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Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Old Mar 16th 2011, 8:45 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Originally Posted by TestaRossa View Post
we are in Florence. There are 100's of schools here to choose from, state and private plus a private French school, soon to be an international school teaching English, French, Italian and Spanish in Media. Plus there is an American International school.

At the moment we would prefer her to return to the UK for senior school, whether with me or to board we haven't decided or to go to an IB school here but that is because the IB and iGCSE's are internationally recognised qualifications although I know quite a few who have got into UK Uni's from Liceo here...It's not all bad, the problems are those you would just meet in a different form in the UK - having had my son in 3 different schools in the UK (moving house then junior and senior) I think I can reassure you on this...
There seems to be a recurring theme here.....send the children back to the UK to complete their education in some way or another. I don't really want to make the move to Italy with the view that in 10 years time we are coming back to the UK (boarding school just isn't an option for me)!

Are there many schools in Florence that use the IB? As a route into University anywhere in the world, this seems to be the way to go (apart from GCSE and A-level). Perhaps that is the solution...change the area, go to the outskirts of a major city where there is a wealth of schools to choose from, find one that offers us the pastoral care and learning environment that we want for them; when they reach 13 or 14 years look at the French school doing the IB (certainly cheaper than the American International School ) if it means we need to travel 40 mins to take the kids to school so that we can live semi rural, so be it, that is our compromise.... Inner city also means that all the extra-curricular activities that I want the children to partake in will be available.....

BUT with living in or around a city you get the inner city issues.....we live on the outskirts of London and that is part of what we are trying to get away from, are the inner city problems in Italy the same as here? I would imagine they aren't too much different although I would hope that there aren't several thousand youths drunk in the streets on a Friday or Saturday night! I do hope that is reserved solely for the UK towns and cities
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Old Mar 16th 2011, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

The thing is Florence is a one off....touching large pieces of wood and anything iron...in the 4 plus years I have lived here I have had no trouble with walking late night in the streets in the centre. In the suburbs it is a different thing but still not comparable to London, Rome, Milan etc. Florence is more comparable to Winchester (where my son goes to school) but twice the size. There aren't really any no go areas and the ones that you wouldn't want to stray into late night still aren't that bad...I've come back to the main station after 11 several times now with one of my kids and waited for a taxi. There is always someone else waiting, normally a reasonable number of taxis and it just doesn't have that scary feel that other central stations get - Bologna was scary in daylight!! It doesn't really have an inner city as we think of it. There are no council estates as we know them - private and public is all mixed in and many public condo's are now private. The biggest estate as we would understand was Isolotto and most of that is now in the private sector. I have quite a few friends who have bought out there.

It's also just a very different city because of the tourist and student population. A friend from Genova says she still can't get used to coming here and hearing English spoken by so many as she walks around and so many shopkeepers etc knowing a reasonable amount too.

As to changing schools when they reach 10 or 11 I think this is really down to our belief, rightly or wrongly, that the UK system is better. People here do get into UK universities from Liceo or into the US system of colleges etc so it can be done...what does seem to be universally agreed is that you should avoid the Uni's at all costs...there are some good ones but not compared to the good UK or US ones...
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Old Mar 19th 2011, 11:56 am
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Thanks so much for the info, it has been a really invaluable conversation and one that has given us much to think about. I feel now though that when we do finally make the decision, it will be a more informed one. Trying to get our heads around this one is a difficult task! The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to go around a city for both for business and personal reasons, when I visited Florence a few years back, I fell in love with the city and so hearing your evaluation of the city has made me more inclined to consider it as 'the' place....time will tell!!
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Old Mar 19th 2011, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Sorry, I forgot to say - at the moment I think there is only the French school and the American school that offer IB. I could be mistaken but I doubt it.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

