Thursday, January 17, 2008

What a shock!

When on my Usborne conference I shared a room with someone I'd never met before, K. Lovely lady and we chatted like 2 teenagers well into the wee hours.
Anyway, she has a son a few months older than M, and she just mentioned in passing that J was going to school in September.
And then it hit me. If we lived in the UK, so would M! I was speechless. I broke out in a cold sweat. Then I started saying 'But, but, but.....' a lot, and all the while my brain was saying, 'But surely not! He's too little! Isn't he?'

In Switzerland ecole maternelle starts at age 4, but this isn't compulsory, and the cut off date is July 30th. So as M's 4th birthday is in August this year, he would have to wait until next year to go unless he got a special dispensation.
Ecole primaire then starts at 6, again with a cut off of July 30th. Ecole primaire is compulsory.
So M doesn't actually have to go to school until August 2011, which is ages away. So no wonder I was a little shocked that children of his age are going to school in the UK.

OK, so I know that in the UK you don't actually have to go to school (unless of course you educate otherwise ;) ) until the term after you turn 5, but I reckon that a lot of parents aren't aware of this, or are happy to send them off at 4 anyway.

And of course, M has friends here that go to 'school' and certainly some of the International-type schools take children earlier than 6 as they follow a British or American system, but you don't have to.

We have chosen to home educate, and so issues like what school M would go to, what forms to fill out, who to butter up etc don't apply to us, but the conversation with K scared me as very shortly the routine of getting up early, doing the school run, packing school bags, remembering to pick him up at the end of the day (!) could have been my life.

Uuuuhhhhhh, makes me shudder.

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