Italian Preschool: Asilo in Vicenza, Italy

In the United States, we have preschool for our 3 to 5-year-old children. In Italy, preschool is called asilo. Some Americans  here in Italy choose to send their young children to these asilo.

An asilo may also be called scuola materna. Don’t mistake these schools as child care centers, an asilo is a school. The school year runs September through June. July and August are vacation months.

The asilo may be a public school or a operated by the local Catholic parish. If the school is public, there is usually no charge to attend. A private asilo will likely charge a monthly fee to attend.

Some benefits to attending a local asilo over the preschool programs on post:

  • Language learning. Unless you are already a bi-lingual family, there is probably not a more effective way to introduce your child to a second language. Kids younger than five soak up language like sponges, take advantage of that fact.
  • Price. Depending on your sponsors rank, the preschool on post is possibly costly. Another mother shared that she only paid $40 per month for her child to attend a half-day asilo program.
  • Location. Military families live all over the Vicenza area and in many of the surrounding villages. Getting to post through traffic and then finding a place to park is challenging some days. If you can walk a few blocks with your child to school, it makes the trip easier!

Some challenges to attending a local asilo:

  • As valuable as language learning is to your child, it is hard communicating with staff that do not speak English. Sometimes a few of the staff do speak English, but don’t count on it. Start practicing your Italian basics, so you can get the general idea of what teachers tell you. One suggestion for parents who choose the asilo: write notes and use Google translate. Yes, I know the grammar is not correct and that it may sound funny to the staff. In general, staff will figure out what you mean.
  • Lack of a parent peer group. You will often be the only American family in the asilo. Because of the language and cultural differences, it is easy to feel left out. It is hard to volunteer in the classroom and chat with the other parents when you don’t speak the same language. Another reason to learn Italian…

Here is a google map of asila schools around Vicenza:

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