For a family I would highly recommend against Lucca. I have lived here for 2 years and can't wait to get out of Tuscany. I would however recommend Torino, Bologna or even the outskirts of Rome. I could go on about why I dislike Lucca so much but if you are interested in knowing why, you could pm me, but I will say the work ethic and education system is not good here in Lucca.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 12:13 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Originally Posted by JohnItalia View Post
For a family I would highly recommend against Lucca. I have lived here for 2 years and can't wait to get out of Tuscany. I would however recommend Torino, Bologna or even the outskirts of Rome. I could go on about why I dislike Lucca so much but if you are interested in knowing why, you could pm me, but I will say the work ethic and education system is not good here in Lucca.
as someone who lives just outside Torino, I would be interested to hear your reasons John........
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Indiebird, where do I start, I could write a book.
First off, my daughter has been in 3 different schools in Tuscany, she is not a trouble maker and has had problems in all three schools. We are dual citizens, Italian/American. The first school, some boys not Italian started to pick on her for being American, when we confronted the director of the school they told us that it is difficult to do anything about it because they do not want to come off as being prejudice to these boys, a week later the boys cornered my daughter and pushed her into the fence and she defended herself the boys told the director that my daughter hit them, again we confronted the director and he told us boys will be boys. We took our daughter out of the school that day. Next school, the teacher said the school did not have the funds to teach a non Italian to speak and learn Italian properly, she stayed to the end of the year and the school recommended she go to an English speaking school that they did not want her to return even though she was almost completely fluent. This year, less problems, but still confronted by students as a non Italian, this time by Italian students nothing real serious but not used to this behavior as I come from a place of many cultures, also the teacher told my daughter and another student from Belgium that they really don't belong here in Italy and should go back to a country that speaks their native tongue. My cousin is a teacher in the South, and she told us this would never happen there because if a student wants to learn they teach and they don't tolerate bad behavior from students, I am told this is how it is in the North by some of my cousins who have gone to school in both Bologna and Torino, but Tuscany seems to be different.
The list goes on, at my job, the "professionals" I have done business with and so on, but I am sure you get the point. Don't get me wrong, I was raised Italian and love Italy, but I really dislike the Tuscan region, it is nothing like you see in the movies, that's for sure.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Originally Posted by JohnItalia View Post
Indiebird, where do I start, I could write a book.
First off, my daughter has been in 3 different schools in Tuscany, she is not a trouble maker and has had problems in all three schools. We are dual citizens, Italian/American. The first school, some boys not Italian started to pick on her for being American, when we confronted the director of the school they told us that it is difficult to do anything about it because they do not want to come off as being prejudice to these boys, a week later the boys cornered my daughter and pushed her into the fence and she defended herself the boys told the director that my daughter hit them, again we confronted the director and he told us boys will be boys. We took our daughter out of the school that day. Next school, the teacher said the school did not have the funds to teach a non Italian to speak and learn Italian properly, she stayed to the end of the year and the school recommended she go to an English speaking school that they did not want her to return even though she was almost completely fluent. This year, less problems, but still confronted by students as a non Italian, this time by Italian students nothing real serious but not used to this behavior as I come from a place of many cultures, also the teacher told my daughter and another student from Belgium that they really don't belong here in Italy and should go back to a country that speaks their native tongue. My cousin is a teacher in the South, and she told us this would never happen there because if a student wants to learn they teach and they don't tolerate bad behavior from students, I am told this is how it is in the North by some of my cousins who have gone to school in both Bologna and Torino, but Tuscany seems to be different.
The list goes on, at my job, the "professionals" I have done business with and so on, but I am sure you get the point. Don't get me wrong, I was raised Italian and love Italy, but I really dislike the Tuscan region, it is nothing like you see in the movies, that's for sure.
John -if you've got a spare few weeks go and have a look at the School's, teachers etc thread further down the page... you will find my own personal rant there. This is small town living here and we have it too where we live. My son is still referred to as 'Inglesino' by teachers even though he is fluent in Italian but it's been an uphill battle for him (and us) and he is now in his fourth year at school here. There are a few foreign kids but it's hard for all I think unless you win out in the 'teacher lottery'. We certainly have had our eyes opened since we moved here but I don't know if the grass is greener anywhere.......
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

It goes beyond the schools, I am a professional and treated all my clients in America with respect and honesty, I expected the same by professionals here, but I was way off on that.
I was so scammed when I arrived here and now I am in a lawsuit to get my lifesavings back. Italy really needs to crack down on real estate companies, attorneys and geometras and they way they practice business.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Originally Posted by JohnItalia View Post
It goes beyond the schools, I am a professional and treated all my clients in America with respect and honesty, I expected the same by professionals here, but I was way off on that.
I was so scammed when I arrived here and now I am in a lawsuit to get my lifesavings back. Italy really needs to crack down on real estate companies, attorneys and geometras and they way they practice business.
I've come to realise that most people never actually do anything for you here unless a) there is something in it for them b) they can be bothered.... they take your money first though. I went through a very closed period because I found that anybody who spoke to me wanted something from me..... most of it was to bleed me dry. It's just a different mentality. You look after you and yours first and everyone else is just an inconvenience. So hard to live in it though isn't it??!! If I got to choose I'm not even sure I'd choose anywhere in Italy to live.... but that is my personal opinion.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Indiebird, you are so right. Although, I never saw this coming, in my childhood I lived in an Italian community in the US and it was my lifelong dream to live in Italy. My Italian neighbors in America were helpful and kind, we were always there for each other. Now in Italy, I want to know where these Italians are or do they actually exist here, in the South? in the North? because they sure are not in Tuscany. I do have a few friends in my town that I am very close with, they are kind and honest, most of the other neighbors keep to themselves and the others I would'nt give the time of day to them. I don't like to be this way, but I have learned the hard way.
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Originally Posted by JohnItalia View Post
Now in Italy, I want to know where these Italians are or do they actually exist here, in the South? in the North? because they sure are not in Tuscany. I
I think their ancestors might have emigrated..... I too know some wonderful Italians in the UK too.....
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Old Mar 31st 2011, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Wow! Your experiences are so different to mine. I have lived in a small village in the mountains abouve Lucca for almost 10 years, and whilst I have come across a few horror stories of people being conned into spending their cash my experience is that, like with most countries 99% of the population are good, hard working and honest. Sadly it's the 1% that are on the lookout for likely targets to 'suck dry' that make a bad name for the rest.

