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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 22, 2008
Being Bilingual
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International Schools and Preschools in Warsaw
October 22, 2008   
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Expats living in Warsaw and its vicinity can send their children to several schools designed specially for them.

In communist times, when the authorities would shut the doors to the Western world for Poles, bilingual education was available mainly to children of diplomats and foreigners on contract in Poland. The inaccessibility of schools operated by embassies to children from average Polish families did not encourage assimilation with Polish culture and multicultural expat communities.

Foreign children, with Polish being their second language, remained in a closed linguistic and cultural enclave. But today bilingual educational institutions have become popular among Poles too. This means that children who are not native speakers of Polish no longer need to feel linguistically and culturally alienated.

The only German school in Warsaw, the Deutsch-Polnische Begegnungsschule Willy Brandt in Warschau, also includes a kindergarten, and a primary, junior high and high school. It is divided into two curricula sections, Polish- and German-language, which are merged as of grade 10 and finish with a German school-leaving exam. The school has over 220 students and 50 children in the kindergarten. The school is a place where different cultures meet and children are taught tolerance. For example, last September, the school organized a photo exhibition on the history of Germany and the sensitive subject of Polish-German relations. The event attracted great interest and provoked many discussions.

The students learn German, Polish, English and French. The school offers a wide range of afterclass activities, such as sports, visual arts, music, theater, chess, gymnastics, handicrafts and concerts.

The British School, located on Limanowskiego Street (primary, junior high and high school) and D±browskiego Street (kindergarten), has around 700 students from a large number of countries. The school runs a British curriculum and offers supplementary classes for Polish students. New students whose English language skills are insufficient can attend additional language classes, up to 10 hours a week. Upon completing high school, the students receive the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Most of the teachers are British. Afterclass activities include sports, music and arts, and students are helped with homework. The students come from various religious backgrounds, so the school offers religious education classes. "Catholic children get additional religion classes preparing them, for example, for First Communion," says Olga Rasiewicz, the school's admissions and marketing officer.

The Canadian School in Warsaw works in partnership with the Canadian Embassy. Its curriculum is based on the Polish curriculum and on the Alberta's Special Educational Program. According to the school's owner, Anna Ko¶cielak, the students develop their identity in an atmosphere of openness to other cultures and religions, and learn through their own experience. For example, they may cook ethnic cuisine dishes together with their parents. The students may also take part in a range of afterclass activities, from sports and music to theater.

Tasting different cuisines is also part of an integrative English language-based international curriculum at the Happy Montessori House kindergarten in Wilanów district. Its owner and director, Ula Gosik, has worked for 10 years at kindergartens in the United States and Britain. "Maria Montessori's concept of education is great, except for the fact that it restricts children's spontaneity," says Gosik. "Silence in a place where children are playing is unnatural. That is why we only use the best ideas from the Montessori program when working with the children."

The kindergarten offers soft furniture and pillows so that children can safely release their energy. There are also excursions, for example, to an orchard, a bakery or a firefighting station. Children can take part in arts, gymnastics, rhythmics, capoeira, music and science classes-the latter include simple experiments. Each Friday there is a Fun Day, and children wear costumes and have a carnival-like ball. The kindergarten focuses on cooperation with parents who help organize the International Day, Cooking Day, Family Picnics or book reading events.

In the European Bilingual Kindergarten (EPD) in the district of Ursynów, staff speaks English for most of the day.

The facility accepts children starting from 12 months old and combines the Polish teaching curriculum with original programs encouraging the development of children's individual talents. The kindergarten has a monitoring system that ensures children's safety and enables parents to see what their children are doing. The children learn through experience, meeting people from different professions, such as an actor, a police officer, a firefighter, a magician, a veterinarian or a photographer. The kindergarten works with a dietitian and accepts children with special dietary requirements.

The bilingual International School follows a Canadian curriculum. It applies the principle of immersion in a foreign language, which helps students from different countries quickly acquire the English language skills they need to study at the school. Afterclass activities include "mind gymnastics," French Club, tennis, swimming, dance, martial arts and Spanish cuisine. The school also includes a kindergarten that focuses on a bilingual approach, openness to other cultures and development of children's talents.

For toddlers, the Baby City Active Development Center offers bilingual education with a special focus on movement. "We also employ an original development stimulation program for children aged up to three, aimed at meeting their needs," says Baby City director Katarzyna Kosakowska. The staff includes teachers, psychologists, a musician, an actor and English language teachers. The center is run under the patronage of the Svetlana Masgutova International Institute for Movement Development and Reflex Integration that trains teachers who focus on children's motor development and prevention of such problems as dysgraphia, dyslexia and attention deficit. Kosakowska says the center can arrange for the institute's experts to examine children in this respect.

Reports on international schools will appear in future issues of The Warsaw Voice.

The British School Warsaw, Poland
Early Years Centre
84/90 Jarosława D±browskiego St., 02-571 Warsaw, Poland
T: (0048) 22 646 7777,
F: (0048) 22 646 4666

Primary, Secondary and IB Diploma Programme
15 Limanowskiego St., 02-943 Warsaw, Poland
T: (0048) 22 842 3281
F: (0048) 22 842 3265
A part of Nord Anglia Education LTD

Deutsch-Polnische Begegnungsschule "Willy-Brandt-Schule" in Warschau
Klassen 1-6
2 Wandy Rutkiewicz St., 02-956 Warsaw
tel. 022 642 35 78
fax: 022 642 27 05

Klassen 7-12
1A Kolegiacka St., 02-946 Warsaw
tel. 022 885 83 22
Fax 022 885 83 24

Principal: Heike Briesemeister
Languages: German, Polish, English, French
Tuition fee: 17,000 - 23,000 /year

EUkindergarten & International School
7 Klubowa St., 02-847 Warsaw
Tel./fax: (22) 894 42 00, mobile: 604 944 999

International School
2 Jagielska St., 02-886 Warsaw
Languages: English, Polish, French, Spanish
Tuition fee: from 1600 PLN/month

Canadian School of Warsaw Nr 84
7 Bełska St., 02-638 Warszaw
e-mail: secretary@canadian-school.pl

Tel. (22) 646 92 89
Fax (22) 646 92 88

Languages: English, Polish, French, Italian
Tuition fee: 20,000 PLN - 24,000 PLN /year

Happy Montessori House
14 Rumiana St., 02-956 Warsaw
Tel.: (22) 427.37.67
Mobile: 0.697.060.504

Principal: Urszula Gosik
Languages: English, Polish
Tuition fee: 1,100 - 2,080/month

Center for Children's
Active Development for children from 8 months to three-and-a-half
Baby City
Under the eagis of the S. Masgutova Institute
42A Zielona St., 02-913 Warsaw
tel.: +48 519 849 612
e-mail: info@babycity.com.pl
Languages: English, Polish
Tuition fee: A flexible system of daily, weekly and monthly tuition fees

European Bilingual Primary School (EPD)
1 Chłapowskiego St., 02-787 Warsaw
Tel.: (22) 644 15 14
e-mail: info@epd.waw.pl
Languages: English, Polish

Tuition fee: 1,400 - 1,500 PLN/month

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tel. +48-665-282-016
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