International schools in Berlin

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Our girls attended JFKS. We did not see any evidence of creative teaching. It was mostly solid but not anything unusual. One big difference is that there is much less testing, especially at the Elementary School. In fact, there was so little testing, it took a couple months for the teacher to see I was correct that my daughter was not learning much of anything from the teacher who insisted she loves learning in German, despite the fact she doesn't know any German. Also, parents do not learn much about grades until the end. I was strongly criticized for even mentioning that many American schools now automatically send test scores to parents. (The American principal, who has thankfully retired, told me "if you think American schools are so wonderful, you should have stayed in America.")

 

In brief, JFKS will feel very American minus the extensive testing, to the point you might find yourself wanting more testing. Also, the rare testing applies only to elementary school. The HS had regular tests. 

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2 hours ago, Kat15 said:

Our girls attended JFKS. We did not see any evidence of creative teaching. It was mostly solid but not anything unusual. One big difference is that there is much less testing, especially at the Elementary School. In fact, there was so little testing, it took a couple months for the teacher to see I was correct that my daughter was not learning much of anything from the teacher who insisted she loves learning in German, despite the fact she doesn't know any German. Also, parents do not learn much about grades until the end. I was strongly criticized for even mentioning that many American schools now automatically send test scores to parents. (The American principal, who has thankfully retired, told me "if you think American schools are so wonderful, you should have stayed in America.")

 

In brief, JFKS will feel very American minus the extensive testing, to the point you might find yourself wanting more testing. Also, the rare testing applies only to elementary school. The HS had regular tests. 

 

But the little or no testing is not particularly different from any other school in Berlin.  In class 1 and 2 there is no testing, because you know, poor little kids should not be tested and should not be disappointed at such age.   And then in class 3 and 4 the parents vote if the class will have grades or not, and in most cases they vote for no grades, because you know, they a so little and should not experience the disappointment of losing at that young age.

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4 hours ago, gkahn88 said:

 

Krieg, ha ha.  I'm not really opposed to tests, just testing as a way of life.  Your handle shows you in Berlin - did you see my original question? Any thoughts on the int'l schools there in general?  Thanks!!

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Hello gkahn88!!

It would be great to meet up if you end up in Berlin.  Our kids are about the same ages.   
Have you looked into Nelson Mandela School or Berlin Cosmopolitan?  They both looked interesting to us.  Of course, we are basing this on their websites and reviews alone.  We have applied to JFK, NMS, BIS and BCS.  I'm not sure which one we would choose if we were lucky enough to get into all of them.  At this point just hoping we get into one! We found a rental house in Zehlendorf so location-wise JFK makes the most sense.   But I'm drawn to the idea of Nelson Mandela and BCS. 

As far as testing, I completely agree with your hesitation to be in a school where testing is the focus.  I think the difference is that it isn't necessarily the testing itself that is such a distraction from hands on learning it is the class time that it takes for teachers to "teach to the test"  where students are subjected to rote learning and do not get to experience the magic of project based and bigger idea learning.  There will always be a need for testing in education but teaching to a state mandated test has all but cut out the joy of teaching and learning... at least in Washington State.  

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Yes, let's not lose touch!!  We will be there by around the first week of August -- I'm still amazed that this is happening, it just became final a few days ago.  SO much research to do... was the application process arduous at these schools?  I haven't even started peeking at that yet.   Thanks!!

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We arrive at the beginning of August too :) 

And the school apps are not that difficult.  Once you pull together all the forms and documents for one the rest are very similar. 

And VERY exciting that you are now officially going.  I know, it IS so much research and planning.  We started the process in January and are just waiting to hear about acceptance into schools at this point.   How long do you plan to stay in Berlin? 

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Glad to hear the application process isn't TOO hard.  We'll see!  We will be there 3 years for sure, possibly 5, and after that, who knows?!!  So nice that we are connected now outside of this page -- anyone else reading this have intriguing insights into the world of Berlin's international schools? :-)  

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Having read though all the posts, I would love some more recent feedback on the Berlin Bilingual School. We were offered spots for our two kids (incoming 4th and 6th grade) and have to decide soon.

Our (remote) impression of the school is very good (doing all the research from the US since we won't be moving until August), although I know they just moved to a new location and still are adjusting to it.
 

