International schools in Berlin

342 posts in this topic

Hi,

Is there anyone with kids at the Berlin Brandenberg who would be OK with briefly letting me know their experiences? I have two boys who are due to go into Grade 3 in Sept 2012.

Many thansk

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For future seekers of a school in Berlin I would like to add the following comments on Nelson Mandela School. We will be taking our child out of Nelson Mandela because of excessive bullying. Teachers, support staff, administration make nothing is done. At first I thought something was wrong with our child, because we came to Berlin very new , but then I got many more stories from other parents. Kids being teased, being forced to do things they don't want to do, punching and more. We are so shocked and sad that so little is done. Now our son speaks so much better German, we will try local school. Nelson Mandela School does not follow their own rules. We were very disappointed. Some teachers really good too.

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It wont necessarily be any better at the local school. The children start school together and they stick together as a group throughout primary school; even the teacher sticks with the class, so it is very hard for new kids to break in and make friends. My child started at the local school in February and is finding it hard, there has been teasing and bullying, stupid things like throwing his shoes in the bin in the changing room at the swimming pool, and then in the classroom, the boy sitting next to my son drew a line down the desk and said that my son was not allowed over the line, which would have been just about acceptable had the line been drawn in the middle of the desk, but it had not, and there have been a lot of other really petty things like this going on which are upsetting for a new child desperately trying to make friends. Whenever I go to the school, I make a point of talking to the other children, and they are all nice and not at all feral, so I really think that it is a cultural thing: they are taught to stick together as a group and it is hard for them to let someone new join... I have bought up the issue of the bullying with the class teacher and the head teacher and they both suggest that I send my child to hort, which I want to do, but my child is very against that, as he does not want to spend any longer in the school than absolutely necessary. I am just hoping that with time the other children will accept him and let him join in with their games, at the moment they generously let him watch them play...

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clare_acton,

 

I definitely empathize with you. We had kids at Quentin Blake this year that had a really hard time. Bullying, etc. was accepted by the school administration.. VERY frustrating. Sure there are some cultural differences that come into play here. The thing with classes staying together for a few years does make it difficult to fit in. One thing that helped our kids some was having one on one "play dates" outside of school. Once you separate individual kids from the pack, then they were more likely to play well and make friends with our kids. But at the end of the day, if the school administration doesn't take this stuff seriously, there's only so much you can do as a parent.

 

I hope your kids have a better experience with the next school.

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Our family is rather suddenly moving to Berlin this summer. We have two girls: one would be entering her junior year of high school, the other, 4th grade. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible for them and are particularly worried about the stress this will cause our high school student, as this will be our first international move and comes at a time when she is really engaging in the American high school experience. Which of the English-language schools in the city comes closest to that experience, as far as sports, extra curriculars, and social life are concerned? She is also a talented artist, and we would want a school that could continue to foster her gifts.

 

I am also concerned by the comments regarding bullying, especially for my younger daughter. Has anyone had a more positive experience? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

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Hi Edith,

 

My daughters are 9 and in 3rd grade. We moved here this past summer and started them at the Berlin british school (BBS). We were not happy with our experience there. Bullying was a big problem, among other things, and I felt the school was ineffective in dealing with it. We moved our girls to the Berlin international school (BIS) in February and we are much happier. Our girls are thriving there, they love their teachers (they had a terrible teacher at BBS) and there seems to be far less bullying. The school curriculum feels similar to what I would expect at their excellent public school back home in New Jersey. I can't speak to the high school experience, but my daughters' babysitter is in 11th grade at BIS and she loves it. She is working her butt off and is planning to go to college in the states. One nice thing about BIS is your girls would be on the same campus but in separate buildings. So you don't have to worry about the younger one being exposed to teenage b.s. all day, but there is the comfort in knowing the older one is just next door if the younger one needs her. BBS has separate campuses for the primary and secondary school, not in walking distance.

 

We also looked at Berlin Brandenberg international school before moving here and felt it was too far from the center of Berlin and it also seemed way too big a campus for our young daughters. But I remember thinking it looked great for teenagers, so you might want to at least look at it.

 

Hope that helps. Feel free to PM me for more details.

Alyssa

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Originally we thought we would just put them in German schools for the language immersion, but after having read many postings on this website, I have come to the conclusion that that is not a good idea. Neither speaks any German at all.

German American School East Bay

Phone: (510) 863-0478

E-Mail: info@gseb-school.org

Web: www.gseb-school.org

My family attended their Saturday classes before we moved to Germany. No matter which school you send the kids to while you're in Germany, it's a good idea to have basic German skills before you go. If you're attached to UC Berkeley it may be possible for you to use the Language Lab there as well.

I'd say use the German schools - it's only a year but you'd be surprised how much German your boys will speak by Christmas. When you return to the US, continue at the German School so the boys can maintain the language.

In any case, enroll them in a Sport Verein - sport club - where they can learn a sport (fencing, for example) and meet kids.

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Your timing is almost the same as mine last year... It's pretty late to try to get into any of the public bilingual elementary schools, but you should definitely contact them and ask: JFK, QB, CD, and NM (see other threads on TT for contact info). JFK is the most American style school (elementary+high school) in Berlin but it's hard to get into this late in the year. There are several good private schools but I don't know much about them although you may be able to search here to find some other threads on them, and Alyssa pointed you to BIS

 

I agree on what another poster said on extra-curricular activities. There are many options in Berlin - martial arts, Stagecoach, soccer of course, etc. After school activities have been very good for our children and they've made some good friends that way.

 

Good luck.

