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The school system in Vienna is very much different from ours or at least how I’ve known it. No honor rolls, no recognition or graduation days, no moving up days as per tradition dictates. The school does have the Tag der offenen Tür (Open House)  where incoming students can visit the school and see actual classes going on but not exactly classes that they will be in the next schoolyear.

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For today, I’m posting photos of my two older kids during their first schooldays. Kids are “elligible” to attend grade school at age 6. My daughter is holding her Schultüte (schoolcone) filled with school stuff and sweets.  She was 7-year-old here because she attended a one-year preschool class despite knowing how to learn and write at age 5. Prior this year and former years, there’s a deliberation for each kid set per appointment by school directors and they determine if the kid should be sent to preschool or to grade 1. Since she could read and write and draw well, she was set for grade 1…I however thought that it’s still early for her (she’s a July kid and school starts September) and somehow, though not related, I wanted her to grow a bit more…(she’s actually the smallest in class lol). This decision was not easily understood by some, thinking that my daughter had problems that’s why she attended preschool… 🙁

Summing up though it’s just the same, all kids in Austria are to attend compulsary  9 years schooling; 4 years in grade school then 4 years in middle school and another year  for Pflichtschule (technically means compulsory school). Not completing school is punishable by law. Here you will see which parents want to further their kids education as some would let theirs work blue collar jobs, one race (I won’t mention which) dominant here is known for this. Since dawty attended preschool, she doesn’t need to attend Pflichtschule after middle school.

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Bigger boy (6 in this photo) was also born in July but the new law states that only those who needs more time to learn  German and a bit of writing and reading should attend preschooling. This is in line with the government’s integration campaign, as it could happen that immigrants’ kids have difficulty since they only speak their mother language at home. The program is closedly linked also with the Kindergartens the kids attend prior to school. Unlike ours (or how I remember my kindergarten class), the kids there mostly play, do art crafts, go on fieldtrips to museums, theaters and zoo/parks and other establishments, no writing and reading yet (I taught my daughter how to and she in turn taught her brother). 😉 I was advised by the Kindergarten pedagogues that it will be boring for him to be in preschool as he can already read and write at age 5…so off he goes to grade 1, and my opinion wouldn’t have mattered anyway if I asked the director to include him in the preschool class.

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As for the little boy, he is past that phase where he would play with dolls and nothing but dolls. I wrote about this phase more than 2 years ago, now he has completely forgotten about them. Not that it’s a bad thing for boys to play with dolls but he has learned that there are other interesting stuff than them. Little Big Planet is a game for kids (and kids at heart) aged 6 and up, so the little boy is seldom allowed to play, on Friday and Saturday afternoons only. 😀 If you ask me, I prefer it when he was still small and playing with dolls…but we all move up in our own way so I just go with it and always keep the memories of how he once was…how my kids were.

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