International School Parent Magazine - Spring 2022

internationalschoolparent

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Welcome to the Spring

edition of International

School Parent magazine

As we roll into Spring, I am feeling joyous having spent many

hours on the slopes watching my children improve their skiing

– now we are turning our attention towards more, but warmer

outdoor activities. Spring terms, Spring weather and then

further summer holidays and warm summer socialising.

Contents

06 Meet The Principal – Andrew Wulfers, Sis Swiss

International School Basel

10 London – The Best City In The World To Be A

University Student?

13 Supporting Students With Learning Differences: The

Secondary Years & Beyond

16 The New World Of Work: Rising Importance Of Data

18 Collège Du Léman

20 Meet The Headteacher – George Walsh, Institut

International De Lancy, Geneva

24 Why Parents Are Top Influencers In Education

28 Sightseeing Switzerland – At The Swiss Open-Air

Museum

30 Family & Cities

34 Ecole.sounds: Innovative Learning Via Music

38 A Need For Change: Addressing Adolescent Mental

Health In Switzerland.

40 Book Club – A Guide To The Swiss Educational System

42 Let’s Talk Consent

44 Revision – A How To Guide For Parents

46 The Ins And Outs Of The Pyp And Myp

50 In Praise Of (Early) Flowers

54 Moving To Zurich?

56 Permah Pups!

60 Educational Therapy, The Missing Gap Between School

And Psychological Therapy

62 Education News

64 Six Steps In Changing A School’s Culture

We are proud to bring you our Spring edition. We have fantastic

ideas from Switzerland Tourism on family outings in Major Swiss

Cities, as well as a feature on the Ballenberg Open Air Museum

in canton Bern. Ballenberg is an open-air museum in Switzerland

that displays traditional buildings and architecture from all over

the country. Some of these buildings still operate and you can

watch demonstrations of traditional rural crafts, old techniques,

and cheesemaking. Tourism in Switzerland has so much to offer

and Spring is a great time to start exploring.

Also in this edition, we have two interesting and contrasting

interviews with international school leaders in Andrew Wulfers

from Swiss International School Basel, and from Institut

International de Lacy in Geneva, George Walsh. They talk us

through all their education journeys, their inspirations and

education philosophies. A particular highlight was hearing

Andrew’s background in extreme sports and how it shapes

his view on life and school leadership. Both these interviews

provide really interesting behind the scenes insights about how

your child’s schools are being run, so be sure to check them out.

As usual we also hear from a range of schools with their news,

we have articles and interviews from experts and organisations

all dedicated to helping you get the most out of your family’s

journey through international schooling.

I wish you a pleasant second half of the Spring term and we will

be back in the summer with another edition of International

School Parent Magazine.

Work hard and be the best!

Nick

Nick Gilbert

Editor & Publishing Director

International School Parent Magazine

Mobile + 41 787 10 80 91

Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com

Facebook facebook.com/internationalschoolparent

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 3


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MY SPARK.

Arrange a visit and find

out how ISZN can help

your child unlock their

full potential.

ISZN is an international school combining the best of the

International Baccalaureate and the English National

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universities in Switzerland and around the world.

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MEET THE PRINCIPAL

Andrew Wulfers, SIS Swiss International School Basel

With forty plus nationalities represented in the flagship SIS Swiss International School located in Basel, the

school has an unparalleled reputation as the ideal learning establishment for children and young adults who

have big plans in a globalised world.

Andrew Wulfers utilises all his

experiences in education, his

personal life, and his position as

the Principal of SIS Basel, to work with

other Head Teachers in the SIS group to

foster a sense of community, oversee the

continual development of the bilingual

learning environment, and encourage a

desire for success and a healthy competitive

spirit within his students.

What made you choose Education as a

career?

I was born in Canada but both my parents

were Dutch which informed an important

part of my upbringing.

We moved around quite a bit and I had

the opportunity to attend a few schools at

a young age including the International

School in Antwerp. I eventually moved to

the United States and attended a college

preparatory boarding school on the east

coast. It really opened my eyes - not just to

the importance of a good education, but to

the impact that great teachers can have on

one’s life.

I went to the University of Oregon, and

got my Bachelor’s degree in Planning &

Management and thereafter, I went on

to complete my teaching credentials and

Master’s degree in English.

I am now married to a Swiss national

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 6

who is also a teacher, and have two

children. I speak English with them at

home, and my wife speaks German – so

we embody a very balanced bilingual

environment.

How do your experiences and

philosophies inform your approach as

the Principal of SIS Basel?

When I came to Switzerland back in 2000,

I started teaching in another private school

and was just getting my footing – I wasn’t

sure if I was going to stay in Switzerland for

the long-term.

Before I began at SIS Basel, I hadn’t yet

found my true niche; the place where I


felt most comfortable. When I first came

to SIS, it was quite a small and intimate

environment. I was immediately attracted

to the international-mindedness of the staff

and the strong network of schools that were

growing under the SIS flag.

I began as the Head of the College so

had always been part of the management

team and was fortunate to have a say in the

direction that the school was headed. It’s

really been an incredible experience to be

part of the growth of the SIS and to see

the continuity from kindergarten to college

evolve and take shape.

Seeing the true potential of bilingual

education was my catalyst and inspiration

for wanting to become the Principal at

the school. The concept of international

education through local insight became

even more important as I realized that I

was going to stay in Switzerland and raise

my children here. It is certainly a wonderful

place to live, grow, learn and mature, all

attributes that I enjoy sharing with our

school community.

What have you learnt from your time as

the Principal of an International School?

Our education never stops. It’s a continuing

process and we are learning all the time. I

have also gained so much insight from the

different nationalities and cultures present

at our school. We have built our strength

through our diversity and it has helped us

perform and stay connected as a larger

group of schools. There is definitely the

feeling of being part of a team.

We are continuously looking at current

events and the state of the world to make

decisions that are best for our community.

Nothing is perhaps more prevalent than

what’s happened over the last two years

with COVID-19. It’s forced me into very a

different understanding of what it means

to be a Principal because it’s no longer just

about the normal workload of a Principal,

but also about becoming a facilitator of

well-being to the staff and students.

Do you think COVID will have a lasting

impact on teaching methods?

I do. We clearly see it with the inroads

we’ve made with learning enhanced by

technology. I never thought that we would

become so reliant on technology, not just

as a tool, but for traditional day to day

teaching.

We were forced into a position where

suddenly we were facing teachers and

saying, “Everything that you’ve been doing

in the classroom you’re now going to do

online.” It was a challenge, but I think we’ve

gained a lot of know-how.

Tell us a bit about the bilingual program

at SIS, and the type of students you

attract – what’s your typical SIS Basel

student like?

In the Primary school, a student is fully

immersed in one language for one full day

and then the other language for the next

day always alternating between German

and English.

In the College, it’s different. Here it’s

the subject that dictates the language. In

other words, it might be that mathematics

is taught in German in year 7 but the

following year it’s taught in English. We are

always seeking a balance between the two

languages.

Over the years, I’ve clearly seen our

immersion method lead to success, not just

in terms of a student’s linguistic awareness

but also in their creativity and overall

cognitive development.

As far as our students go, it’s very difficult

to pigeonhole them say, “All of our students

are like this ...” They come from so many

different backgrounds, and have so many

different nationalities that it’s impossible to

stereotype.

We like to promote the IB Learner Profile

at the school, though, and feel that our

students embody it well: Open-minded,

balanced, caring and knowledgeable to

name a few of the attributes.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 7


Are your students passionate about

learning? How are you developing an

approach to it?

If there was one word to describe our

students, it would be - enthusiastic.

They enjoy coming to school and this is

something that you can feel when you walk

through our halls. Despite challenging

times, there’s joy!

The entire community is on board as

well. You feel the level of enthusiasm – and

you can also see that the students are ready

for a challenge and the teaching staff is

ready to deliver it.

Enthusiasm is really the tip of the

iceberg; there is also a strong sense of

personal responsibility and an openness

to other cultures, languages and ways of

thinking. It’s an independent and valuecentred

approach that might be best

summarised with the school’s expectations

of being respectful, being responsible, being

positive, being mindful and being resilient.

This is our rulebook and it’s literally written

all over the school.

What about extracurricular activities?

Are you developing any new programs or

areas for extracurricular engagement?

We’re always looking for new ideas! We

have a solid After School Care program,

special clubs on Wednesdays and an everexpanding

extracurricular program. There

are sports teams with a special trophy case

to prove it. Our girls’ basketball team won

first place in Switzerland several years

ago and we were so proud. We also have

activities like maths clubs, coding classes

and robotics. There really is something for

all tastes.

