Welcoming Cologne neighborhood Grundschules for non-native speakers?

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Hello all!

Apologies if this has been answered previously (I scrolled through and didn't find a 100% match). We are an American family moving to Cologne this summer. When we relocate, our sons will be 5 and 2. We are enrolling our older son in a bilingual private kindergarten but plan on putting him in German primary school (for both financial and social reasons since we hope to stay in Germany for the long haul) the following year at age 6. I hope that his German will be decent by then but I want to make sure that the Grundschule that he will attend will be welcoming for him as a non-native speaker. We would like to relocate to a nice, family neighborhood with lots of parks and kid friendly activities but close to public transportation and the ring. Mostly, we want a school/neightborhood where our boys feel welcomed and supported by teachers and the community. Obviously, we want a great academic school as well. A lot to ask, I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Any ideas?

Thanks!

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I can't give you any ideas on Grundschulen, but if his German isn't up to par by 1st grade, you could always have him stay in kindergarten an extra year. Some people might even suggest that he go to a German only kindergarten in order to learn German very quickly. There are others on this forum that I am sure can help out more.

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2 hours ago, Valerienellk said:

We would like to relocate to a nice, family neighborhood with lots of parks and kid friendly activities but close to public transportation and the ring. Mostly, we want a school/neightborhood where our boys feel welcomed and supported by teachers and the community. Obviously, we want a great academic school as well. A lot to ask, I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Any ideas?

 

Have you ever been to Cologne? Your wishes are understandable, but Cologne is a densely populated city with a housing shortage. This means that even with generous financial resources, you won't necessarily be able to move where you want, but where you can find suitable and affordable living space.  

 

If you want your son to learn German quickly, don't send him to a bilingual (international) kindergarten, but to a monolingual German one. 

 

As soon as you have moved to Cologne, you will receive mail from the municipal integration centre anyway:

 

"Falls Sie ein schulpflichtiges Kind haben und Sie in Köln gemeldet sind, erhalten Sie von uns ein Schreiben. In diesem Schreiben stehen alle Informationen und Kontaktdaten, um mit dem Kommunalen Integrationszentrum einen Beratungstermin vereinbaren zu können. Nach dieser Beratung wird Ihr Kind vom Gesundheitsamt schulärztlich untersucht. Bei der Terminvereinbarung mit dem Gesundheitsamt unterstützt Sie das Kommunale Integrationszentrum. Gleichzeitig erhält das Schulamt für die Stadt Köln durch das Kommunale Intergrationszentrum die notwendigen Angaben für die Zuweisung und sucht einen geeigneten Platz für Ihr Kind. In der Regel erhalten Sie nach etwa zwei Wochen das Zuweisungsschreiben.

Die Vorbereitungsklassen in Köln sind in der jeweiligen Schulstufe, Primarstufe und Sekundarstufe I, jahrgangs- und schulformunabhängig ausgerichtet, so dass ein flexibler Einstieg möglich ist. In den Vorbereitungsklassen erfolgt eine besonders intensive Deutschförderung. Sobald ein Wechsel in die Regelklasse möglich ist, wird die Schule dies veranlassen."

 

"If you have a school-age child and you are registered in Cologne, you will receive a letter from us. This letter contains all the information and contact details you need to make an appointment with the municipal integration centre. After this consultation, your child will be examined by the health office. The municipal integration centre will support you in making an appointment with the health office. At the same time, the municipal integration centre provides the school authority for the city of Cologne with the necessary information for the assignment and looks for a suitable place for your child. As a rule, you will receive the letter of referral after about two weeks.

The preparatory classes in Cologne are oriented towards the respective school level, primary level and lower secondary level, independent of age group and school type, so that a flexible entry is possible. The preparatory classes provide particularly intensive German language support. As soon as it is possible to change to the regular class, the school will arrange this."

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

 

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My two youngest sons started Kindergarten at 3, one with no German, one with some.  They went to two different KGs, both German only.  One took three months before he said anything, though one of the attendants said after eight weeks that he understood almost everything he heard. Both KGs were very gentle with their treatment of my sons, and the boys were very happy and confident.

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If you can get a space in a Montessori school - go for it. Due to their method which implies kids teaching each other there will be much more peer-to-peer interaction which will help learning the language a lot. My kids loved it.

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Thanks for the replies. 

He will be going to a Montessori bilingual kindergarten in the fall, not a pure German one. His personality just works better in a more structured learning environment and not a day-care type of situation. I’m very excited about the kindergarten we found as I think it’ll be a happy medium for him/us. 

 

My question still remains: which family friendly and leafy neighborhoods are most welcoming for non-native speakers in terms of German schools since he will be going to primary/Grundschule in 2020/2021 school year 

 

Thanks!!

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Cologne, in my experience, is pretty much universally welcome to non-native speakers if you are open and friendly.

Green and leafy neighborhoods...so probably around the Militarring or to the North, close to the Rhine.

Try Rhiel/Nippes to the North, Sülz/Klettenburg to the West and Rodenkirchen in the South.

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