I am now married to an Italian but I was welcomed into the village I first lived in here with open arms despite being a foreigner, and my experience of Italians in general has been warm and welcoming. Perhaps you should all come up here?!

I now have two small children (4 and nearly 6 yrs) and I admit that I worry about the education system here. But I am sure a good part of that is that I do not understand it. I have lots of friends in the UK who have plenty of problems with the schools there too. Of course we have to keep an eye on what is going on at school - and believe me I will be keeping a very close eye on what happens when my daughter starts Elementari next September but I don't think it's all bad here.

We are lucky, we have a very good teacher at our Scuola Materna who includes lots of different activities including theatre trips and field trips to local points of interest. They go out almost once a month including trips to mills and recylcing centres, theatres and national parks.

I'm not saying there are never times when I want a good rant about something here (I live next door to my mother in law after all!) but generally speaking I believe that I can offer my children a much better quality of life with a greater focus on what I believe to be important that I could ever have managed in the UK.
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Old Apr 1st 2011, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Ciao Charlotte,
I am glad to see some who have had better experiences than mine. You live next to your Mother in law I can top that mine lives with me .
Ok, better quality of life, Yes but that would depend on your point of view. I am a Italian citizen, though treated like a rich American, which I am not, life in the States crushed me with the recession.
Coming from America, Yes the quality of life is better here, we have better food, no OGM in the food and it's cheaper, in America 80-90% is Monsanto GMO crap which has shown to cause organ damage in some people, we also have great medical here, no pre-existing condition ryders and low to no cost medical treatments, in America I paid a little over $1000 per month for medical insurance and that still did not cover the whole bill if you went to a doctor or hospital.
If you are a person with ambition, forget it! It does not exist here, Italians get a job and usually stay with that job until they retire, me I take opportunities which I have not found to be common place here unless you are willing to cheap someone, that is were the quality of life suffers here.
My in laws have it great, they are retired and get to soak up life here, For me I am used to exceeding my goals by working smart, again that does not exist here.
My cousins who were born here tell me all of Italy is like this and it is very difficult on them being the new generation, one of my cousins lived and worked in England and loved it, he wants to go back to England in a year or two. I think that most Italians are just satisfied to get by and make a living and really never think about excelling in life, for someone who has had a taste of excelling this can be a difficult transition especially when you see opportunities but you can't take them for numerous reasons.
If it's only 1% of the people here trying to screw you over, then I have ran into the one percent concentrated in one area the friends I have made here are great, they are like family, most people I have met I no longer trust and the rest I know they have one thing on their mind, "How can I screw this person out of their money!"
Someday I may return here to live, but I will be armed with the knowledge needed to survive .
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Old Apr 1st 2011, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Info wanted on Tuscan move on children's playgroups and education!!

Ciao John,

Firstly, I do hope your mother-in-law is as nice as mine! Otherwise, good luck to you!!

It's such a shame you've had such a horrible experience. Where I live is very different, the majority of people I know are either self employed or are working their way up in small to medium sized businesses. I too am used to taking opportunities where I find them. I did my degree in business management and worked in hospital management in the UK and was really pleased and excited to be able to set up my own (very) small business here especially as I have been able to combine that with having a family, something I could never have achieved in the UK. I have always worked in relatively male dominated roles but I have found that the people I work with here are less condescending and bigoted even than those I worked with in the UK.

My husband is also self employed, running a small but successful building company, and bearing in mind he left school the day he turned 13 (he is dyslexic and was the eldest of 5 children so felt staying at school was a waste of his earning potential) is not a bad achievement and has to show that not all Italians lack ambition. Perhaps it is the more challenging terrain of the mountains that makes people more forward looking (contrary to popular belief among the valley dwellers!). Our village motto is Long live the strong! And honestly you need to be strong of both body and mind to get along here.

I hope that your move will take you somewhere where you can fulfil your dreams and ambitions - perhaps when you come back you can and visit our mountain and meet some really great Italians!
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