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What grade in school?

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I have a question about school and what grade a child might end up in.

 

One of my children is the youngest in his grade, just making the kindergarten cutoff date when he started school. Technically, we would have been fine to have him wait a year to begin school. We were pushed by our school district (in the US) to have him start school essentially one year early. (Long story, the details are not necessary here.) He is in second grade now. Say we move to Germany in the summer before he would start third grade in the US. Would Germany allow him to begin second grade, rather than pushing him into third grade? I see two benefits. His maturity level would match the grade he is in, he would finally be the same age as other students in his grade, and he could put more effort into language learning. 

 

He has a minimal knowledge of German right now but is excited about learning more and we are all, as a family, learning Germany. I don't like that we were pushed to have him start kindergarten a year early because I still don't believe he was ready at the time. He would be in a public German school, not an international school. 

 

Thanks for anything you can share!

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The German school system is governed at a state level not a national one, so you may get better answers if you say which German state you are planning to settle in.

That said, our experiences in Bremen were that the schools were fairly open to suggestions like this, my youngest stayed back a year because they weren't doing to well one year, and my eldest started school a year above where he would normally be for his age.

The ties between school grade and age are much more 'guidelines' rather than rules in my experience.

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Yes, the cut off month in which the child turns six varies from state to state by as much as three months according to this summary:

https://www.bildungsserver.de/Wann-kommt-mein-Kind-in-die-Schule-Einschulung-und-Stichtagsregelungen-12554-de.html

And I think it's fair to say that in general here they are not keen  on pushing children into formal schooling too early.

You know your child best and if you already feel he started a bit early, think what it'll be like for him with a huge move, new language and teaching styles etc. (e.g. Maths is presented in a different way here and was quite rigidly taught, in their school anyway) Also the selection process for secondary school starts as early as the 4th class in some states. Not for nothing is Nachhilfe, extra after-school tuition, a big thing here.

Also, bear in mind that while children superficially pick up language very quickly, this is at a social 'kitchen' level of communication. Catching up with the kind of academic language of school subjects is more a matter of years.

I didn't know this research when mine started here in 3rd class, which would have also been their correct year in the UK, and was reassured by the well-meaning teachers that they'd be fine after six months. They managed and were happy but it was always a struggle, and termly grades and the dreaded Zeugnis count for a lot. One of my kids said to me recently he only started to feel really comfortable and understand the nuances in his mid teens, a good six or seven years after starting.

Looking back it would have been better to have had that extra year. And I would still recommend some home tuition in German, it's so important for children to hear and practise the correct structures in conversation, and in particular to be read to and read lots in the language.

 

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I know of a child here with Russian as the mother tongue.  The school recommended that she be placed in third rather than fourth grade, despite age eligibility, in order to be better prepared for admission to gymnasium in 5th grade.   And that is working out well.  She is catching up and the parent is very pleased with the flexibility offered.  

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I appreciate every single one of your responses! This is all very reassuring. 

 

Sorry about the vagueness/lack of location. We have not settled on a location yet but have a few preferences. We were planning a visit earlier this year to get a feel for a few areas to help us decide since I have not been to Germany since childhood. Since that trip was not possible then, assuming things have improved by Spring, we'll be visiting then. 

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My daughter spent three full years in fifth grade; in the US, in the Volkschule once we came to Germany, and in gymnasium. It was all worth it, and she made her abitur. 

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1 hour ago, tor said:

So you are a German citizen? 

 

I am, as are my children.

 

I haven't lived in Germany since childhood and my children have never lived their so I'm sadly not entirely knowledgeable about how things work in Germany. I know enough to have more questions than answers.

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14 hours ago, Feierabend said:

Yes, the cut off month in which the child turns six varies from state to state by as much as three months according to this summary:

https://www.bildungsserver.de/Wann-kommt-mein-Kind-in-die-Schule-Einschulung-und-Stichtagsregelungen-12554-de.html

 

 

I finally had some time to look at this link and wow! So helpful! Thank you. I can see that in most states he would not have been able to start school when he did which is reassuring and I imagine would help us request that he repeat a grade.

 

I can only see benefits to him repeating a grade.

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