a too easy option( it is plan D).

 

It would be the best option for their education. 

 

Quote

The girls are a bit worried, but intrigued and want to try it. They are familiar with the alphabet and started German lessons this week. How do I find schools which have Wilkommenklassen - is it by going to each website and look for that word? 

 

 

It seems they are called Deutschförderklassen in Bavaria:

 

https://www.km.bayern.de/ministerium/schule-und-ausbildung/foerderung/sprachfoerderung.html

 

For the record I think you are making a huge mistake. 

 

Please post back here 6 months after you get here.

 

 

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@engelchen, I can see you've been paying attention to my posts! :)

Yes, it's true that my family's experience is old.  Even my two youngest boys, who spent several partial years attending German schools, did so in the 20th century, and in the provincial town of Rosenheim. 

However, learning a second language doesn't depend on an era.  If actually learning German is a priority, total immersion is most effective.  If this unusually-blended family can find a school which will accept their girls, the fact that it may be a Hauptschule is irrelevant.  The kids will still all be speaking German, and the possibility of moving up to a Realschule, if not Gymnasium, will end more successfully.  

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree with Engelchen on this!

Katheliz, sorry, but I think that times have changed so much in German schools that, for the large part, they simply do not have the facilities to cope with even more non-German-speaking students at the moment.

The idea of the girls being taken out of the Japanese schooling system for three years, and then having to find their way back into it after that time, and almost certainly working at a different accademic level in Germany, seems ridiculous, and more than one should expect these girls to cope with!

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, engelchen said:

It would be the best option fir their education. 

 

You’re missing the part about it being too easy. 

 

The Japanese don’t take it easy on their kids as far as education goes, and they have school 6 or 7 days a week. 

 

A kid studying engineering at uni with my 18 year old says he’s never had it so easy in his life. 

 

I suspect OP would rather push the kids through Gymnasium, ohne Rücksicht auf Verluste, than give them the “easy way out”. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, AniFuru said:

As for the Montesorri solution, I looked into it but it is not free, so private schools or Montessori will not work, as the Jp company will not cover the cost and we can`t afford i

Still worth asking. At the Montessori school my kids were going to the school fees were depending on your income so that even low income earners could afford it. They found solutions even for those who couldn´t afford to pay anything (like cleaning instead of paying).  Also,  for some time my kids visited an international school in Germany and even that had some students who didn´t have to pay school fees at all. That wasn´t in Munich though, so I don´t know about fee policies there.

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm,

 

most of you are against the immersion/ learning the language fluently in a German school...

 

Guest, 

 

A bit exaggerated there, but close enough;) They go to Japanese school and cram school and as they were planning to go on the path to private school in the 7th grade, they already did an year of study towards that and we were par for the course, when plans changed. I was more than happy to get them out of that system, so I want to make clear that I want them to be in an environment where they can safely learn the language and be with German kids so they immerse in the language and culture faster and enjoy Munich, but not with too big of a challenge which would actually crash them.

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- and don't you think they will be hugely challenged in three years' time when they have to fit back into the Japanese system?!

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not at all, as in Japan they will enter the grade for their age as the system is mandatory and marks they got in Germany will be irrelevant.

 

I heard other Japanese couples got their kids even in Gymnasium and while the first year they struggled, most managed to do well there. They just studied for 30 min or so a day Japanese at home, so they don`t forget the material and were able to slide in back in the school system just fine.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now