We are a bit torn still between this school and just sending them to regular public school (Homer-Grundschule in Prenzlauerberg). Thinking that Berlin Bilingual will certainly be a "softer landing" for the kids and my husband who will be stay-at-home dad and barely speaks any German...on the other hand, I am worried that the kids will learn German much slower if surrounded by English-speaking children and teachers. The kids speak and understand basic German but they are certainly not up to speed in terms of reading/writing and their grammar is quite spotty. My goal for this first year is to get my older one up to speed in order to ensure an easy transition to secondary school, which might be a public German school.

I'd like to hear experiences from both sides - those that sent their kids from a similar background to a bilingual school (and to Berlin Bilingual specifically), or those that picked the regular public school.

I know there are also NMS and JFK which we applied to as well, but after not getting any sign of hope from them we have now committed to an apartment in Prenzlauer Berg which would make the commute to either of those schools seem way too strenuous.

You are welcome to send a private message as well if you prefer.

Thanks!

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Hi - I have 2 questions regarding the JFK High School which I hope someone can help me with:

1) What are the class sizes from year 7 onwards?

2) The web site says the students can do the German abitur.  Is this the bilingual German abitur (as in other state Europa schools ) or is it completely in German?

Thanks for any help.

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8 hours ago, Wooks said:

Hi - I have 2 questions regarding the JFK High School which I hope someone can help me with:

1) What are the class sizes from year 7 onwards?

2) The web site says the students can do the German abitur.  Is this the bilingual German abitur (as in other state Europa schools ) or is it completely in German?

Thanks for any help.

Wooks,

1) My daughter says there were about 20 kids in each class. 

2) We did not consider the abitur, so I cannot speak to this. 

 

Best wishes. 

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hello All!

could you share an opinion on the topic : Quentin Blake vs Charles Dickens School. Which one has better reputation? where I can find any information?

thanks!

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Most people will only have experience of one school and not the other, so comparison is difficult.

 

For what it's worth, and as odd as it sounds: I know two parents: one was dissatisfied with Quentin Blake, moved the child to Charles Dickens, and was happier.

The other was dissatisfied with Charles Dickens, moved the child to Quentin Blake, and was happier.

 

My child is in one of the two schools (not saying which :-) ), and while I think most of his present teachers are wonderful, there are some teachers much less wonderful teaching other classes in the same year group, and in the past he has had one wonderful teacher but a couple of teachers very much less wonderful. 

 

Bottom line, I think the issue of "better" is more an issue of which teachers your child ends up with, and not the school itself.

 

 

 

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Hi everybody,
we are a small family of three planning to relocate to Berlin.
I have a job offer from a company located in Potsdam and desperately seeking for the best schooling option for my 10 years old daughter.
She is attending 4th grade in our hometown in a private school which follows PYP/IB and her english skills are at A2 level (CEFR) and her Cambridge English Scale score is app. 130.
She is not a native german/english speaker, that makes us impossible to enrol to a bilingual school.
I have the opinion that putting her to german schooling system with zero german skills is not a good option because i don't want her to attend to a Hauptschule later.
We are even okay when she has to repeat 4th grade in Germany but still i think she will be not able to attend Realschule or Gymnasium with german skills earned only in one year.
There is a bi-lingual state school in Kreuzberg for native turkish children but i also do not prefer it.
I think all of my above mentioned opinions makes an international private school the one and only option for us.
I've been reading lots of information about international schools in Berlin.
I am now preparing a file which includes her academic and social improvement reports beginning from the 1st grade, her Cambridge Test results and a recommendation letter from her school translated in english/german. 
Both Berlin Metropolitan School and Berlin Cosmopolitan School seems to be a good option for us because of their fees calculated based on the gross income. 
I can not afford BIS, BBIS and Berlin British School.
Here are my questions and i'll be happy if you can guide me through
    What is the possibility to get rejected when we apply to Berlin Metropolitan School and Berlin Cosmopolitan School ?
    Can i ask to a private school to enrol her to 4th grade so she has one year to improve her english and maybe to learn german? 
    Does someone have any experience with Berlin Cosmopolitan School and Berlin Metropolitan School ?

 

As you can guess i am also not a native english speaker and i apologize for my mistakes.
Will be glad for your answers.
Thanks !    
 

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I can't give you any specific information about the schools, but it's 45 minutes one-way from Mitte to central Potsdam under the best conditions. You're going to be spending a hell of a lot of time commuting if you take a job in Potsdam and put your daughter in a school in Berlin. What's more, I don't think A2 English will be enough for her to attend an international school that teaches in English.

