Our students and their learning needs are at the heart of our efforts. This is put into practice by taking into account the following eight aspects:
English and German play equal roles in school communication – in the classroom and in all parts of day-to-day school life. As a result, children learn to express themselves naturally and confidently in both languages.
We use the immersion method of language learning, which invites children to dive headfirst into the foreign language. Students use the second language to engage with the world in a playful and completely natural way. They are immersed in an environment where only the foreign language is used. As a result, they learn unconsciously, lose their initial inhibitions – and the foreign language becomes second nature. Children begin by developing a passive understanding of the language, achieved through the use of pictures, gestures and symbols, for example. Then, they gradually begin to actively use the second language. In other words, the foreign language is acquired in a similar way to the mother tongue – with the child’s linguistic development and knowledge of the world progressing hand in hand.
Scientific studies and our experience at SIS have shown:
- Instruction using the immersion method over a number of years results in near-native fluency in the second language.
- The best results are achieved through extensive early immersion prior to the start of formal schooling.
- Development of the mother tongue is not adversely affected.
- The immersion method not only promotes children’s language acquisition, but also their cognitive development – for example, linguistic awareness, creativity and their ability to think outside the box.
At SIS Swiss International School, children can learn both English and German through immersion – even if they are not native speakers of either language.
SIS faculty members are all native speakers of their language. They not only use their mother tongue for teaching in the classroom, but also on the school yard, at lunch, and during events and excursions.
The immersion method and instruction by native speakers exposes students to the rational, emotional, and cultural dimensions of the second language. This is the foundation for developing complete fluency.
Independent and Value-Centred Approach
The teaching philosophy at SIS Swiss International School is non-ideological, but founded on clearly defined core values. We strive to embody the values we seek to impart on our students: honesty, appreciation, personal responsibility and commitment. These qualities are at the heart of our interactions with the children and young adults entrusted to our care.
Our aim is to support students in establishing their own cultural, linguistic and social identity so that they may:
- develop into committed individuals with a strong sense of personal responsibility for their actions
- relate to other people, languages and cultures with openness, willingness and respect
- think and act as global citizens and members of their local community
To meet the needs of modern families and working parents, our day school offers a structured and challenging programme, including:
- classroom instruction with fixed hours
- supervised homework hour
- additional supervised periods and courses in the mornings, afternoons and during school holidays
For our students, school is a place to learn and thrive – an environment that is stable and nurturing, while presenting them with appropriate challenges. By eating, playing and learning together, they learn to share with others, develop assertiveness, and take pride in their achievements.
Both German and English are used during extra-curricular activities, too, providing a further opportunity for students to develop their language skills in a natural way.
Performance through Diversity
The varied, stimulating environment of SIS Swiss International School supports students in achieving excellent academic performance, while allowing them to take enjoyment and pride in what they learn.
Our teachers hail from diverse backgrounds and deploy a range of teaching and learning methods, showing children a variety of ways to approach and solve problems. Moreover, by deploying these different methods, they can also target multiple learning styles. The use of state-of-the-art technology where appropriate supports and enhances classroom processes.
Each school’s curriculum is based on the regulations of the local canton and supplemented by international elements. In addition, we use our own SIS curricula and materials in key subject areas in order to effectively impart relevant information while fostering bilingualism.
In today’s world, independent, life-long learning is a must. To equip students with the skills they will need, teachers at SIS focus squarely on stimulating the children’s natural thirst for knowledge, encouraging them to ask questions and explore. They have faith in their students’ abilities, and present them with appropriate challenges. Step by step, our teachers help their pupils to learn how to acquire knowledge autonomously and put their skills into practice.
It is our goal to foster learning as an integral part of life, and to give young people the opportunity to become independent, reflective learners. Students at SIS are encouraged to achieve their full potential and exceed their own expectations. Moreover, we maintain close contact with parents, and regularly discuss their children’s progress and learning style.
International Education – Local Insight
The SIS Swiss International School community of students, parents and teachers is made up of a variety of nationalities and backgrounds. We are pleased to welcome local children as well as the children of internationally mobile families. We offer students a diverse and engaging school environment that simultaneously fosters an awareness of the wider world and a relationship to their immediate environment. Our intention is that SIS students graduate as global citizens with a strong sense of their origins.
Continuity from Kindergarten to College
SIS Swiss International School offers a single unified learning concept – from kindergarten to primary school, to secondary and college level. Because we cater to all education levels (sometimes even under the same roof), we can facilitate a seamless transition from one stage to the next.
Throughout the academic year, a range of events and activities bring together children from various classes and levels, creating a genuine sense of community, where students of all ages have the opportunity to learn from one another.
National and International Recognition
SIS Swiss International Schools are recognised by the educational authorities of the canton in which they are based, and are a firm fixture on the Swiss schools landscape.
Beginning in primary school, our students take part in national and international comparative testing, and regularly achieve impressive results.
For students at college level, we offer targeted preparation for the Swiss bilingual Matura. At the same time, they have the opportunity to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, a globally recognised university entrance qualification. After taking on this academically challenging combination of Matura and IB, there is no limit to where their educational journey can take them next – whether in Switzerland or further afield.
Our schools are part of the SIS Group, which has been a pioneer in the bilingual education arena since 1999. At present, more than 3.500 students attend SIS schools at one of our 16 locations in Switzerland, Germany and Brazil.
The SIS Swiss International School network ensures consistently high quality standards, as structures and processes at our facilities are evaluated, developed and enhanced on an ongoing basis. Plus, our international organisation provides teachers and students with a platform to exchange experience and insights across borders.
Moreover, SIS colleges are accredited IB World Schools – making them members of a world-renowned international educational organisation.
SIS is a joint venture of Kalaidos Swiss Education Group and Klett Group Germany.