Hello again! I am, as usual, responding late to this thread! (But then i am late for everything!). All your advice has been absorbed (with a good bottle of wine to assist digestion!), and i agree about the children going to a greek school, i was just concerned with the availability, and their ages, 10 and 12 yrs. Is there anywhere i can find out where the schools are located?.
The whole point in coming to Greece is to live like the Greeks! (and the sea!).
Message posted by Terry and Julia on 19 April 2005 at 10:11am - IP Logged
That is a harder question as not every school will be willing to accept children who do not speak the language. Legally they are not allowed to turn any away on grounds of race etc but I have heard of it happening although it is more a case of children being advised to go elsewhere, where their needs will be better met. You really need to come over and talk to the schools in the area and see what their policy is. You may find that it will be necessary to go to school in Acharavi where there are a fair famount of foreign children in the area. On the other hand, some municipalities may not accept residents of another in their schools although there may be ways around this. I really don't know so can only give you possible scenarios.
I should also warn you to be prepared to have your children put in classes lower down the school than they would normally expect to be. This in some ways is not ideal, particularly if your children are a lot older than their classmates. The lessons will also be boring as they will have covered the ground already. However, if they need to learn the language you don't want them struggling to grasp new concepts, mathematic principles etc at the same time. Our neighbour spent the first years of her life in germany. When they returned to Corfu her much older sister was 14. She was put in a class 2 years below her age and stayed there for the rest of her school life despite being from a Greek family.
These are the sort of things that you may have to take on board. I do strongly recommend that if you do go ahead with the move that you arrange for Greek lessons once or twice a week.
I do hope this helps. You can probably find more information at the education department in Corfu Town. I did have a contact number for the primary division but I can no longer find it. I believe the person who gave it to me may have posted it up on this site so a search through the Greek life Forum may reveal it.
Once again, good luck and hopefully someone else will be able to offer you some further information.
I've been reading these threads about schools with interest since we went through much of the same decision-making process before going to Cyprus. We put our children in an English school there, because we felt they were past the age to fairly easily integrate into a Greek-speaking classroom. Of course the fact that it was not a permanent move was a major consideration.
How unfortunate that the English school Julia spoke of ran afoul of Greek law. The Cypriots seem to be more accepting of foreign-language schools, they just require that Greek be taught as a subject and that any students of Cypriot origin take it. Going to that school with classmates of many nationalities was an outstanding experience for our children. And the Greek teacher offered lessons to parents as well, so I finally made some progress in the language.
I've heard that in Greece there do exist schools with special classes for the children of immigrants who have returned to Greece, where they bring them up to speed in Greek before they go into the regular classrooms. Given the experience of Julia's neighbour's sister, I'm assuming these classes don't exist in Corfu, but it might be worth looking into.
Message posted by Terry and Julia on 19 April 2005 at 8:55pm - IP Logged
You are right in that some schools are definitely more accommodating to foreign children than others and you are more likely to find these where there are large numbers of foreign children. This is why I mentioned Acharavi. There are also schools in Garitsa, another in Corfu Town, and one in Gastouri which are said to be particularly good for foreign children but these are quite a hike from Kassiopi. Another member of the site had her children temporarily in the school in Kato Korakiana which I believe was recommended by the education department but again, that is quite a way to travel each day especially if the parents have to work. The schools I have mentioned are only primary schools and I imagine Debi's eldest child may be too old to attend one, indeed they both may be by the time they get here.
As I said earlier, it is really not the sort of thing you can gauge long distance. You need to come over and talk to the head teachers and other foreign residents who send children to local schools.
Message posted by Mavis Jones on 05 May 2005 at 11:09am - IP Logged
I am able to put you in touch with a UK qualified teacher in Corfu if anyone is interested.
Message posted by jedi (Avatar Admin) on 05 May 2005 at 12:16pm - IP Logged
I've read this thread with considerable interest and although my children are well beyond school age and this problem would not affect us if we move to Corfu, I feel you as Parents should give your children every advantage you possibly can.
