FRANKFURT SUPPORTING OFFERS FOR CHILDREN WITH NO GERMAN LANGUAGE KNOWLEDGE
Frankfurt has a big expat community - and they have children. The city of Frankfurt thus offers a broad selection of private international kindergartens and schools, regular kindergartens and schools with a bilingual or even immersive concept, and general support for children not speaking the German language when starting their way through the German education system. And while children are fast learners, especially when they experience that the learning has an immediate positive effect, teachers are concerned and helpful and consider the language hurdles when evaluating your child's learning ability.
Frankfurt offers bilingual kindergartens and schools over a wide area. It has several international schools where subjects are taught in either or several languages: English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Japanese concepts.
CRECHES & KINDERGARTENS (TAKING CHILDREN FROM 1 TO 6 YEARS OLD)
The creches, kindergartens and primary schools listed below offer either a bilingual or an immersive language concept. The difference is marginal and not always stringent. This means that there are two caretakers, one speaking English (or any other chosen language as per the institute's concept as a native speaker) and the other one speaking German. The foreign language is integrated into daily life while the language of communication, or immersion, is English. The children will have contact with the foreign language for at least half of the opening hours. The concept is targeted to German children, but if your child does already speak some basic German, these concepts may also be an alternative.
Some entities use the term toddler, primary or pre-school when meaning a creche in our meaning.
Scroll to see Wiesbaden and Darmstadt.
You need a place for your toddler?
We will help you find a free place in a creche, with a childminder or in a kindergarten in your neighborhood. Cost depends on your demand. Hence please contact us.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS (6-10 YEARS OLD)
All children who are, on the 1st of July, 6 years old will need to compulsorily attend school for the next school year onwards - usually starting in August.
School entrance examination
Should you already live in Frankfurt with a child younger than 6 years old, you will receive an invitation from the school authorities asking you to present your child for the so-called school entrance examination. This is an important part of the school enrollment procedure and combines aspects of supporting the child's individual school- and teaching-related health promotion with those of the pediatric disease detection. The examination is required by law in Hessen and every child is examined in a friendly non-pressuring atmosphere. The language spoken is German, thus we recommend to take soeone with you speaking German for better understanding.
The objective is to enable each child an optimal start into school life with positive experiences from the very beginning, whether in regular teaching, integration model, pre-class, school entrance level, integrated school start or primary special educational support.
The school entrance examination differs significantly in its contents and in the weighting of its objectives from the early detection tests U8 and U9 to be carried out by the established doctors - irrespective of some parallels and timely proximity.
What to expect:
- Vision: Visual acuity test using a Rodatest device in the distance and near (important because of the childlike overview). Assessment of spatial vision and color sensitivity (among boys, color weakness or color blindness are not uncommon), excessive squinting and farsightedness
- Hearing: test by means of headphone test device (screening audiometer)
- Speaking: and language cpabilities
- Perception: regarding optical and acoustic information
- Motion development: including coordination, fine-tuning and writing
- Growth and physical development: body constitution, height, weight, blood pressure
- Physical examination: early detection of diseases of the major organ systems: back, posture and movement apparatus, skin, mouth and nose, internal organs, nervous system
- Sighting of the vaccination book and reference to necessary protective vaccinations
Medical findings or suspicious moments will be communicated directly to the parents so that they can initiate the clarification and treatment immediately with the individual doctor of their choice. In addition, parents are advised about the child's individual health aspects as far as they are important for the school start.
In case of special problems, eg in the context of chronic illness or disability, we consult the child's individual pediatrician, a clinic, the children's day care center or the early intervention center and mutually agree on how to best proceed - all subject parental agreement. Where applicable such information will be forwarded to the receiving school - again only with consent of the parents.
Preparational course prior to Primary School
Primary schools offer preliminary courses as a help for all children who do not yet have sufficient knowledge of German when enrolling. Preparational courses are voluntary and intend to ensure that all children start into their first year with a sufficient knowledge of German. They take place at both, the primary school or the kindergarten and take a full year before enrollment - simulatanously with pre-school. Primary schools and day-care centers work together closely to best prepare your child.