We’ve been working together with the

PEA (Parent Eltern Association) to come

up with new activities for the students and

there has been a lot of energy put into

this area. For example, the International

Community Music School comes to the SIS

Basel in the afternoons and has multiple

music lessons for the kids.

Our choir is now almost 100 students

strong, working with professional orchestras

to set up concerts in the city.

We try to make it as convenient as

possible for parents, we realize they are

busy, too. We want to make sure that our

extracurricular program is constantly

evolving.

What’s your vision or ambition for SIS

Graduates?

I think first and foremost happiness

and contentment. That said, the list of

universities that our graduates are attending

continues to grow each year with a good

number staying at local institutions like

the ETH and University of St. Gallen

and many more going back to the UK or

beyond.

As a participant at our graduation

ceremony each spring, I also feel such

a sense of pride when it comes to the

speeches made by students. They are all so

thankful and appreciative of the time they

spent at the SIS. The only advice I ever give

them is to live their dreams, and they do!

Our job is to fill their tool kits, their job is to

put the tools to use.

It’s always wonderful when our alumni

come back to visit the school to say hello.

It really enforces that feeling of community

that we try to foster here. They are all busy

either with school or careers, but they take

the time to come back and visit their roots.

It makes me happy.

What do the parents of the students at

SIS Basel value about the school?

There are a lot of things that come to mind:

bilingualism, friendships, a supportive

environment, caring teachers, but perhaps

most of all, a school that always tries to do

the best for their students.

One of the main expectations that

parents have is the gift of languages. Many

students will graduate not only with their

native or mother-tongue intact but also with

fluent English and German. French is also

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 8


“The children enjoy coming to school and this is something

that you can feel when you walk through our halls.”

important seeing that I am currently sitting

about five minutes away from the French

border.

We provide options to our families. With

German, they unlock the key to living in

Basel or the surrounding areas. It allows the

families the choice to stay in Switzerland, to

find work and to thrive. With English only,

it can be difficult to settle down in this area

and establish roots.

What do you believe will be the

major challenges facing students, and

education as a whole, in the future?

When I look at our youngest students, I ask

myself “What will they need in 20 years?

What are we going to need to teach them to

be successful in 20 years?” What are going

to be the new professions? What will they

need to be equipped with?

It’s not only that though, it’s also what

we spoke about earlier: responsibility,

understanding, empathy and resilience will

be equally important than as they are now,

so we’ll continue to strive to give students

these tools as well as upskilling them in

what we believe will be the industries of the

future. Communication, digital technology,

robotics, AI, etc. will certainly be part of

every child’s education well into the future.

What about you personally – what

hobbies do you have?

I came to Switzerland as an avid telemark

skier and white-water kayaker and have

explored the Alps extensively. I still

continue to do so, but have calmed down

considerably since my youth.

I love Mountain biking as well, and

Switzerland has worked for me because it’s

been able to feed my outdoor needs!

That said, time with my family is perhaps

the most important thing to me now and

there is no underestimating the quality time

I can spend with a good book.

ABOUT SIS SWISS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

SIS Swiss International School operates 17 bilingual, private day schools in

Switzerland, Germany and Brazil. More than 3.800 students attend our classes from

kindergarten through to college. They come from local as well as from international

families and learn in German (or Portuguese) and in English.

www.swissinternationalschool.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 9


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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 11


Digital Marketing for your

School... Made Easy

Digital marketing might seem easy at first, but to

really get results, you need proper training and

support.

Many schools just don’t have the budget for

expensive training or consultants. This results in

a confusion of digital marketing tools and

activities without any real strategy or goals in

place; leading to wasted time and budget. When

new leads do not come, schools are often left

wondering what went wrong.

Education Marketing Collective was

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Other benefits such as resources, networking

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"We want to make digital marketing

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Join us on March 21 at 8pm CET for our next training session FREE of charge. This masterclass is entitled:

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ADVERTORIAL

Supporting Students with Learning

Differences: the Secondary Years & Beyond

In the previous ISPM edition, an Oak

Hill alumni parent shared tips about

supporting a child with learning

differences in the primary setting. In this

article, she elaborates on some strategies she

and her husband developed to help her son

through secondary and beyond.

What planning do you recommend

before my child finishes primary?

We found that planning was key to

everything! Therefore, in the Spring Term,

(before your child leaves Y6), ask the

class teacher and/or Learning Support

Coordinator for a summary of their needs

and strengths. This information will really

help new teachers/assistants to prepare for

your child’s arrival in secondary school.

In addition, arrange a transition meeting

with the Y7 tutor/learning support staff (in

March/April) to develop relationships and

to ensure that information has been shared

and received.

While planning for transition to

secondary, it’s also important to be mindful

of what is possible or not – as you won’t

get everything you ask for! Yes, it’s essential

to advocate for your son or daughter, but

working collaboratively as a team will

bring the best results. Having said that, it

is vital to ensure that all teachers working

with your child are aware of their learning

differences before Term 1 starts.

How should I support my child in the first

few weeks of Year 7?

My husband and I found it was critical to

remember there were a lot of expectations

on our child socially, organisationally and

academically. We walked the journey with

him, aware that our son was growing

into a teenager with new and confusing

emotions/feelings to deal with. It’s a busy

and sometimes overwhelming time for them

(and for parents!), and progress takes time.

However, the skills our son acquired at

Oak Hill really helped build his confidence,

maturity, and resilience, which was very

useful to him at secondary school.

On a practical level, we checked our son’s

schedule with him each week so that we

knew what homework &/or revision was

coming up and could plan effectively. We

encouraged him to photograph homework

assignments in class as this removed the

pressure of capturing critical information

quickly. Breaking activities into chunks

provided scaffolded support and aided his

memory recall; multi-sensory learning tools

(such as using manipulatives for maths

problems, watching videos to enhance

comprehension of reading material,

listening to editorials, using quizzes etc.)

were also helpful. Contacting friends to

clarify their understanding of tasks was

sometimes beneficial too!

In those first few weeks of term, we

advise contacting the Learning Support

Coordinator again to re-establish links

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 13


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made in Spring and to review your

child’s specific learning needs. We found

that maintaining positive relationships

with the learning support staff/subject

teachers was important for us, but don’t

forget those compromises I mentioned

earlier! For example, our son chose not

to do a third language so that he could

continue his three weekly learning support

sessions instead; he also had some help

from a teacher aide in class and a tutor

assisted him with homework tasks/revision

techniques at home. His self-esteem and

organisation skills improved with practice

and encouragement, and he gradually

developed into an independent learner.

Completing homework on his own gave

him an enormous sense of pride - a gamechanger

for us!

What is there to consider during the

exam years (16-18 years)?

As he progressed through secondary,

our son’s learning support focused more

on exam techniques and answering

questions in a more structured way. In

this preparatory stage, he completed past

papers using the approaches and revision

techniques he had been taught; his home

tutor also reviewed key words with him

(e.g., explain how, show, contrast, compare,

demonstrate). Using a timetable to structure

his study - practice, practice, practice

became his mantra!

Year 10 might be a good time to

complete another Educational Psychologist

assessment to ensure any special exam

provisions are put in place (e.g., extra time,

use of a laptop, spellcheck, the support of

a reader/scribe etc.). The school Exams

Office/Learning Support department can

advise you about the best time to complete

this step. In our circumstance, we arranged

for another WISC/WIAT assessment in

Year 10 because the recommendations from

this report remain valid until Year 13.

If your child is allowed a laptop for

exams, ensure they spend time increasing

and developing their keyboard skills to

make the most of this accommodation. If

a reader/scribe is recommended, identify

how the school will practice this technique

with your child before the final exams, so

they know what assistance they can ask for.

Should extra time be allowed in an exam,

review with your son/daughter how they

can best make use of it (e.g., to proofread

their work, request the reader to read back

their work, ensure the questions with the

most points have been answered first, etc).

Our son practised mock exam papers (with

extra time) to ensure he had experienced

this situation before the actual exam.

Throughout this intense period, it’s

worth remembering to reward the effort,

resilience, and determination our children

put into their revision. This positive

reinforcement will build their self-esteem,

helping them remain optimistic as well as

prepared.