It is, I suppose, human nature to simply accept what you know best and all to easy to say we want English schools, an English curriculum, English speaking teachers and all things English - because we're comfortable with them, we know what they're all about.
However, and for whatever reasons, you as parents have decided to uproot your children and place them in an environment in which they are not comfortable, a strange new world with a different language and customs. Surely you can accept that you have the responsibility to ensure they integrate into that new world as quickly and whole-heartedly as possible. Think not of now but of the future. What will they do when they leave school if they are unable to read/write or even speak Greek? Are you going to support them for the rest of their lives or pack them off back to the UK.
Another consideration has to be racial unrest. (Probably never entered your minds) but think about the UK where millions of immigrants have come over and settled to seek a better life. Human nature takes over and they (or most) tend to live in the same area, speak their own language, follow their own customs, dress in their usual way and very often set up their own educational and social facilities - exactly the same as you intend in Corfu. But it breeds discontent particularly with the under-priveleged who see the immigrants as the source of their own problems. Employment in Corfu is not easily found and will the Corfiots thank you for introducing even more contenders for what they see as 'their jobs' - I think not.
You're the ones currently making decisions for your children as they probably don't have the choice at the moment. In years to come will they thank you for introducing them to this new world or resent you for 'chasing a dream' and robbing them of whatever chances they may or may not have had by staying in the UK?.
You have to give them the edge and integrate fully into your new life - for their sakes.
IMHO of course.
Message posted by Bob and Wendy (Uncle Bob) on 05 May 2005 at 2:09pm - IP Logged
Bob and Wendy
What a well reasoned argument, I tend to agree with most of your comments
I will be very interested in the responces of other readers.
I quite agree with a lot of what you've said. But at the same time I don't think it's fair to put my boys straight into school or kindergaten without them being able to speak enough of the language to feel comfortable.
There is also the possibility that we might decide not to live in Corfu after all and want to come back to England.
That's why we want to rent for 12 months to get all the seasons in, look at different traditional Greek villages for a house to rent or buy.
If we came back to England (which I hope we don't), the boys would be a year behind with there work and have to play catch up....
If we teach them at home ourselves they will be up to date with England, PLUS they will have a Greek lesson everyday....in the hope that we do stay and could go into mainstream Greek school and feel more comfortable and confident.
They will be encouraged to mix with Greek children, as we too want to mix with locals wherever we live...
Please remember each child is different, some more confident than others, and for my boys (8 and 5), we feel that doing it this way is best for them, they are still very young. I know they might adapt better and quicker than we will...
An English couple I met in Corfu a couple of years ago, decided to move to the island last summer. They have two fairly young sons. In this instance the boys undertook a crash course in Greek over the summer so that, by the start of the new school year, they were virtually fluent.
If language is your only problem, this would seem to be the way to go.
From what I hear from other Greek/English friends, the Greek educational system is much more demanding than that in the UK.
Heather, I think teaching your boys at home for a year and having them take a Greek lesson every day, or Martyn's suggestion of moving to Corfu at the beginning of the summer and starting intensive Greek lessons then, are both better ideas than just plunging them into the Greek system with no preparation. (But then I'm the sort of Mom who'd never pitch a child off a dock to teach them to swim, as I saw an Irish Dad do to his terrified little guy last summer at Mesoghi.)
The question of returning to Greece is often discussed by Greek immigrants to Canada and first-generation offspring, and schooling is a crucial factor. The consensus seems to be, you either make the move before the children are 9 or so, or wait until they finish high school. And these are people whose children speak the language, though they may not read or write it well.
People like Julia who actually have children going to Greek schools would know better than me, but from what I've heard, the Greek system is more demanding than Canada's at least in that much more memorization is required. There's not much "hands on" learning or allowance for varied learning styles, much less help for those with learning disabilities.
It strikes me that this issue is somewhat like the way many English Canadians debate putting their children into French immersion. Experience has shown it's enriching for some and just doesn't work at all for others. And sometimes, you can't know if it's right for them unless you try it.
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