Middle school: Grades 4-6
Middle school consists of the 4th, the 5th and the 6th grade. Starting with 4th grade, a lot will change for your child. There will be a new teacher for the following 3 years and sometimes even new classmates. You will receive a letter from the new teacher in beginning/middle of June. The teacher will introduce her/himself and send you the current timetable and the list of classmates as well as other information you will need to guarantee a smooth start.
The subjects in 4th grade are German, mathematics, NMG (nature, human and society), RKE (religion, culture and ethics), BG (artistic design), TTG (textile and technical design), MU (music), BS (movement and sport).
In addition, there is MI (media and computer science) starting in 4th grade and French starting in 5th grade.
In all subjects listed above your child will now get a deeper and more wider education. In maths, the number scale will expand, in german there will be more harder texts to read in a faster manner and overall there will be more to learn in a shorter amount of time. It is key to teach your child to learn efficiently and strategic.
Now, things start to get serious for your child. The learning material is increasing and the focus is not only on the content-related aspects but also on social learning and the promotion of independence. From 4th to 6th grade your child will be prepared to transition either into gymnasium or secondary school. You can help your child by listening, showing interest, asking how school is going. If you encounter any problems, whether in school or socially, please contact the teacher. They are happy to help and can offer a deeper insight.
The following tips and tricks come from our middle school teachers:
- Give your child a workplace where they can do their homework in peace (and, as independently as possible).
- Check if the homework has been done, if they have packed everything they need.
- Make sure that your child can get to school on time and without rushing and that they get enough sleep.
- Support your child by setting up a learning schedule.
- Support your child in learning vocabulary in foreign languages.
- Set rules for media consumption. You can find more under this link https://www.projuventute.ch/de/da-fuer-familien/internet/fernseherzeit
- Encourage your child to read. If they read good and fast and can comprehend text content they will need less amount of time to learn.
- Use portals like Anton, Code.org, Antolin, Scratch, LMVZ, Quizlet and Schabi.
- For kids who are good at maths there is https://www.kaenguru-schweiz.ch/.
- Gymnasium preparatory courses as well as music lessons (MKZ) or polysport courses can bring a sought-after change.
- Make realistic transition expectations of your child. Try not to push them too hard into an education not suitable for them.
The transition from middle school to gymnasium or secondary school usually begins in the 4th/5th grade. The teacher will let you know what path he would suggest for your child based on its grades, social skills and personal development and will let you know during parent/teacher conferences. It is important to set realistic requirements, particularly because Switzerland has a very diverse educational system with a lot of different possabilities.
The Riedenhalden school provides a Sek A and a Sek B. The classification is based on an overall assessment of the grades and the personality of your child. This includes your child’s school performance, their working and learning behavior, their social behavior and their level of development. Allocation to a department is based on an overall assessment of your child by the class teacher. The teachers decide together with you as the parent which department your child will be assigned to. In Department A, more demanding skills are expected of your child, and in Department B, basic skills are encouraged and demanded. You can shift from Sek A to Sek B and vice versa. After Secondary School most of the children go into an apprenticeship. The application process therefore happens during school and is highly empowered by the teachers. If the terms are given your child also has the ability to apply for a vocational baccalaureate or a college or even go to gymnasium.
Transfer to a gymnasium is recommended if your child has achieved an average of 5.25 in german and math and is willing to learn an extraordinary amount and enjoys doing so.
Various preparatory courses take place every year from September to the gymi exam in March. These preparatory courses are subject to a fee and are offered by private service providers. The gymnasium preparation takes place in addition to school hours and learning material offered from school. When attending such a course, there is additional homework.
But grades alone do not set the tone. You should also ask yourself whether your child is mature enough to take this step.
Your child should be able to meet the following requirements:
- I like going to school.
- I am resilient and want to benefit as much as possible from the lessons.
- I learn easily and with fun.
- I am among the best in my class and achieve above-average performance.
- I like to take part in the lessons.
- I have many skills and I want to develop them further.
- I can quickly recognize and explain connections.
- I can work independently and critically question the results.
- I like reading and writing very much.
- I can imagine studying at UNI or ETH.
If your child can confidently answer yes to many of the requirements here, then it would be suitable for your child to attend a gymnasium. If in doubt, you should consider switching to secondary school first, allowing your child to development and trying again in secondary school. Today’s education system is very open and permeable and offers many paths. Even during an apprenticeship or in adult education, this path is still remains open.