Although it can be difficult, try not to

focus on grade and/or number outcomes

solely. Whilst ‘end results’ are relevant for

further education, the student’s individual

qualities, talents and skills are just as

important. We found maintaining a focus

on realistic results (rather than comparing

scores with peers) was very helpful in our

situation.

Who can help with exam choices and

university options?

When your child is aged 15-16 years, it’s

important to start thinking about choices

regarding higher education and when (or

if) it’s an appropriate path to take. If they

want to go to university, it’s advisable to

start researching the different requirements

for entry (e.g., IGCSE’s for UK universities,

SATs for US admission etc.). Again, reach

out to others for help - school-university

counsellors were ready to support and

advise us at this stage of the journey.

Start planning well in advance and

consider which further education path is

suitable, (e.g., International Baccalaureate

Careers Programme, IB Diploma or

Certificate, ‘A’ levels, etc.). If higher

education is a goal, it’s important to bear in

mind that this decision will influence subject

and exam choices in years 12-13.

Our son decided he wanted to go to

university, so being near family was critical

when considering the location; we also

knew that he would benefit from courses

with a practical content. Therefore, our

son applied to UK universities to study for

a sports degree (you may recall he loved

football from a very young age!).

He used the UK tariff points calculator to

evaluate scenarios regarding his final grades

and to determine choices. After a lot of

thought, our son chose to enter university

at the Foundation year; allowing him extra

time to decide if a degree is really what he

wanted to do.

Is there anything else to consider before

going to university?

As a student approaches undergraduate

studies, it’s crucial to inform the university

in advance about their learning differences.

In the UK, it might be useful to contact

‘Accessibility’; they will advise whether your

son/daughter needs to apply for a DSA

(Disabled Students Allowance). This may

also be a good opportunity to identify any

new equipment that could be useful (e.g.,

reader pens, speech to text software) or

decide if any additional testing is needed.

It could also be a good time to consider if

your child’s Educational Psychologist report

is up to date/recognised by the university.

Allow time for this part of the process (3-6

months).

Finally, we found that it was important

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 14


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university, enjoying the opportunities and

challenges that have come his way – we

are very proud of him! We hope that the

information we’ve shared in these two

‘Learning Differences’ articles will help

parents/children access the support they

require to reach their potential at primary

and secondary school.

to keep all options open through this

significant period of change. If your child

is determined to do their best and has their

mind set on university, it is essential to

encourage them. Nevertheless, it’s valuable

to prepare them for alternative scenarios

just in case adjustments need to be made to

their plans when the results come out.

As you can see, navigating secondary

school on a (possible) journey to university

involves a lot of work, with many

opportunities for highs and lows! However,

take strength from your child, they will often

surprise you (and themselves!) and yes – you

may need to have a bundle of tissues ready

as they embark on the next step of their

learning journey.

Our son agreed to share his story to

support other families in the same situation.

He is now happily in his first year at

For more information about how

the Oak Hill programme can

support children aged 7- 14 years

with dyslexia/ADHD, please contact

education@oakhill.ch. Oak Hill can

also provide contact information for

tutors, educational psychologists,

speech & language therapists,

cognitive therapists, psychiatrists,

and other specialists supporting

children and adults with learning

differences.

Useful references:

British Dyslexia Association -

https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

National Association for Special Educational Needs

https://www.nasen.org.uk/.

Hill Learning Center https://www.hillcenter.org/

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 15


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Best bachelor programs to

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When considering options for

international business schools,

it can be easy to feel spoilt for

choice. Top ranking institutions around

the world can provide unique blends of

education and experience, and depending

on your child’s needs and preferences, one

country may be more suitable than another.

But where should they go if they don’t want

to compromise?

For those in pursuit of a truly

entrepreneurial education, EU Business

School’s Geneva campus in Switzerland

offers a range of bachelor’s programs

across a variety of disciplines, all of which

are designed to meet the demands of the

modern business world. Geneva is also

home to a thriving and dynamic expat

community, providing unlimited networking

opportunities that have the potential to

span the globe. By choosing to begin their

studies in the Swiss capital, your child gains

an immediate headstart on the relationships

and connections that lie at the heart of a

thriving business career.

One of the world’s most widely

recognized centers for banking, trade and

finance, Switzerland boasts the industry

and tradition necessary for students

looking to forge a strong foundation for

their business careers. The Bachelor

of Science in Business Finance

offered by EU provides a comprehensive,

up-to-date program of study spanning

the crucial elements of this challenging

sector. Theoretical study is combined with

practical assignments, allowing students

to take advantage of easy access to the

world-class financial institutions on their

doorstep.

With a merging of French, German

and Italian culture, diversity is interwoven

within Switzerland’s way of life, allowing

for an overall richer and more exciting

study experience. This fusion of customs

is strongly embedded in the country’s

approach to business, and Geneva wholly

encapsulates the interconnectivity and

open-mindedness required for successful

professional partnerships. EU’s Bachelor’s

in International Relations helps

students to hone the collaborative mindset

required for a business career at the global

level. Classroom study is enhanced by

EU’s international community of over

100 different nationalities, which allows

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 16


ADVERTORIAL

for the free exchange of ideas and creativity

between perspectives from a wide variety of

cultures.

Switzerland’s tourism industry is one of

the country’s most significant economic

pillars. EU’s Bachelor of Arts in Leisure

& Tourism prepares students for the

challenges of this fast-paced, demanding

industry. Our real-world approach to

learning ensures that students are able to

access up-to-date work experience within

the industry, while the ease of travel to

surrounding European countries and beyond

allows for a thorough immersion in the

sector’s pulse.

In addition to providing a solid grounding

in these established fields, the country has

also embraced digital business models with

open arms. In 2021, Switzerland was ranked

number one for innovation for the eleventh

time in a row by the Global Innovation

Index. Furthermore, Geneva is an exciting

emerging hub for tech start-ups, rendering

the Swiss capital ideal for those looking

to engage with and transform the world’s

up-and-coming markets. The Bachelor

of Arts in Digital Business, Design

& Innovation offered by EU Business

School assists students in developing creative

approaches, giving them the skills needed to

formulate business solutions both now, and

for the future.

Considered by many to be the gold

standard with regard to introductory business

education, business administration is suitable

for those who wish to familiarize themselves

with a variety of essential concepts prior to

specializing their area of study. EU’s BBA

program provides students with the broad

expanse of knowledge and skills necessary to

enter the corporate world through any route

of their choosing.

The development of well-rounded

individuals cannot be achieved through work

and exams alone, however. With regard to

extracurricular activities, access to new travel

adventures, and simply taking time to relax

and unwind, there is nothing that Geneva

cannot offer in abundance. From skiing and

sports, to hiking and art galleries, there is

something for everyone to enjoy and explore.

The city’s restaurants offer top-quality

cuisine from around the globe, in addition to

the world-famous cheese and chocolates that

must be sampled.

EU Business School believes that worldclass

education should take place in a worldclass

city. Get more information on our

Geneva programs.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 17


The New

World of Work:

Rising Importance of Data

WRITTEN BY DR. DOGAN GUVEN – DIRECTOR OF DOCTORATE PROGRAMS

AND DEPARTMENT HEAD OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

Computer science provides the

creative energy for the digital

transformations on almost all

aspects of life. The way we communicate,

socialize, travel, shop, design/produce/

deliver products continues to be an

exciting field as the technological

advancements grow and evolve: Data

Science and Analytics, Cloud Computing,

Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things,

Autonomous Robots and Augmented

Reality. Computers are so ubiquitous in

the modern world that the need for more

Computer Science (CS) graduates with

the skills to understand systems and create

technology solutions will continue to grow.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is about much more than

programming, it teaches you how to think

more methodically, how to solve problems

more effectively and how to create

solutions using technology. These skills and

knowledge can be applied to practically

any domain of interest including consumer

goods, social media, communication,

healthcare, travel, game and art.

Possible Future Careers for CS

Graduates?

Computer skills and competencies are

always in high demand among employers

in a wide range of industries, not just the

tech industry. CS graduates can work for

the IT department of a wide variety of

organizations such manufacturing, financial

services, healthcare, aerospace, defense,

government and non-profit) or set up their

own companies to create new technology

solutions like some other successful

entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos (Amazon),

Larry Page and Sergey Brin(Google),

Mark Zuckerberg(Facebook) and Reed

Hastings(Netflix).

What Are the New Trends in Computer

Science?

