International schools in Berlin

342 posts in this topic

Yes, good point re the younger child and kindergarten - so they probably won't be in the same place anyway.

 

Nelson Mandela school regulations means they give priority to "mobile families", where the family are in Berlin on a non-permanent basis for their job (e.g. diplomats, visiting academics etc). However, as with all "public" international schools, there are alot of people trying to get their kids in, and also I know they have put more emphasis on the mufti-lingual skills of the kids - they prefer them to have some English and german language skills - although I guess in the case of the "mobile family", this may I guess be relaxed.

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Hi Candace

If you have some extra money to spend, I know the Berlin International School in Dahlem has a preschool/kita that is at the same campus, but separate building, as the elementary and high school. There are lots of temporary families there and at least with the preschool there are lots of English speaking teachers. It's a little fancy, but it is similar to American schools, in that they have sports teams that actually play other schools, and they have lots of clubs and extra-curricular activities for kids to be involved in. They even have a choir for parents! It wouldn't be my first choice for a permanent stay, but for a year or two, if you have the money, it is probably worth it. I think most of the public schools like Nelson Mendela are better if the children already have some German skills, because I don't think there is an 'English only' track. Also, Nelson Mendela doesn't have a preschool.

 

Also, the British School has a preschool, but the curriculum is based on the British school system.

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Thanks everyone. Your comments are consistent with the research that I have done already. I am looking at BBIS for both of them...but still in the search phase. I'll let you know what we wind up doing!

Candace

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Hi,

I'm planing to move to Berlin with my husband and two children.Im in contact with Peter-Ustinov international secondary school for my oldest son, couldn't find any opinions about this school anywhere. Has anyone of you children in this school or heard anything about it? I really would like to know if the school is any good?

 

Kinga

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Im trying to get my daughter into the jfk for 1st grade for next year. I have a question regarding the application. I am an american, my husband is german and she has both an American and German passport. she knows English but since she has gone to a German kita she doesnt like speaking it so she isnt that fluent. I would say for now her dominant language is german (im working on that and im confident i could help her get her english to native level by the start of first grade next year). My question is if i put that her dominant language is German on the application would that mean that she would get into the german lottery group (which they are already saying on their website that they arent taking any more applications) or would she still get put into the american/german category? Does anyone know when they test the language? if its far enough away, its possible that by then she would have practiced enough english to pass the test but i just dont know when it is and if its too soon then she may not pass it. if someone coudl give me some insight, it would be great! thanks!

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The tests are held in the fall, so I'm afraid you don't have until next year to get her up to speed.

 

I believe that if German is clearly her dominant language, she'll be classified as German for the purposes of the application.

 

I'd suggest giving them a call at 030-90299 5711 to get a definite answer, however.

 

Good luck.

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My son had his English test in January. We applied later in the application process. I kept him home from his German Kita through December to get him to speak more English. My son also has both passports. We stated that on his application and let them test him. He tested as no dominant language and was put on the American side. It's hard to get into the 1st grade because there are only 15 new spots and any "old" spots that become free. Good luck.

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Hello,

we are moving to Berlin for half a year on a sabbatical leave starting January 2013.

We have 2 sons, in 5th and 8th grade respectively. I am Italian/American

and our kids have been in the American school system since kindergarten.

We applied to different schools in Berlin.

We did not get a spot in JFK, but got in the BBS, BIS and BBIS.

How can you compare the 3 schools (BBS, BIS and BBIS) in term of curriculum,

environment, after school sport and music activities?

Our 8th grader is currently taking advanced math and science classes.

Do these school offer these kind of classes?

Also what is the ratio between German and Non German kids in the 3 schools?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Hi, I've read this entire thread and my head is spinning! We are a tri-lingual family (swissgerman, english, swedish) moving from Zurich to Berlin (U-Bahn Sophie Charlottenburg) next summer with three kids, and we are planning to stay for many years, perhaps for good. We need to place our kids in schools starting Aug. 2013 for the school year 2013-14. Our youngest will then turn 5, and he is slow will all three languages, and is getting some help with a logopedic so now he's kind of switched from mostly english to mostly swissgerman. He has been going to daycare in Zurich, and starting next year, he could benefit from a learning environment with 5 and 6 year olds, instead of younger kids at a kita, as he will only have one year to get ready for school, if I understand it correctly. What is the kindergarten system in Berlin, and how can I find out which one he would be assigned to in the public system? Which bilingual kindergarten or preschool should I look into, we can't afford private schools. Which school should I think of for him starting a year later.

