(Fwd) Re: Luke and Astrid

Irina Rempt ira at rempt.xs4all.nl
Wed Jul 12 11:39:11 EDT 2000

On Wed, 12 Jul 2000 Philip.Belben at pgen.com wrote:

(and various other people as well; I'm just tacking on randomly
because I kept some, saved others in a folder I can't find, and
deleted the rest)

> > Kinder, Prep, Year 1 (or Grade 1), Year 2 etc. The "B" or "C" qualifier
> > comes from the teacher's surname initial.

Dutch schools used to have "kleuterschool" (pre-school) for 2 years,
then started all over again with "1e klas" (1st grade) at about 6.
When the school system was changed (this happens every few years, but
it's usually only secondary education) they started counting from the
beginning: four-year-olds start in groep ("group", obviously) 1, then
go on to groep 2, and so on until groep 8. This school for 4- to
12-year-olds is called "basisschool" ("basic school"). 

The kindergarteners are usually in a separate building, but teachers
are supposed to be interchangeable, and indeed at our school someone
who taught 9- and 10-year-olds last year is getting the new
4-year-olds next year.

After groep 8 it's secondary school, which starts with "brugklas"
("bridge class"), but it's abbreviated 1, and if there's more than
one brugklas in a school a letter is added (1a, 1b..., nothing fancy;
I used to be in 1d out of a to g). After that I honestly wouldn't
know (it's been changed at least six times since I left school) but I
think they simply keep counting.

At my kids' primary school advancement is both in February and in
September, allowing pupils to stay in a class for as long as they
need (which can be less or more than a year) without being "put back"
and stigmatized, or having to skip classes and landing among people
you don't know and who are much older than you. It works, sort of,
because you're always in a class with people who are still there as
well as "new" people who come in from the class below. The
theoretical minimum time to go through primary school would be 4
years, half a year in each class, but at least in groep 1 there's an
unwritten rule that you have to stay a whole year. There's no maximum
time, but three terms in each class seems to be enough even for the

It does start to vary wildly quite soon: my daughter will be the very
youngest in groep 4 after the holidays (six and a half, in with the
7- and 8-year-olds; there's someone in the same section who is two
years and two days older) and the current groep 8, nominally the
eleven- and twelve-year-olds, contains children from just short of 10
to almost 14.

The half-classes are numbered 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b... until 6, when they
dispense with the letters and only advance in September (barring
exceptional cases, I think; I know someone who did 6 to 8 in two
years, and I know she didn't skip 7 because she was in there when I
first met her).

As of next year, only 1a to 2a are considered "kindergarten" and the
2b section is preparing for "real" schooling, and put in the main
building. I've got two of mine in there - it's going to be very
strange not to wait at the kindergarten door...


           Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastynay.
irina at valdyas.org (myself)     http://www.valdyas.org/irina/valdyas

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