Data Science and Analytics, Cloud

Computing, and Artificial Intelligence are

the fastest growing domains of Computer

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 18

Science. Data Science and Analytics is

the practice of examining data with a

purpose of finding insights. As data has

become every organization’s most valuable

resource especially during the past 10 years,

we clearly need more data-skilled people

who can “question” data in our data-rich

world. Therefore, universities including the

International University in Geneva have

started to launch new undergraduate and

graduate programs on Data Science and

Analytics to address this demand.

How Does IUG Prepare Students for the

New World of Work with Data?

The International University in Geneva is

a triple-accredited, non-profit institution

of higher education with joint-degree

programs with Boston University and the

University of Plymouth in the UK. Our


focus is on transfer knowledge and skills

with our faculty’s extensive international

and practical experience at senior levels.

While most of our courses include

data analysis as a key component, we

have Data-Driven Decision Making

as a core course for all students where

we aim to develop data related skills

including data preparation, exploration,

and visualization using industry standard

platforms. In addition, IUG students

have the opportunity to meet with the

representatives of major companies.

Why Computer Science at IUG?

At the International University in

Geneva we believe two disciplines need

be combined in an effective Computer

Science program for a successful career

namely technology and business know-how.

“Data Science/Analytics, Cloud Computing, and

Artificial Intelligence are the fastest growing

domains of Computer Science.”

Therefore, our CS program is designed

to balance the core computer science

courses with business management and the

technical skills.

In addition, the International University

in Geneva has partnered with Amazon

Web Services (AWS), market leader for

Cloud Computing, to prepare students with

in-demand Cloud Computing skills and

certification for the Bachelor of Computer

Science and Master of Business Analytics

program. As more organizations rely on

data, the demand is high for business

people with analytical and technology skills.

Alumni Network

The University regularly invite its alumni

and other company professionals to come

and present their organizations to the

students. Recent graduates from Computer

Science and Business Analytics have been

hired by well-known companies such

Roche, Amazon, Volkswagen, IATA, SITA,

Business & Decision.

For further information about the

International University in Geneva please

visit our website : www.iun.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 19


ADVERTORIAL

Collège du Léman

Shaping generations, harnessing differences, changing our world for the better.

Recognised as one of the best

Swiss schools for the quality of its

teaching and its five international

diplomas, Collège du Léman encourages

its students to uncover their potential by

discovering their own strengths. Combining

individual development and academic

excellence, the school instils in children of

all nationalities, day and boarding students,

the qualities that are essential to becoming

confident, responsible adults who are

attentive to the world around them.

From the youngest... to the oldest

students

Located in Versoix, between the lake and

the mountains, Collège du Léman (CDL)

offers a vibrant green village campus and

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 20


ADVERTORIAL

welcomes children from the age of two

in its pre-school section. This first

experience of education is essential as it

introduces them to their future learning

environment, to self-awareness and to

the importance of socialising with their

peers. Each student thrives at their own

pace while discovering and nurturing their

own strengths thanks to the support of

dedicated and inspiring teachers. With

them, the children learn to communicate,

gain confidence, manage their emotions

and live together peacefully, in a world that

harnesses differences.

Cultural diversity and sharing

With more than 110 different

nationalities, CDL is a shining example

of multiculturality, giving equity, diversity

and inclusion the utmost importance. The

school offers programmes that encourage

students to learn several languages,

participate in group projects and discover

other cultures. To help them open up to the

world, Collège du Léman cultivates strong

values, gathered around the acronym

RISE - Respect, Internationalism, team

Spirit and Excellence - which unites

parents, children and teachers in a caring

community.

Tailor-made learning journeys

As a member of the Nord Anglia

Education Group of over 80 schools

worldwide, Collège du Léman offers a

rich and flexible curriculum. Students

learn to master and develop their learning

independently, choosing from a range of

personalised programmes (bilingual, French

or English immersion). The “International

Curriculum” stimulates children’s curiosity

by working on theme-based projects that

they will study in multiple subjects. The

curriculum is enhanced by collaborations

with The Julliard School, MIT and

UNICEF. In order to adjust as closely

as possible to each child’s individual

development, CDL favours small classes,

personalised work and offers more than

100 extracurricular sports, cultural and

artistic activities. This tailored approach

to education proves to be very successful,

especially as the students approach the

decisive years in High School.

Aiming for excellence

Collège du Léman offers the Swiss

Maturité, the French Baccalauréate, the

American-style High School diploma,

the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Programme (IBDP) and the International

Baccalaureate Career-related Programme

(IBCP), and with a 99% success rate

across all diplomas, sees its students enter

the most prestigious universities. Worldclass

teachers, in collaboration with the

University Counselling Department, inspire

students to achieve academic excellence

and guide them in choosing a programme

that suits their profile and future wishes.

Thanks to its personalised teaching

approach, CDL opens up a wealth of

exciting future paths for its students.

Collège du Léman is an international

Day and Boarding School in Geneva,

Switzerland. The school offers

personalised learning journeys for boys

and girls, 2 to 18 years old. Students

can follow English,

French or bilingual

programmes leading

to a choice of 5

graduating diplomas.

www.cdl.ch

@collegeduleman

JOIN THE OPEN HOUSE

TO LEARN MORE.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 21


MEET THE

HEADTEACHER

George Walsh, Institut International de Lancy, Geneva

Tell us about your background and what

made you choose education as a career?

Originally born and raised in the Ribble

Valley, Northwest England, I am delighted

to introduce myself as Headmaster of Early

Years and Primary at Institut International

de Lancy, Geneva. I am an experienced

leader in global education, and I have

held key positions in the United Kingdom,

South-East Asia, and Switzerland. My

passion for teaching started when I was a

student myself. My teachers always inspired

me, and I have many fond school memories.

Later in life, I realised the capacity schools

have to influence the lifelong development

of the individuals within their communities.

Knowing this, my vocation as an educator

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 22


was born. Fast-forward several years, I

now find myself in the privileged position

of shaping the ethos and values of such a

prestigious and highly respected Institut

in the hope that IIL students will receive

the same experience that I once did. I am

also fortunate to have been invited to work

alongside the Council of International

Schools in their mission to assist topperforming

international schools with

their ongoing development. I am proud to

contribute towards raising the standards of

international education across the globe,

with the hope that more children will grow

up in a more tolerant, peaceful, just, and

sustainable world.

How will your experiences and

philosophies inform your approach as

Headmaster at IIL?

As a practising Catholic, my faith drives my

philosophy and approach as Headmaster.

Although IIL has evolved into a diverse and

inclusive community since its foundation

in 1903 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of

Lyon, Christian values remain at the heart

of everything we do. I consider every school

day a blessing, and each lived to its fullest

through work, play and laughter. Therefore,

I set ambitious expectations of personal

achievement in an environment where

people treat each other with compassion

and grace. As a result, students become

well-rounded, harmonious individuals

prepared to serve others. This philosophy

makes IIL an extraordinary place and is

why I remain committed to its continued

development in the years to come.

What is your vision for the school – will

you be bringing anything new in or

changing anything? Are there any areas

that you want to develop in the school?

My vision for the school is encapsulated in

our three key guiding principles: learning,

well-being, and citizenship. In other words,

a school with high-quality teaching and

learning is conducted in a safe and happy

place where people take care of each other.

This sounds basic and what most people

would consider a minimum requirement

in any well-resourced international school.

However, I have seen far too many schools

trying to do the next best thing to stand out

from the crowd in increasingly competitive

markets in recent years. So much that

they are juggling so many different new

initiatives that they lose sight of the original

purpose of their existence.

One of the key areas I will be looking to

develop, running across all three of these

guiding principles, is global citizenship and

intercultural learning. We are currently

conducting an entire curriculum review to

ensure that the contextual themes we use

are relevant and meaningful to the changing

needs of our students. For example, I

noticed that most of our curriculum units

had themes linked to British culture when I

arrived—for instance, Tudor England or the

River Thames, as particular case studies.

However, with over 97 different nationalities

represented, our curriculum was no longer

relevant to most students. At the forefront

of our new approach are the Four Cs:

Communication, Conflict, Conservation

and Culture. The desired impact, measured

in 2023, will show that our students have

started understanding the differing attitudes

towards these key global issues.

How do you encourage a love of learning

in young children?

Instilling a love of learning in young

children is deeply rooted in our second

guiding principle – well-being. For learning

to manifest itself, young children need to

feel safe and happy in the environment

where they spend most of their time. Our

hand-picked team of outstanding teachers

are experts in creating a welcoming,

innovative and engaging space for children

to develop their creativity and curiosity.

