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Kintergarden is not mandatory, however many people recommend sending your children there because they’ll learn (in the majority of cases) how to write, a bit of logic and they’ll make friends for life.
After kindergarten there’s elementary school and that’s mandatory. It lasts five years and the scholastic programs are the same everywhere in Italy. You’ll study Italian, Maths, History, Geography, Sciences and English. Elementary school is usually branded as the best and most effective “part” of our educational system.
After elementary school there’s middle school which lasts three years.
Middle school is a sort of pre-high school where you’ll end up studying a lot of Italian literature, History, Math and English. To be honest, middle school is the weak spot of our educational system because many differences start to arise between schools and pupils form privileged and non-privileged backgrounds.
Then, there’s high school which lasts five years. There are three different kinds of high school. There’s the Liceo which prepares you for university and is divided into classico (a sort of grammar school whose main focuses are Literature, Ancient Greek, Latin and Philosophy), scientifico (focused on Maths, Sciences and Physics) and linguistico (where you’ll learn at least three languages). Then there’s istituto tecnico whose main focus is the scientific department of common knowledge; after graduating you can decide whether to go to university or start working. Finally there’s istituto professionale which teaches you a job. After high school (like everywhere else in the world) there’s university which is pretty good in Italy!
I have attended a liceo classico and I graduated with a small thesis on Virginia Woolf and the suffragettes’ movement. At the moment I am studying Italian Literature and Communication.