Since it is voluntary it is the parents' call of duty to report their child for enrollment for this special program around March / April of the year before school enrollment. In the context of the school admission procedure, it is possible to determine at an early stage whether the children have sufficient German language skills or if they need help. During school registration, all parents receive detailed counseling to support their children appropriately.
Obligatory language courses
If during the above mentioned school entrance examination it becomes apparent that the language skills of your child do not suffice, than a preparation German language course becomes obligatory. This also means that it will not be admitted immediately to primary school,but usually a year later. They take place in the pre-schools of the respective neighborhood school or in special language courses of primary schools. The objective is - like with the above optional courses - to provide your child with sufficient language skills to master first grade without pain. Depending on your child's progress, it is possible to change into primary school throughout the year - however, that should not cause pressure to the child. Parents receive detailed counseling to support their children for a successful start in school.
Schools with a language concept
The primary schools listed below work by the immersive concept - one German native and one English (or other language) teacher jointly taking care of the children - or the bilingual concept, where a couple of subjects are taught in German and the rest in the respective language. The schools' offers do change over the years and whether or not they can offer a bilingual class also depends on the number of children applying for such. Thus, you need to confirm with the respective school if the concept is offered for the school year you aim your child to enroll.
You want help with primary school?
We will search for free spaces, explain the schools' concepts, arrange meetings with the admissions office and accompany you to help you make the decision.
Expat children come to Germany at all ages, and if they are to start in year 2 and following the above mentioned preparational courses are not available. For these older children, Frankfurt also offers language support.
The intensive classes are a compulsory offer for all newcomers of school-age, can be organized regional or supraregional, provide basic knowledge of the German language, and usually last one year during which they prepare the transition to regular classes.
The integration of the pupils is managed through their integration into the musical and aesthetic classes, as well as into the sports classes of their regular parallel classes. Integration is also supported by participation in the afternoon care programs open to all pupils. This regular contact facilitates an easy shift into the regular classes by the end of the year. However, depending on the individual progress, shifting into additional German subjects is also a possibility.
Where there are no intensive classes on offer, the school will offer compulsory intensive courses replacing specific regular classes (in order to not put to much burdon on the child's shoulders. These intensive courses also provide basic knowledge of the German language, and since less intense, it may last up to two years.
German language support courses
If your child already speaks German but not sufficiently, then the best way to support it, are the support courses. They intend to help improve the German language capabilities and are offered for as long as needed. In primary school, they comprise two additional lessons, in secondary school four additional lessons.
Secondary schools with a language concept
While the immersive language concept is predominant with primary school, for secondary school, it is the bilingual teaching concept or an "international concept". Again the languages offered vary from school to school.
- Bilingual School:
The bilingual concept comprises the higher the grade, the more subjects are taught in the foreign language. Starting in the 5th grade, several subjects are taught in English. The number of subjects taught in English continues to increase in the next grades. It is, just like the immersive concept, directed to German-speaking pupils.
When choosing such a school, you will have to consider your child's German skills and how old he or she is. The older the child is, the easier it will be, as more and more subjects are taught in English.
- International School:
The "international concept" uses one language only, mostly English.
Frankfurt distinguishes between "Realschule" and "Gymnasium". Please refer to the schooling page for the difference of both.
A couple of Gymnasiums offer the International Baccalaureate. Unless international, these schools usually require, that the pupils do both, the IB as well as the Abitur, and while the subjects necessary to complete the IB are taught in English, additional subjects that might be necessary for the Abitur may be taught in German only. The admission office of the schools gives comprehensive advice as to whether enrollment is recommended or not. Your child will be interviewed and evaluated so that all of you have a good under judgment when deciding for or against a German Gymnasium. The French Schools offer the French Baccalaurát as a degree, and the Italian Schools offer the Maturità.