I am also a big believer that learning

should be fun, especially for children in

Early Years and Primary education. My

best school memories include working on

projects with my classmates, getting messy

with gooey Science experiments, and

giggling at the teacher’s funny character

voices during our class novels. I think

children today are still the same as when

I was young – they will love learning new

things forever if they find enjoyment in their

earliest school experiences.

Apart from the excellent city campus and

facilities at IIL, what is your favourite

thing about the learning environment

that makes the school so unique?

Cohesion. We are blessed at IIL to have

strong working relationships between

our three English, French, and Bilingual

divisions. Although our Institut has these

three well-established sections, each with

a unique culture and programmes of its

own, it overjoys me to see such a solid

togetherness between school leaders,

teachers, students, and parents. This sense

of school citizenship demonstrates our

passion for inclusivity and collaboration.

What do parents of IIL value about the

school?

Our strong sense of community. In the

short time that I have been at IIL, it is clear

that our parents, students and employees

love to share their support for our common

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 23


goals. This was immediately evident soon

after I was appointed as Headmaster, at

the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The

community rallied together in adopting

sanitary measures and online schooling.

It was heartbreaking to see their sudden

detachment from a place they had grown

to love as a hub for community friendship,

guidance and shared experience. Our

active Parents’ Association is IIL’s main

and longest-standing community partner

in Geneva. The school leadership and the

association work closely on projects that

provide the best opportunities for those

in and around our school community. An

extensive network of volunteers from the

association is responsible for assisting our

new families integration into the school

community, whilst other working groups

focus on humanitarian projects or organise

events, parties and celebrations.

Which philosophies are you bringing into

the school?

In the last 18 months, I have recognised

two areas that stand out as being extremely

valuable to the school and its students. The

first is our bespoke language programme

in Early Years and Primary. Each student

is given a tailor-made pathway, created to

suit their language profile, with progression

opportunities and add-ons to support their

developing skills. This language pathway is

mapped-out in collaboration with parents

during the enrolment process and ensures

that all needs are considered. Because

the programme focuses on competency

acquisition, students can quickly develop

their second or third language skills from

speaking and listening to more technical

skills in reading, writing, and grammar. For

families at our school for 3-5 years, we want

to ensure their children develop enough

language skills to get the most out of living

in Geneva in this relatively short time. On

the other hand, we must challenge students

further to have more choices in secondary

and higher education. Students who develop

advanced competencies in their second or

third language can explore our Bilingual

IB Diploma, Swiss Maturity Diploma or

French Baccalaureate qualifications.

The second valuable area is STEAM.

Our dedicated laboratory, housed in the

original school building, provides students

with the most engaging space for creativity

and problem solving I have seen in my

career to date. In STEAM, students are

encouraged to bring project ideas of their

own, and these often involve elements of

coding, robotics, 3D printing, laser-cutting

and multimedia. I will be honest, a lot of

it goes over the top of my head, and it is

undoubtedly an area of my development

to better understand. However, I know

this area of our school is one of the most

valuable because whenever I visit, I am

always amazed by how passionate, informed

and focused the students are to work on

their projects.

Have you seen the process of new

students arriving, and how do you

manage that – especially now? Do you

think Covid will have a lasting impact on

teaching methods?

The magnitude of change to our admissions

process has been phenomenal over the last

two years, as I am sure has been the case

in most international schools worldwide.

Due to the recent health measures,

international schools, including IIL, have

had to adapt quickly to support prospective

families in their search for a new school.

Irrespective of the ongoing situation, it is

so important for international schools to

get this process right, as finding the most

suitable environment is often the number

one priority for parents. This is even more

significant for parents who are managing a

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 24


family re-location at the same time. I have

found that taking the stress and anxiety out

of such a complex decision and forging

a home school partnership around the

child(ren) ensures that their integration

is blended to meet their circumstances.

The development in technology and the

upskilling of administrative personnel has

been vital in making this process smooth

and interactive for all parties involved. The

introduction of video meetings, virtual tours

and inter-school collaboration has made this

possible in difficult testing times.

I think there are a lot of positive

developments to take from what we have

learnt in recent years, especially concerning

the lasting impact the global pandemic has

had on teaching and learning. Children

will inevitably have suffered gaps in their

education and delays in their social and

emotional development as a direct result.

However, teachers, students, and parents

have been incredibly resilient when faced

with these new challenges and increased

demands. We do not know the full extent

of the long-term effects of Covid-19 yet,

but I am confident that what we have learnt

has made teaching and learning safer more

efficient and opened a world of new and

exciting opportunities.

What do you think will be the significant

challenges facing students and education

in the future?

The latest research and data suggest that

students’ ever-increasing exposure to the

digital world is changing how they engage

themselves in the classroom or beyond.

The proven effects are unknown, but clear

advantages and disadvantages are starting

to emerge. I have personally observed

that children exposed to high levels of

gaming, for example, are becoming more

dependent on visual stimuli to keep them

focused and productive. Furthermore,

children in the 21st Century have access to

masses of information at their fingertips.

Unfortunately, this information can often

be misleading and intentionally targeted to

influence a young and vulnerable audience.

Moreover, teachers and parents regularly

raise their concerns about the psychological

health impacts of social media on students.

Clinical conditions such as depression,

anxiety, self-esteem, and addiction are

rapidly rising in young people. It is our

duty as educators to support, guide and

equip students, and their families, to better

understand the risks and offer strategies to

help them cope with any issues that arise.

How do you equip students for success as

they get older?

Our Early Years and Primary Learning

Pathways is a structured approach to

developing personal traits and competencies

that prepare our students for success in the

future. In the Early Years, explorers (3-5

years) are encouraged to ‘have a go’ by

learning how to be experimental, curious,

confident, and cooperative. These are the

skills that enable our young children to

remember more about the world around

them, give new things a try and begin

to share and work together as part of

a team. At the end of Primary School,

navigators (9-11 years) are encouraged to

‘lead the way’ by showing leadership, skill

application, problem-solving, and focused

attention and ownership towards their own

goals and objectives.

Many of our Learning Pathway traits

and competencies are developed through

student-led learning, like those described

earlier in our STEAM programme.

However, it is the responsibility of the senior

leadership team and me to continually

assess the skills that will be required in 2030

and beyond, ensuring that our programmes

and approaches are adapted to give IIL

students the very best chance to succeed in

their futures.

How are you personally finding

Switzerland and everything it has to

offer?

Since I arrived in Switzerland, I have loved

every second. I have found it easy to settle

and make lots of new friends. I even met

my future wife here, although Covid-19

has put a stop to our wedding plans for the

time being! I am particularly impressed with

how Switzerland values family life. With

businesses being closed on Sunday’s and the

beautiful scenery on everyone’s doorstep, it

is hard not to spend quality time with loved

ones - no matter the season! Since moving

to The Alps, I have become an avid skier

and cyclist, which keeps me busy when I

am not working. At the same time, I am

starting to take advantage of the handy

location in Europe for travel, gastronomy,

and fashion experiences. My only regret is

that I did not work hard enough in French

lessons at school. I am now suffering the

consequences!

Institut International de Lancy (IIL) is a leading international school in Geneva balancing

academic excellence with citizenship. IIL has a child-focused approach to learning

that combines creativity with critical thinking and encourages collaboration alongside

autonomy. IIL school welcomes students from nursery school through secondary education,

aged 3 to 19, preparing them for major certifications, including the International

Baccalaureate (IB), IGCSE, Preparation to the Examen de Maturité Suisse, Brevet des

Collèges and French Baccalaureate. www.iil.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 25


ADVERTORIAL

Why parents

are top

influencers in

education

WRITTEN BY MARIA RAMSTAD KRISTIANSEN

HEAD OF MARKETING & STUDENT RECRUITMENT -

SHL SCHWEIZERISCHE HOTELFACHSCHULE LUZERN

In my years in student recruitment, I’ve come to understand

that parents and schools are on the front line when it comes

to identify the talents in youngsters. The role of parents as

influencers in career and higher education selection is crucial.

Parents often determine the level of education or training that their

children have access to and provide them with knowledge about

careers and professions. Students’ beliefs and attitude towards

future career opportunities is largely dependent on their parents’

information and the motivation they provide to drive them towards

success.

As soon as children start their primary schooling, most parents

unconsciously start planning for their futures. Parents can help the

child understand the numerous educational possibilities and their

benefits and not only motivate their children, but also help them in

their decision-making process.

