There are many reasons why you, as a parent, should become a member of the Förderkreis. But the main reason is to support your child’s acquisition of priceless language skills in years 1-6. And here’s why:
State-funded ‘Europa’ schools were established almost two decades ago. This development took place because parents took the initiative. The idea was, and still is, to provide children with a bilingual Primary School education (which can be continued in the subsequent Gymnasium), in the context of the ‘new’ Europe. The initiative was eventually implemented by the Berlin Senate as the ‘Schulversuch Europaschule’, which translates (rather uncomfortably) as ‘School Experiment Europa School’.
However, as in other aspects of education policy, the Berlin senate misjudged the schools’ actual needs. It is not enough to have a small amount of subjects taught in English to bring the children to a full understanding and the English language. The school is a fundamentally German environment – in the playground, the children inevitably use German between themselves. Even families with two English parents will be aware that in such an environment, the use of English requires additional support in order for the children to become fully conversant with and comfortable in both languages .
The Berlin School Senate does not, and to date never has, made any financial aid available to us. While similar private schools such as the Berlin British School conduct their daily school life completely in English, the Charles Dickens Europa School uniquely maintains a delicate balancing act between the two languages. This precarious balance would collapse without the Förderkreis, due to the scarcity of suitably-qualified English educators and teachers.
To maintain this balance between German and English, parents from the Charles Dickens Europa School created the ‘Charles-Dickens-Förderkreis zur Zweisprachigen Erziehung e.V.’ – in English, the Charles Dickens Förderkreis for Bilingual Education. The Förderkreis is devoted to ensuring that the children gain familiarity with the English language by constant reinforcement and practice. All parents (whether German, English, or any other nationality) are asked pay an amount per child into the Förderkreis.
Activities of the Förderkreis
The voluntary Förderkreis board (comprised of parents with a child or children attending the school) undertake the following agenda:
- the Förderkreis pays the English Native Speakers, and creates their yearly operational schedule each year, in close cooperation with the teachers;
- the Förderkreis finances school projects from Native Speakers for our children;
- the Förderkreis employs Native Speakers to supervise play activities and also, increasingly, as ‘Teacher’s Help’ during lessons. Support from the Förderkreis helps to reduce lessons cancelled due to teacher illness or other unavailability;
- the Förderkreis is responsible for paying Native Speakers to accompany the children on class trips when there are insufficient teachers available;
- the Förderkreis is responsible for attracting suitable Native Speakers via national and international advertising. The Förderkreis also identifies suitably qualified Assistant Teachers with the prospect of a job at our unique school;
- the Förderkreis finances our English library, proving first-class English-language teaching material, books, videos and DVDs for the childnre to borrow, and also pays the two librarians;
- the Förderkreis finances and supports English language projects including sport (football, tennis and judo), movement and composition, waveboarding, pottery, computing, theatre, help with homework, music and more.
Parental engagement and solidarity
The effectiveness of the two bilingual German-English Europa Schools in Berlin is dependent upon the support of the Förderkreis; the ‘Quentin-Blake School’, Berlin’s second Europa School, is also supported by a similarly-structured parents’ Förderkreis.
The Förderkreis complements those services financed by the Berlin Senate. The benefits which the Förderverein offers are provided not by the state but by those parents who demonstrate their civil engagement. These parents want provide the best possible bilingual primary education for their children, to support this democratic alternative to expensive private schools and to make up for the shortfall in available funding.
See our latest membership fees page.
We cordially invite you to become a member of the Förderkreis for the sake of your children’s education and future.