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Our family is rather suddenly moving to Berlin this summer. We have two girls: one would be entering her junior year of high school, the other, 4th grade. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible for them and are particularly worried about the stress this will cause our high school student, as this will be our first international move and comes at a time when she is really engaging in the American high school experience. Which of the English-language schools in the city comes closest to that experience, as far as sports, extra curriculars, and social life are concerned? She is also a talented artist, and we would want a school that could continue to foster her gifts. I am also concerned by the comments regarding bullying, especially for my younger daughter. Has anyone had a more positive experience? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

 

@ Edith

Have you looked at BBIS (Berlin Brandenburg International School)? There are a lot of American staff and students there. The sports facilities are excellent and the art department really does demand a high standard of thought in the subject. The note books and displays at the annual IB art exhibition really show that the kids are encouraged to work as artists from an early stage. There are a lot of extra-curricular activities.Buses come from various starting points in Berlin. In the younger grades the classes are shuffled each year partly to try to avoid cliques forming . Anti-bullying is high profile, with a system of student led "peacemaker" in place and a specialised student support department.

There are so many unpredictables in choosing a school and what works marvellously for one child may be a disaster for another ... Good luck!

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[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

hi we are locating to Berlin in the next couple of months as my partner has got a job there.

we have two daughters 5 and 11 and we need to find schools for them. i know its past admissions dates but i would really appriciate if anyone has any advice on what schools to apply for or if anyone has been in this situation.

we dont know where we will be living yet as we need to get schools before we can look for somewhere to live.

thanks for any help.

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we dont know where we will be living yet as we need to get schools before we can look for somewhere to live.

 

Are you planning to send your children to the "normal" German schools? If so, then it works the other way around and you are assigned to a school based on their catchment areas, i.e. your home address. If you are planning to send your children to a private school, though, it's obviously a completely different story.

 

EDIT: Yikes, this was merged while I was typing. If you're going for international schools, there is a lot of info on this thread... is also what I wanted to say. Captain Obvious here. :rolleyes:

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ISVA(International School Villa Amalienof) hasn't been mentioned.

It's on the boarder of the forest in Staaken (Spandau). Really nice place if you're a kid and it's a really good school.

Although I don't know if it's cheap. Is €10,000 per year expensive or average for an international school?

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Have heard about unchecked bullying at JFK, too.

In the docs, it says there are countermeasures in place, so it is surprising to hear.

What's going on?

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Is €10,000 per year expensive or average for an international school?

 

Yes it is expensive, I have no idea if it is average, and in any case it is mad (and bad) to spend money like that - but then I believe in a pragamatic social system, which we have here in Berlin, and in most cases it works pretty well.

 

I have one child in Nelson Mandela international school - normal state run school, and it works great for her. My second kid is about to start in the local primary school - while I like the idea of international school, I have realised it does not make much difference, as i think the biggest issue in education is in the attitude parents give to their kids in relation to learning - in most cases kids can learn well, even in bad schools, if the attitude is right, and they have family support.

 

Rant over, I say just relax and send them to the local school.

 

Colin

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Have heard about unchecked bullying at JFK, too.

In the docs, it says there are countermeasures in place, so it is surprising to hear.

What's going on?

 

At JFK, we've only been there a short time so take my advice for what it's worth, but our experience so far is that bullying is less of a problem at JFK than our previous school in Berlin. Most of the teachers appear to have better control of the classes, and the elementary school principal seems quite competent and on top of things. I'm sure JFK isn't perfect but for us it was a huge improvement over our previous school.

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Berlin Bilingual School (formerly Berlin Kids International School) in Friedrichshain is another school to consider altho the children MUST speak BOTH english and german already to be admitted but we think it's a great school with an emphasis on a really friendly atmosphere for the kids.

 

I don't think bullying would be tolerated there. We had a minor incident with our child who was really more of the problem than the other child involved and the teachers took resolving it very seriously, while avoiding labeling either of the children as bad. I was really impressed how they handled it. I think it's also quite good academically.

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Hello everyone! New to this site...my husband and I will be moving to Berlin temporarily (9-12 months) in the coming months. I have a few questions for you all!

-we have two girls age 4 and 15 and I would like to keep them together. Are there recommendations for a good school that would take them both?

-we may be arriving mid year (January) how hard is it to get a spot at that time?

 

Neither girls speak German, although my husband is fluent and travels there quite a bit for business...hence the reason we are spending some time there.

 

I appreciate any thoughts!

Candace

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I think it will be tricky for your 15 year old to assimilate in German language environment, especially if this is only a 1 year temporary move. Assuming she will resume her schooling when she returns form Berlin, I think it is more important that she gets to socialize with English speaking kids in school, and so I think an international school is essential. Of course it will be great for her to pock up German as part of the experience here.

 

For your younger daughter, I think it is much easier, as she will pick up the language no problem, and when she returns home from Berlin, she will be hittitng primary school, and nothing lost.

 

So my advice is concentrate on making a good environment for your elder teenage daughter, and if your little girl can get a place in the same school great, but I think if you prioritize keeping them together, then that might not be ideal for your older girl.

 

I am not a professional in this area, but an Irish parent of 3 kids living in Berlin, 13, 6 and 3 who live in English/German/Russian speaking family environment, and my eldest daughter is in Nelson Mandela International school, but younger ones are in local German school and Kita, and have no problems with the multi language environment. Hope my comments help,

 

Al the best and hope you enjoy your year in berlin.

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Search on this site for plenty of good info about schools. As you are American try the JFK US /German school but it is tricky to get into and gets full fast and the process starts a long time before the school year begins for the entry classes. Remember school starts later here so your 4 year old will be in kindergarten for a couple more years here. Maybe you find a place at JFK as one of your kids is older and can avoid the entry class rush, maybe not. If you have around 10,000 euros or more per child per year spare then there are some good private schools.Others are also well regarded in the east part of the city and will ask for a proportion of your income.

 

You need to do some research.

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