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Late Registration for Maternelle and Creche

Question

My husband and I just found out this week that we will be moving from NYC to Brussels in early fall. We have two children, a daughter who just turned three in July and an 11 month old son. I'm starting to get worried as everything I read on the internet makes it sound like the registration process begins very early for daycare and pre-school.

What would you recommend for a family in our situation? We would like to use the public school system in our to best immerse our kids in the local language (French) and culture, but will likely not move to Belgium until early October. We are targeting Woluwe Saint Pierre or Woluwe Saint Lambert as my job will be in Zaventem. Neither one of us speak French, so we are having a hard time navigating the school websites. Have we missed the window of opportunity to register? Is a trip in August to Belgium merited simply to reserve a spot in a school or is that too late? Help!

Regards,
Ashley

I

Schools are closed under the last week of August when they open for new registrations. When they do open, many schools are very bad at answering emails, phoning and phoning even several times is the best method of communication.
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I can think of 3 schools immediately in WSP which are likely to have school places at such short notice, of course they are schools which are less popular, but none of them are really bad, I'd certainly put our children in them if I were in the same position. If you look at Kraainem 1950 nd Wezembeek-Oppem 1970 too, you'll certainly get places in one of the 4 French schools there as you must live there to go to those French schools, so they naturally have less children wanting to go to them, since many children in these communes actually go to school in WSP, the reverse is not possible.
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Your 3 year old daughter will be in 1ere maternelle or M1 class, perfect time to start French. You state year of birth as 2009 when asking for school places.
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Forget all ideas of what you think a school should be like for 3 year olds and you will find it far easier to accept the system which operates in Belgium!!!!!
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Do you really really need daycare for the 11 month old, or is it just to give you a break? There are 3 drop-in/occasional creches in WSP, don't know anywhere else in Brussels which is so spoiled in this respect, it will cost you roughly €10 per half day or €20 per day for part time / occasional daycare there, one of these creches in particular probably has majority expat children at it, it's in Ste Alix area of WSP and very near to Stockel.
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If it is full time daycare for the 11 month old, well plenty of places at Kidfarwest, will cost you up to €800 per month, 2 creches in the Stockel area which take 11 month olds. I also know 2 non expat-oriented and marketed creches opening in the WSP/Wezembeek/Kraainem area right now, they will probably also have places too, I saw one advertising at around €600 per month, so you might just be in luck there too, as you are right, usually there is virtually no chance of a full time place in a local creche, other than Kidfarwest.
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If you come back with your email here - make one up and put XXXXX around it, I will dig out the names of those new creches, as I sent it to a friend the other week.
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Finally for schools, the ones in Brussels region are here..... 10 in WSP and 17 in WSL and I know children in the majority of these schools, some of the WSP ones have 40% non Belgian and 30 nationalities in them, great for your social life!!!!
https://batchgeo.com/map/1f1bf2b3b6e4ad41fe67c1a57d56a826
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And those 4 French schools in Kraainem and Wezembeek-Oppem which are just outside Brussels region and in officially Dutch speaking are marked on this map. I know children at 3 out of 4 of these schools.
http://batchgeo.com/map/cede6049273e541514fd4c1c5dc4af9b

Jul 21, 2012 09:34