Ensuring that youngsters are set up for successful careers,

financial security and a good quality of life is a tough challenge

for every parent. Youngsters will turn to parents for advice and

direction, even if they don’t like to admit to it, and can easily adopt

their parent beliefs about success, how to be successful and what is

a respectable job or the life they should want. Most things communicated

to the youngsters is based on these beliefs and the parents’ own

experiences. From a student recruitment perspective, while a

parents’ input is key for the youngster’s development, trying to

shield them from the mistakes that the parents might have made -

directly or indirectly - can be counterproductive. In my experience,

parents who aim to instil a mature and practical mind-set, giving

youngsters the tools to make their own informed decisions will have

a much better starting point when it comes to guiding their children

in shortlisting the best educational paths and schools.

The decisions young people make in terms of which school to

go to, the subjects they choose, whether to study abroad or not will

impact their career paths. When this decision is heavily influenced

by what the parents would like to see for their children, the

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 26


ADVERTORIAL

youngster may end up following a professional path that they aren’t

passionate about, or even adept at. However, without practical

guidance and support, inadequate choices can be made. It’s no

secret that both young people and parents have more knowledge

and information about traditional degrees such as medicine,

technology, computer science, business, finance and engineering

than they do about the field of hospitality business management

education that I am in. Additionally, they also have a much clearer

picture of the different career paths available with such traditional

degrees. Although, in my discussions with students and parents,

the hospitality industry is seen as truly fascinating, the struggle for

both groups is to see the real and diverse education and career

options the industry has to offer young graduates. We as school

representatives have the very challenging task of bridging this

information gap for hospitality education and careers to even be

considered in the first place. Catching up with other disciplines in

terms of knowledge is demanding when young people already are

in their decision processes. This often leads to the hospitality and

tourism industry losing out on the best talents to other industries

before it even gets the chance to introduce its opportunities.

Young people have unique individual skills sets and talents in

various fields and subject areas and may possess different skills and

abilities to their parents. Adopting a similar career role to either

parent may not be the right course of action. Youngsters need space

and time to discover what they are passionate about and truly want

to pursue. University e.g., isn’t for everyone, and a smaller college

where young people aren’t simply a number in a lecture hall can

be a much more suitable learning environment for many on their

quests to find professions where they’ll be able to thrive. When they

have the good fortune to learn at home that life is a journey of selfdiscovery

and new skills and multiple talents are developed, it’ll be

easier to define which talents to focus on or pursue for the first step.

I spend a lot of time ensuring students - and often their parents -

that it’s okay that they are not yet sure what they want to do and

that the important thing is to be proactive in finding a way that

will unleash their maximum potential. A great starting point for

many is a programme that offers them applicable knowledge and

transferable skills, that can be later used in a variety of industries

and professions. Courses that contains essential life skills as an

integral part of the programme, such as empathy and emotional

intelligence, teamwork, stress and time management, problemsolving,

strategy and innovation will also always be a valuable

addition to any young persons’ education.

Parents are more than simply authority figures, they’re the

#1 influencers! Along with vital information about educational

paths and career choices, they can facilitate the selection process

for their youngsters. However, where parents might want their

children to opt for a career they know well, what their youngsters

want or aspire to become, can be two entirely different things.

For hospitality management school representatives such as

myself, attracting the best young talents is not only based on their

knowledge and personal interests and the familiarity of their

influencers, but also driven by the attractiveness of the industry

and its perceived career opportunities. Consequently, we not only

support and guide students and parents in the decision process,

we are in the position of developing knowledge and provide

information about the hospitality industry as an attractive employer.

In our case, students are often not aware of all the exciting and

Parents are more than simply

authority figures, they’re the #1

influencers!”

varied career opportunities a degree in hospitality management

offer, not only our industry, but service industries in general. Hence,

many of the best talents don’t even have hospitality on their ‘short

lists’ of options. Whereas students who are considering degrees in

technology, already have employers like Apple or Google in mind,

or specific industries where they see themselves.

Based on my personal experience from around the world,

most often also compare career opportunities and industries’

competitiveness. They ask themselves very practical questions such

as: which industry offers the best job and career opportunities, what

can I expect in terms of salary and benefits, what will my worklife-balance

look like? Furthermore, today’s young generation has

increased expectations towards more flexibility, job and industry

rotation, personal development, and value driven company cultures.

There are a few factors that will be of great value to parents in

the career choice process. Aid youngsters to discover their true

aptitude which mirror their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

This can be helpful in making a well-informed career selection. As

parents, investigate the interests and passions of the youngsters and

consider them while shortlisting career options. It is very difficult

to spend life working in a field that you are not interested in or

passionate about.

It is easy for youngsters to get won over by peer pressure into

choosing an education or career that the majority is opting for.

Sometimes, even parents get attracted to a career choice that is

trending. Hence, parents must be informed about various career

choices and guide their youngsters towards taking an informed

decision and inform them about all aspects of the short-listed

careers.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 27


ADVERTORIAL

minutes from London’s main attractions.

But unlike any other urban university,

they’ll be hidden within 11 acres of private

land in one of London’s most beautiful

parks, with a 24/7 security presence in

place.

“Our students develop such deep connections that they

often join forces – finding their future co-founders on

campus and launching brands and business ventures

together in London and worldwide.”

International student networks

London is one of the most diverse cities

in the world – bringing together students

from all over the globe. Studying here offers

the chance to meet people from different

backgrounds, gain valuable insights into

their cultures, and experience new music,

food, and art. Exploring the city, you’ll

get a taste of each culture — and see how

different and interesting they all are.

With over 140 different nationalities on

campus at Regent’s, our students find it

easy to build an international network of

friends they can tap into throughout their

whole careers. They also have the chance

to learn nine different languages and study

abroad in one of 60 partner universities

worldwide.

Our students develop such deep

connections that they often join forces –

finding their future co-founders on campus

and launching brands and business ventures

together in London and worldwide.

So much so, we were crowned the UK

university with the highest number of

founders, with over 12% of graduates

launching their own businesses after

graduating [resume.io].

Easy access to the rest of the UK and

Europe

No matter where you are in London, you’ll

be spoilt for choice with how to get around

– from public buses, bikes, and trains to the

Tube (London Underground).

Living in one of the best-connected cities

worldwide also means it’s easy to travel

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 28

further afield – exploring the UK’s vibrant

cities and stunning landscapes (from the

Scottish Highlands to the Cornish coast)

or jumping on a short flight from one of

London’s six main airports (or train from

St Pancras International) to Europe for a

relaxing city break. The options are endless!

London is a city that keeps on giving, and

no matter how long you spend here, you’ll

never get tired of the experiences it offers.

Discover more at www.regents.ac.uk.


THE EXPERIENCE

OF A LIFETIME

Leysin American School in Switzerland is home to exceptional students from around

the world. Our warm community is steeped in tradition, and we provide an outstanding

education in a supportive environment on our beautiful campus in the Swiss Alps.

We encourage our students to be themselves – creative thinkers who aren’t afraid to

take risks and think outside of the box. We provide them with personalized attention

and diverse course offerings within our IB, AP, and ESL programs. LAS graduates

are independent, innovative thinkers who thrive at top universities across the globe.

www.las.ch admissions@las.ch +41 24 493 4888

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 29


ADVERTORIAL

© Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum

Sightseeing

Switzerland

– at the Swiss Open-Air Museum

Ballenberg, the only open-air museum in Switzerland

stretches between the communities of Hofstetten and

Brienzwiler in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. Here you

can discover 109 historic buildings, over 200 farm animals and 30

traditional crafts. On April 14th 2022 the Swiss Open-Air Museum

opens its doors to visitors for the 2022 season, and this year it’s

ready to be discovered from a new perspective.

Ballenberg “à la Carte”

Experience Ballenberg in a compact way: equipped with the

Ballenberg “à la Carte” menu card (available on-site at the cash

desks) and on your mobile phone, you can explore the grounds

using the newly created circular route. Through 12 engaging short

films, Ballenberg experts give you in-depth insights into everyday

life, as well as the buildings and crafts.

Selected locations are also easily accessible for people with walking

difficulties, thanks to the electric wheelchair available at the west

entrance.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 30

All ears – the world of Swiss fairy tales and legends at

Ballenberg

What is it about the three golden keys? Who lives in the

Marmilchloch? Why did Nidelgret always have more cream than

everyone else, even though she only has one cow? You can hear the

answers to these questions at the Open-Air Museum Ballenberg.