 

Our older kids will enter 7th and 9th grade, and they want to go to a gymnasium and get an Abitur. Their German is not as excellent as native German kids', but their schooling in Zurich haas been in public Swissgerman schools. They have really good english and swedish reading skills, but spelling and vocabulary needs work. They also have a few years of french, and the oldest goes to a Swiss Gymnasium where she has latin, which she dislikes (could be the teacher!). They have US citizenship so JFK might be possible, they seem to want to go to Nelson Mandela or a German Gymnasium, but they are worried that their german skills might not be good enough in Berlin schools, and I am worried that the schools are all full. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Poetry, JFK is by far the best school if you are looking for an international school. Just ask friends (if you have them) in Berlin. You need to apply right now, and apply as an American. They will test in German to make sure it is sufficient, but you should be fine. You will get all three into the same school. Although JFK has its issues (as do all schools), for the future it is the best choice. Good luck.

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Poetry, JFK is by far the best school if you are looking for an international school.

...

JFK has its issues (as do all schools), for the future it is the best choice. Good luck.

 

I think it would be good to qualify these comments with "In my opinion", as in my opinion JFK is not the best international school in Berlin, especially if you are not from the USA. In fact for many non USA citizens that I know in Berlin, JFK has a rather poor reputation, so while your opinion is of course valid, I think it needs to be read as such, an opinion from a citizen of the USA living in Berlin.

 

While my eldest daughter is at the Nelson Mandela International school, and I am quite happy with the school, my 2 youngest kids (trilingual - English, German and Russian) are going to the local German school & kita around the corner, and we are very happy with that also. My personal opinion is that if an international family is settling in Berlin for the long term, the local German school is the best option, as the kids have no problem keeping their mother tongue(s) is there is exposure at home, and English is thought now from a reasonably early age in standard German schools in Berlin.

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HI guys, thank you so much for your quick response, really appreciate it! I do have some friends in Berlin, and they are split between JFK and Mandela, so both must be good and it depends where there is a spot to get in, we would probably be happy with either, and if not, then we would deal with it somehow. But, to clarify, we are dual nationals, and are way better at swissgerman than at english, although I'm about equal with both languages. BUT, swissgerman is not german, and the germans are noted for being way better in speaking and writing than the swiss. So my kids are not as good at english as they are at swissgerman.

colinmanning, can you explain to me how the local german kindergarten system works in Berlin? will our five year old get assigned to the one closest to our new home or do we have to apply to a bunch and visit them etc. are they all integrated in the kita's and do they learn some pre school stuff at the ages 5 and 6 or are they just being cared for with the small kids while the parents are at work?

thanks so much for your help!

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Normally you register your kids with the Jugendsamt, and depending on your circumstances for kids under 3, you get allocated a number of hours per day. It is up to you to check the local kitas, and find one you like, and which has a place free - it is usually not a problem, but you have to put some time in, and also you get some choice. However, all kids form 3 years old are entitled to go to Kita. The amount you pay, depends on your income - from 3 years old, you just pay a monthly fee for lunches - we pay about 30 euros a month for that. When our kids were under 3, we were paying around 80 euros per month for a full day.

 

The age for starting school in Berlin is 5 and a half, so all delends on when birthday falls, but I think you indicate the youngest will be 5 around autumn 2013, so he/she will have 1 year in kita.

 

Now there are bi-lingual kitas available in various districts - there is one I think just opposite Nelson Mandela. However not sure how easy to get places, or which ones are better ... However my experience is when the kids are mixing with native German speakers on a daily basis, they pick the language up very quickly. When my now 6 year old first went to the local kita, he was not speaking any German, 3 months later he was fluent (i.e. the same level as the other local kids of his age). At home he is speaking mostly English, with some Russian also. I think you can relax about the language development if you are here for the long term, if you are speaking English at home, and they have German in school/kita, I think it will all work out.

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as in my opinion JFK is not the best international school in Berlin, especially if you are not from the USA.

And your opinion means absolutely bupkis since you're a fucking Mick and your partner is a Russki. One of you has to be either a Yank or a Kraut for your kid to get into JFK, so all anyone can surmise is... this. You don't qualify so you're slagging it off. Lemme guess: you wouldn't want to belong to any club which would have you as a member.

 

woof.

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Nice what? You're pissing and moaning about a school your kid isn't qualified to attend (by means of your nationalities and not academic standing, as far as I understand). Reads like sour grapes. You disagree, spell it out.

 

woof.

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Nice that for the first time in 51 years on this planet I've been racially abused, and not only is it by a very sensitive American, but one who can't read.

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I've been racially abused

I didn't realise that "not American or German" is a race. Because that's why your kid can't attend JFK. And you're sitting here pissing and moaning about the school your kid isn't allowed to attend.

 

woof.

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One of you has to be either a Yank or a Kraut for your kid to get into JFK

 

Our Nigerians friends send their kids to JFK.

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Then they were very lucky in a year of low demand.

 

 

Priority is given to German and American children who represent the culture of the passport they hold, linguistically and culturally. Third nationals, i.e. children who are not either German nationals or American nationals, may be admitted only with the approval of the Educational Directorate and only if their admission does not block that of an American or German child.

(source)

 

The lottery for the entrance class this year was highly oversubscribed - no families without at least one American or German parent were even allowed to participate. We were told it's been that way since 2009.

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