Do you feel like as soon as the sun comes up on August 1st the only conversation you hear the rest of the month is about back to school? Between the stores, commercials and emails back to school is on everyone’s mind all throughout August and personally with my last baby starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, the magnitude of school starting never seemed so in my face as this year!

Eons ago, or so it seems, I attended school in Italy, I attended pre-school there, moved to the states for elementary school then transferred to Italy for 3 years of middle school and 2 years of Liceo which is their high school. I remember moving mid high school from Italy to the States and talk about culture shock. At Liceo, school was from about 830 am to 1pm which would get us home in time to lunch with the family, then of course a little snooze to recharge and off to sports, work and homework until the next day. To make up for the missed afternoon hours, we would attend school Saturdays leaving at noon on those days. Now when I officially moved to the U.S. and started mid-year at a local high school, I was way in over my head. I remember walking out of the counselor’s office with my schedule in my hand and when I first looked at it all I kept thinking was “wait, we leave at WHAT time? No nap?” But soon that became my new normal and as all transfer students must do, especially when you go to a new country, you adapt and overcome.

Here is a quick little synapsis of how the school system works in Italy, not much different than ours until you hit High School. Everyone starts with infant school which includes Kindergarten. These years are not obligatory similar to us here in the states with the exception that some states in the U.S. do have mandatory Kindergarten laws. Then from age 6 to about age 11 they, like us, have primary school (elementary school) continuing on age 11 to 13 you have, again like us, secondary school (middle school) and after middle school the real differences are present.

Italy’s upper secondary schools are divided to provide students with the most in-depth studies for their future learning. Once complete with middle school, students can choose between Liceo ( The academic route with core subjects being taught and most students move on from here to university) Istituto Tecnico (Technical teachings of administration, law, economy etc.) The Istituto professionale (gets students ready for the field at the end of their high school training). For more information on the different offerings for High School in Italy read more here. While the Italian regions will differ from when school starts and ends another difference is that most schools will start mid- September!

No matter where or when your kiddos choose to go to school a small back to school gift is always welcoming by the teachers and staff! My Italian professors always loved chocolates so here is a wonderful chocolate site, Baratti & Milano, to visit if you need something sweet for that first day back to school!

August 19, 2022

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