Fascinating fairy tales and legends from different Swiss regions,

each told in its unique dialect, are also waiting to be uncovered

at Ballenberg. QR codes lead you to the stories, each located in a

historical building belonging to the region of its origin. So, where

could the wooden fairy tale book be hiding? On the kitchen table,

in the living room or maybe on the bedside table in the bedroom?

You’ll have to find out for yourself. If you want to make sure you

discover all the hidden tales and legends, ask for the “All Ear”-

bookmark at the cash-desks, it will give you clues, where to find

mystery fairy tale books.

Furthermore, the project “All ears – the world of fairy tales and

legends at Ballenberg” has been launched in collaboration with


ADVERTORIAL

© Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum

the Mutabor Fairy Tale Foundation. On seven Sundays during the

whole season, storytellers from all over Switzerland will narrate

fairy tales and legends at the open-air museum in their very own

dialects. You can find all the dates and locations on ballenberg.ch.

“Fest der Feste” Swiss autumn customs at Ballenberg

On 24th–25th September and 1st–2nd October 2022, the Swiss

Open-Air Museum invites visitors to the ‘Fest der Feste: a oncein-a-generation

experience. Fifteen local festivals and autumn

customs from across Switzerland will come together at Ballenberg.

Towns, villages, valley communities, Alpine co-operatives and other

associations take centre stage for a collective showcase of aspects

of their autumn festival traditions and share their culinary and

cultural heritage.

A stroll through Swiss autumn traditions

Visitors can explore an ‘Älplerchilbi’ fair from Obwalden and check

out the famous Valais ‘Combat de Reines’ cow fight. Discover the

story behind ‘Trottenfest’ wine events in Blauburgerland and tackle

topical issues like meat consumption and vegetarian cooking at a

Bernese ‘Metzgete’ – all in just one day.

Romansh-speaking Switzerland is set to entertain with the ‘Festa

di Racolta’ from Val Müstair. At the same time, the Italian-speaking

contingent will present a ‘Festa d’Autunno’ all the way from Ticino

and a ‘Castagnata’ from the southern valleys of Grisons. ‘La

Bénichon’ from Freiburg, the ‘Fête des Moissons’ from Vaud and

‘Saint Martin’ from Jura are also on hand to represent Frenchspeaking

Swiss traditions.

To visit the Festival of Swiss autumn traditions “Fest der Feste”,

you can get your special festival ticket at festderfeste.ch.

OPENING TIMES

14 April to 30 October 2022: 10.00 to 17.00 hrs

ADMISSION PRICES

Day admission, adult: CHF 28.00

Day admission, child 6-16 years: CHF 14.00

Child under 6 years: free

Find out about current rates and offers on our website www.

ballenberg.ch

ATTRACTIONS

Take a look at the daily schedule (www.ballenberg.ch) to find

out what will be going on at the Swiss Open-Air Museum on

your specific visiting date.

© Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 31


ADVERTORIAL

© Switzerland Tourism / Colin Frei © Switzerland Tourism / Colin Frei

Family & Cities

GENEVA

Geneva is certainly Switzerland’s most international city, but also

full of adventures and surprises for young and old. We accompany

the Geneva blogger Emilie Servettaz and her family for a day in

Geneva. Emilie is responsible for the blog “Les petits genevois”

with numerous tips for family outings:

Nose first: In the morning on the pier at the Jet d’eau

On the Jetée des Eaux-Vives in Geneva, the wind transports fine

drops of water to the face, while the tip of the nose is directed

towards the sky. Impressively, the Jet d’eau shoots up 140 metres

at 200 kilometres per hour. Every second, 500 litres of water - the

equivalent of three bathtubs - fly into the air.

On a course of conquest: setting sail with the pedalo

The pirates of Lake Geneva plunge into the lake on pedalos to

conquer it. If you dive into the lake from the slide, you might even

find a treasure or two in the depths.

Dreams of sand: bathing on the Eaux-Vives beach

Building castles of sand, rubbing it in your hands until they glisten,

and watching wave after wave slowly make your feet disappear into

the sand. Eaux-Vives beach could also be by the sea ...

When the stomach growls: lunch at the beach restaurant

A day on the water makes you hungry and thirsty, luckily the

Restaurant de la Plage is not far away. One of the jetties on the

lake has been conquered by the restaurant crew. Whether you’re

inside, looking through the glass panes, or outside on the terrace,

the view of the lake is expansive.

In the Caribbean: Afternoon at the Genève-Plage

The raffia parasols and clear water are reminiscent of the

Caribbean. Just behind the Genève-Plage is a spacious park where

the numerous trees provide enough shade if the sunshades are all

taken.

Towards the horizon: a boat trip into the sunset

The evening approaches and the Belle Epoque steamship Savoie

picks up speed - off to the next adventure!

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 32


ADVERTORIAL

ST. GALLEN

St.Gallen is not only a business location for young startups,

St.Gallen is above all a green city for young families. No one

knows this better than the Zingg family from the concept store

Stadtlandkind.

Stadtlandkind is an online store for the whole family with

sustainable and fair products. The makers of the store, Roberta

and Tobias Zingg, have set up shop on Unterstrasse in the heart of

St. Gallen. This is no coincidence, because a young and dynamic

startup scene is growing up in St.Gallen.

At the same time, the city of St.Gallen is a place made for

families. Right next to the Stadtlandkind office is the city lounge,

the Rote Platz. Switzerland’s first public living room was created by

artist Pipilotti Rist and architect Carlos Martinez. Roberta Zingg

calls St.Gallen her “harbor”; she grew up in this region and spent

her youth here.

The Abbey District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also

an area where the Zingg family likes to spend time. This is where

they like to take their lunch break - preferably with a St.Gallen

bratwurst, the unofficial sanctuary of the entire region.

With a roar, the Steinach falls down the Mülenschlucht gorge.

The narrow gorge goes from the monastery district directly up

to the Mühlegg in the quarter of St.Georgen. Often in the shade

and always along the river, a wonderful footpath leads from the

monastery directly into the greenery.

From the Mühlegg, the route continues a bit further up to the

Drei Weieren. A lovely pond landscape stretches out on a kind of

high plateau. This oasis of peace is a popular destination not only

in summer. During the warm season, the Art Nouveau bathing

house, which is part of the outdoor pool, exudes a very special

charm.

© Switzerland Tourism / Silvano Zeiter

© Switzerland Tourism / Silvano Zeiter

© Switzerland Tourism / Silvano Zeiter

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 33


ADVERTORIAL

© Schweiz Tourismus / Hannes Heinzer © Schweiz Tourismus / Hannes Heinzer

MORE URBAN FAMILY TIPS

Winterthur

When you visit Winterthur, you simply must stay the night. The

bike-friendly town has plenty to offer and is an ideal destination

for families. The historical Sulzerareal, a huge pedestrian zone

and the Technorama are all waiting to be explored. The latter

now has a gigantic outdoor park where the forces of nature can be

experienced in the open air.

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/technorama-outdoor

Montreux

All children like castles and fortresses. And this one is a must-see:

The Château de Chillon, perched on a rock just off the shore of

Lake Geneva, is Switzerland’s most-visited historical attraction. It

has inspired countless artists and writers from JMW Turner and

Gustave Courbet to Victor Hugo and Lord Byron; visit the castle

today, and hundreds of years of history – from the 12th to the 16th

centuries – are as vivid as ever. The lake-and-mountain setting is

perhaps the finest in Switzerland.

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/chillon

Chur

Fun for the whole family: Cross Golf is a variation of classic

golf. However, it is not played on golf courses, but in all possible

places that allow a game. The Cross Golf course on Brambrüesch

is played on nine holes between the gondola mountain station

(material hand-out) and the «Bergbaiz Brambrüesch» (material

return). Who can complete the course with the fewest strokes?

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/crossgolfchur

Neuchatel

With exciting challenges galore, the “Les Chenapans” scavenger

hunt will bring young and old on a trip around the historic old

town area of Neuchâtel as they search for wall paintings inspired

by the Belle Époque. After 14 stages full of surprises and fun,

the smartest players will find their way to the treasure chest and

discover its contents. A fun, educational activity that is ideal for a

family outing.

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/chenapans

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 34


Your Swiss cities

Urban family

trips

Anyone who thought that city breaks

are not for children will be proven

wrong in Switzerland – because our

metropolises are astonishingly green

and compact in size. And they are

home to exciting museums and lots of

other places that will keep your kids

happily occupied.

MySwitzerland.com/cities

A hands-on experience.

