I am mad. Boiling mad. This in spite of the cold, grey and wet weather.
We move alot. On average every 2 to 3 years. We go where the bread is buttered. We want a bright future for our children. We like living in different countries.
But Italy certainly takes 1st prize in disorganisation. Even an International School in the country is not what it should be. Certes, they have their philosophy (i.e. PYP, MYP etc) that on paper sounds really wonderful (e.g. thinking/inquiring kids, no exams no stress, no textbooks no rote learning...), but at the moment my 11-year old has yet to do a Science project, my 5-year old is very happy to be counting to 20 and my 4-year old still couldn't write his name in a straight line.
I could teach them myself, but why would you pay 10000 euros a year for each kid and have to play tuition teacher after school? If the level's too high and you have to help them to cope, fair enough. But if you have to educate them yourself out of fear that they'll have to repeat a school year when they go to another school, then it's ridiculous.
And to top it all, found out on Monday that if your child is in Grade 1 in the International School (ISM) now, in reality he's in the last year of Kindergarten in the Italian system (which is similar to the French). There I flipped. Because this means that Baby Girl would have done FOUR years of Kindergarten before reaching Primary One!!! To think that in Stuttgart, there was a possibility that she would skip a year...
The culprit is the 1st September cut-off date. And the ISM's refusal to take into consideration the kids' previous educational experiences. 2 of my kids were born after this date which in France is no big deal since the cut-off date is 31st December. They started school early as such. Used to be among the youngest in their respective classes but are now the oldest. There are normally 2 school years between Baby Boy and Baby Girl but now there is only one!
I have emailed the School Principal. An admirable professional, very respected and well-liked. Someone who makes things happen, but where our problem is concerned, the only thing she is capable of telling me thus far is that the school has the age policy, and that's it. We are not farmers from the region, we are educated people who have moved, have lived through different school systems, the least they can do is address our concerns and questions and provide us with a few "workable" answers and solutions. The school preaches their philosophy of the teacher no longer being the expert, that she has to work with the students to find answers etc, but the impression we get when we talk to the school the last few times is : "We are the professionals, we know what's best for the students."
If they cannot promote Baby Girl to the class above, at least reassure us by proposing a solution that will allow her not to have to repeat a year (through no fault of hers) the day when we have to move her to another school. For Eldest Son, he is starting to forget some of the things he has learnt in his last school in Germany, they could push him more and make sure he does not regress. Because in an International School, by definition, most of its students would have a past and a future that may differ from their present in the school. Many would only be in transition.
The children are happy in the school. And there are a few very good teachers in the school, namely the lady who is currently teaching Grade 1. All mothers I've talked to reassured me that with her, the children would be covering something similar to what they would have learnt in the Italian or French Grade 1. So all I need is for the school to assure me that she would be there to help my child and eventually push her to make her more than good enough for the next grade.
I am furious and am no longer in any mood to join in the school festivities. Call this pettiness, but when you are troubled and your heart heavy, would you want to celebrate? Together with people I could no longer mention (because my blog is being read by everyone in the school) we briefly evoked the possibility of removing the kids from the school and have them home-schooled. Only problem is that they need a social life that only a school environment can provide. Or we could send them to an Italian school which is not fair to them as we are not Italians and do not speak the language or need to once we leave Italy.