 

On the other hand, she's still at an age where she can get up to speed with German after a year of intensive study, if she practices extensively on the side.

 

Just something to consider.

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Thank you El Jeffo for your answer

Commuting  45 minutes or 1 hour (or even more) one-way from Mitte to central Potsdam will not be a problem for me. But i will consider your opinion about A2 english level.

 

Thanks

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It may be a problem for her (the hour commute) - at 10, that does make for a very long day.

 

A year to get her German sorted is not too bad - if you start right away with online solutions (Deutsche Welle's Harry, Duolingo etc) then when you get here she will have something to build on, and if you have the opportunity and cash to provide tutors for her straight away, it might just work out.

 

The German school system looks rigid and inflexible, but actually there is porosity within school types, and different ways of achieving the same outcome, so what happens straight after Grundschule is not setting your kid's future in concrete at all. People just see it that way.  

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20 minutes ago, BulentK said:

Thank you El Jeffo for your answer

Commuting  45 minutes or 1 hour (or even more) one-way from Mitte to central Potsdam will not be a problem for me. But i will consider your opinion about A2 english level.

 

Thanks

No offense, but if you can't afford tuition at one of the private schools, I'm not sure you'll be able to afford the rents in Mitte, either. Nor is Potsdam a bargain - the rents there are comparable to the pricey parts of Berlin.

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First no need to panic, in Berlin and Brandenburg the primary school is 6 years and not 4.  So you have still time for her to learn German.

 

The English-German schools are meant for either kids who speak English as a native speaker and some German or German as a native speaker and some English (at least passive skills are required).   Your kid does not speak any German and her English skills are not really enough, so instead of stressing the kid with one language you want to introduce double the stress.  And consider that those schools might introduce a third language in 5th class, i.e. French.

 

I would assume Turkish is the mother tongue of the kid, so actually a Turkish-German school would be the better option.   But you probably are already swimming in the "I don't want my kid to go together to school with those other Turkish kids" pool.    The school you mentioned is probably Aziz Nesin which is a Europaschule, so it will be extremely difficult for your kid to get a place there, considering that as far as I know all Europaschule are quite good and there is only one with Turkish-German in Berlin and the Turkish community is huge.

 

The other choice would be just a plain normal school.

 

 

Edit: If you do not live in Berlin you can't send your kid to a Europaschule in Berlin

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4 minutes ago, El Jeffo said:

No offense, but if you can't afford tuition at one of the private schools, I'm not sure you'll be able to afford the rents in Mitte, either. Nor is Potsdam a bargain - the rents there are comparable to the pricey parts of Berlin.

Hi El Jeffo,

Of course i respect your opinion and your opinion is very important for me because you are already living in Germany and i plan to move to Germany. You know better than me the cost of living in Germany.

But i have searched at immobilienscout.de for a few aparments and options like this one https://www.immobilienscout24.de/expose/102955219?referrer=RESULT_LIST_LISTING&navigationServiceUrl=%2FSuche%2Fcontroller%2FexposeNavigation%2Fnavigate.go%3FsearchUrl%3D%2FSuche%2FS-4%2FWohnung-Miete%2FBerlin%2FBerlin%2FMitte-Mitte%2F3%2C00-%26exposeId%3D102955219&navigationHasPrev=true&navigationHasNext=true&navigationBarType=RESULT_LIST&searchId=b99cffd4-5d96-36ba-9f25-a6e07f531e40#/ seems fine to me. It is located only 2.0 km away from Berlin Metropolitan School and 3.2 km away from Berlin Cosmopolitan School. And i have to commute ~1 hour one way which is o.k to me because i commute more now.

 

Thanks

 

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27 minutes ago, kiplette said:

It may be a problem for her (the hour commute) - at 10, that does make for a very long day.

 

A year to get her German sorted is not too bad - if you start right away with online solutions (Deutsche Welle's Harry, Duolingo etc) then when you get here she will have something to build on, and if you have the opportunity and cash to provide tutors for her straight away, it might just work out.

 

The German school system looks rigid and inflexible, but actually there is porosity within school types, and different ways of achieving the same outcome, so what happens straight after Grundschule is not setting your kid's future in concrete at all. People just see it that way.  

 

Thank Uou kiplette

You are right, it could be a big problem for her. But i plan to rent an apartment  close to her school as much as possible.

 

 

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