Why are high schools better

After fourth grade : Elementary school or high school, which is better for my child?


Fatina Keilani would choose the Canisius College again.

Already in high school for the fifth time? We have that behind us and we are happy about it, but one thing has to be made clear: the playful part of school life is then over. The workload is enormous, and the grades are rushing into the basement for now. Our twins came from a Catholic elementary school with a pretty good reputation, but never really had to exert themselves there. They are bright, intelligent children. Now they are attending the city's Jesuit high school, the Canisius College in Tiergarten.

We parents were very interested in sending the children to this school. Our hope: that they will be stimulated to think for themselves, that they will enter new intellectual spaces, and that the goal is not only performance but also meaning. I was already convinced by the guideline that it is about “keeping the question of God awake”. Exactly! This is the opposite of prayer and follow-up prayer. Doubting again and again, always asking new questions, that spoke to me straight away. The children, on the other hand, were not so easily enthusiastic about changing schools. The son was interested, the daughter categorically refused. And now? Only one thing to high school, the other to leave at elementary school until the seventh? Especially since the daughter blocked the interview. This phase was not easy. The son was looking forward to the change of school. We had more problems with the daughter. “You're forcing me!” She complained, well, she's right, I really wanted to get her to school too. It was quite a struggle. Then the miracle happened: on the very first day she made the most adorable new friends. She gets up in the morning with joy, takes a shower, dresses with care - everything is new! - and is very happy at the school. And so do we parents.

Puberty in a pleated skirt

Barbara Nolte would like a less conservative school for her daughter.

The Goethe-Gymnasium was the first school to be dropped from our shortlist. A friend recommended it. “Everything is as it was in the past, as it is in our time,” he said. School like in the 60s (my friend is in his late 50s)? Is that supposed to be great?

The Gray Monastery was also thrown off the list after a friend told us enthusiastically about it: about “edifying” school services, children who almost without exception played classical instruments and learned old languages ​​“with joy”. As much as the Instagram-and-false-fingernail world is annoying, which is already being announced at elementary school - I would not expect my daughter to go through puberty in a pleated skirt, as described by my friends.

In our radius - Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf - there are quite a few elementary high schools. But in one the schedule is dominated by the natural sciences at the expense of art and sport, the next obliges ancient Greek. The smallest evil is Latin from grade five. Why not spanish? The language has a similar structure and makes the world bigger.

As an antidote to the assumed mediocrity of Berlin's schools and their sometimes harsh climate, most grammar schools in the West seem to rely on a conservatism that does not at all fit with what I once moved to the city for. One school remained on our list. I don't know yet whether I'll put my daughter in the time machine or leave it at elementary school if it doesn't work out there.


Andrea Dernbach found six years of primary school just right for her son.

Our son, an October child, was not yet six when he started school. We wanted to spare him another year in the hated kindergarten. Indeed, he was more comfortable in school. But as the youngest he was also one of the smallest and not one of the physically strongest. We worried about his confidence. The minimum seemed to us to keep him in the familiar class group for as long as possible; we liked the Berlin system of long learning together anyway. In the 7th grade he switched to a European school. There our young school enemy became a few years later, almost shortly before the end, someone who finally saw a point in the school as a socialization authority. Who began to enjoy learning and developed an ambition to get a good high school diploma. Whether it was the decision to move late or simply to go to the excellent secondary school with committed teachers from two countries: the six years of primary school didn't hurt him.


Swantje Goldbach, educational director of the tutoring institute Lernwerk, knows what is important.

In my counseling sessions, the question is often: early high school, yes or no? Parents who consider this have often attended an elementary high school themselves or want to flee from a bad elementary school situation. It was the same with Vincent. He came to an interview because he had failed in early high school. He was a tender, linguistic boy who started school very early. He was actually very interested in the subjects, but could never be enough in the class work. So it became more and more difficult for him to get himself up to study.

In order to pass early high school, it is not enough to be smart enough. You need the necessary maturity, enthusiasm for work, a lot of independence and you have to be able to withstand pressure situations. Vincent has since recovered. He got a good secondary school leaving certificate from a secondary school. This enabled him to choose between interesting schools and still get his Abitur. I have just spoken to him again: He now enjoys learning.

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