La Rentrée is here!  The summer holidays are drawing to a close and the first day of school is fast approaching.

Back to SchoolChoosing a School:  Here in Geneva, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to schools for children of all ages.  Switzerland’s public schools enjoy a well-deserved reputation for high quality and private school options abound.  If you are sending your child to a Swiss school, the book Going Local: Your Guide to Swiss Schooling by Margaret Oertig aims to demystify and reassure parents who are unfamiliar with the Swiss school system.

Various circumstances are considered before parents make their choice: how long their family will reside in Geneva, which curriculum makes the most sense for their child (UK, French, Swiss, IB), whether their child needs educational support, do they prefer a school associated with a particular faith, language or educational approach (Montessori, Waldorf), finances, the list goes on…

Prep time! Once a school is selected, it’s time to prepare!  I have two little ones (4 and 8) who will be starting new schools this fall.  We’ve visited each school, met with the staff, and enjoyed repeat readings of school-themed books aimed at young children.  Two that have gone over particularly well are Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten by Hyewon Yum.

Slightly older children may enjoy the Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole.  Also purchased was a shelf’s worth of Summer Bridge workbooks, although I can’t say that my children were very interested in keeping up their academic skills throughout July and August!

School Supplies:  Checking off a lengthy list of school supplies?  Wondering how best to find the latest gear to fill that cool new backpack?  If you have access to a car, venture across the French border to Cultura, a treasure trove of school/art/books/music supplies.  Otherwise, Manor, Coop City and Migros (MParc) will cover the bases.  Don’t hesitate to ask sales associates for help, especially when faced with unfamiliar terms like “basanes” or “classeur.”

Growing kids needing new duds?  Many parents manage the need for new kids’ clothes by max’ing out their baggage allowance on return flights to Geneva from summer travels.  This allows for a bit of differentiation and personal expression for your child.  If you do find yourself in Geneva or Europe for the summer, be sure to take advantage of the July sales season, and the same goes for January.   As always, online shopping is your friend if you know your child’s size in a favorite brand.

Good luck to you and your children as this new academic year begins!

Back to school in Geneva

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