The Technorama in Winterthur is one of the largest science centres

in Europe, presenting a unique variety of experiments with almost

limitless opportunities to experience science in a playful and

educational way. Unlike in a museum, visitors are allowed to touch

and play with everything at the science centre – because natural

phenomena need to be experienced with all the senses. Over

500 discovery stations invite visitors of all ages to find something

to lever, crank, observe and marvel at.

MySwitzerland.com/winterthur

Time travel to the Belle Epoque.

For a family outing, school trip or birthday celebration, come and

enjoy a unique Belle Epoque experience in Neuchâtel. Along the

way you’ll discover 18 emblematic figures and objects from the

period. A series of original animated shows make this a walk to

remember. Can you solve the puzzles and find the mystery word?

A gift awaits at the end of the trail.

MySwitzerland.com/neuchatel

Escape from the black tower.

Castelgrande sits atop a hill overlooking Bellinzona. Both its white

tower and black tower are visible from afar. If, after visiting the history

museum and the elegant restaurant, you’d like a glimpse of what life

was like in the harsh 16th century, then be sure to visit the Torre Nera

Escape Room. Several men were imprisoned in this tower after their

mission went awry. Instead of waiting for their trial, you can help set

them free with the aid of some mysterious objects.

MySwitzerland.com/bellinzona

Find more inspirational experiences and tips: MySwitzerland.com/expats

or contact expats@switzerland.com or phone 0800 100 200.


ECOLE.sounds:

Innovative learning via music

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM

ECOLE.sounds is an awardwinning

project launched by Ecole

d’Humanité in collaboration with

renowned Swiss musician and producer,

Stefan Bregy.

The project provides an interactive

experience allowing students to produce

beats, songs, and radio plays, on campus via

‘Das fahrende Tonstudio’ (The travelling

Music Studio) and without the need for

large technical investment on the part of

the school.

Ecole d’Humanité: Where Holistic

Learning and Innovation Meet

The Ecole d’Humanité is a bilingual

(English/German) boarding school in

Bern, Switzerland. The school offers an

innovative, progressive education and

focuses on nurturing students by giving

them the freedom and support to follow

their passions, both inside and outside the

classroom. It is this holistic approach to

education that made them the perfect fit for

collaboration with Stefan Bregy and ‘Das

fahrende Tonstudio’.

For the Love of Music

Having started his relationship with music

at a young age, Stefan Bregy knew that

it would always form part of his life.

However, as a young adult, he prioritised

job security, studied geography and

chemistry and trained to be a teacher.

Although passionate about his high school

teaching commitments, music was never

far from sight. Over the years Stefan has

held many roles including keyboardist,

producer and musical director for some of

Switzerland’s most successful musicians.

It was during this time that Stefan began

conceptualising a programme where

students could learn about music and

record their own tracks. Over time the idea

developed and matured into a full-service

mobile recording studio.

The ECOLE.sounds Project

The ECOLE.sounds project is more than

just an “add on” to regular classroom

work. It is a year-long, multidisciplinary

project that explores music and sound

from a variety of perspectives. During the

year, students will compose music, record

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 36


original compositions, and produce and

publish their finished pieces. Another

unique component of this course is that

students study the theory of sound and the

musical properties of shapes and materials.

Then they are challenged to craft a musical

instrument of their own design, which then

become an important part of their musical

composition.

“For the first day or two, I’m really

technical – students learn how to use the

microphones, the computers, and the

programmes. Then, they are free! They can

decide whether they want to do a singer/

song writer soft project, or if they will go

into hardcore techno beats, or even classical

music!” Said Bregy of the ECOLE.sounds

project.

The ECOLE.sounds project is delivered

in three-parts: 1. composition, recording,

and production; 2. Research into

generative music composed using computer

programmes; and 3. a musical performance

with their self-crafted instruments.

In the 2021, students completed units

on the theory of sound and applied the

principles of physics in the construction of

musical instruments.

The next project phase sees students

explore generative music and will create

works of art in the form of sound

sculptures. Part of this process includes

learning how to use music production

software and equipment. Students will

also develop and design their own

algorithms.

Project Outcomes

The ECOLE.sounds project is set to wrap

up at the end on the 2021/22 school year

and will culminate in three musical works

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 37

of art:

• A piece of music composed, recorded,

and produced by students.

• An acoustic art installation. This is an art

form that explores the interplay of music

and visual arts created and curated by

students.

• A concert with music composed by

students and played on the instruments

constructed by students in the first phase of

the project.


Benefits Beyond Music

The benefits of the project are far reaching

and include both academic extension and

personal development. The ECOLE.sounds

project is designed to encourage students

to explore various aspects of music and

sound. Although the course is academically

challenging, students gain great benefit and

motivation from seeing and hearing their

work come to life.

As well as gaining confidence in

themselves and becoming familiar with

new technologies, students learn important

real-world skills like project management,

problem solving, commitment and

focus. Additionally, students develop an

appreciation and understanding of a

variety of musical genres.

“If you are creating one song during a week, you

must really focus on what it is you’re doing, and

what you want to achieve.”

– Stefan Bregy

Canton of Bern in cooperation with the

Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.

Today, education is much more than

traditional subjects and rote learning.

Ecole d’Humanité is leading the way with

innovative, student-directed activities and

exciting outcomes. The ECOLE.sounds

project is an exceptional example of how a

subject can be taught across disciplines and

adapted to the needs of individual students,

while maintaining academic rigour and

most importantly, fun!

Although, ongoing the ECOLE.sounds

project was acknowledged for innovation

as part of the 2021 Tête-à-tête competition

for cultural promotion in schools by the

The Ecole d’Humanité is a progressive, international boarding school in the heart of

the Swiss Alps that fosters the discovery and development of individual talents in an

atmosphere that encourages self-determination, innovation, and tolerance. www.ecole.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 38


Ecole d’Humanité

The Creative International Boarding School

in the Bernese Alps

US High School curriculum

AP International Diploma | Swiss Matura

Education and Career Guidance

NESTLED IN THE

SWISS ALPS

Nestled in the High Swiss Alps, between

Lucerne and Interlaken, the Ecole d’Humanité

is a rather different place. No uniforms

here, no airs and graces, with a heart that

beats to music and dance, fueled by home

grown vegetables and goats cheese. The

pupils live in small chalets that form a village.

THE RIGHT SCHOOL

FOR HUMANITY AT

THE RIGHT TIME.

It is hard growing up today for young people;

they need vision and the skills to change things.

Whilst the Ecole does not pretend to have all the

answers, we have some of them, and equip our

pupils to challenge others and not be afraid to

say what they think.

JOIN THE GENERATION

CHANGE!

www.ecole.ch


A need for change:

addressing adolescent

mental health in Switzerland

WRITTEN BY DR MICHELLE WRIGHT AND DR MECKY MCNEIL FROM HEALTHFIRST

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 40

Navigating adolescence has never

been easy with all the physical,

neurobiological, cognitive, and

psychological changes that take place.

The good news is that most young people

master these challenges but sadly increasing

numbers are experiencing difficulties.

A recent report by UNICEF Switzerland

found that one in three young people

between the ages of 14-19 are struggling

with their mental health. Shockingly,

nearly one in two have experienced suicidal

thoughts and one in eleven have acted on

them. 1

Various factors have been cited as

contributing to these statistics including

social media, bullying, academic pressures,

and inadequate mental health support

resources. In addition, too often, mental

distress in adolescence is confused with


issues related to puberty and not recognized

as mental illness. If symptoms are not

picked up, chronic illness can develop,

hindering educational, social, and personal

development. It is a fact that half of all

mental illnesses begin before the age of 18

and three quarters before the age of 25.

These statistics show that young people

are struggling and are not getting the

support they need. They highlight the fact

that those working with, and caring for,

young people must understand more about

mental illness and become part of the

prevention and early intervention approach

necessary to improve the situation. This is

exactly where Mental Health First Aid fits

in.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid training began in

Australia in the year 2000. The goal was

to develop a concept like that available for

physical first aid, empowering lay people

to provide initial support to someone with

a mental health problem. The training has

since been rolled out in many countries

across the globe and was launched in

Switzerland in 2018 by the Pro Mente Sana

Foundation. Now with more than 3 million

Mental Health First Aiders worldwide, the

success of the programme is a result of its

robust scientific basis and evidence-based

course materials.

The Mental Health First Aid training

programme is called ‘ensa’ in Switzerland.

‘Ensa’ means ‘answer’ in one of the

Aboriginal languages, paying tribute to the

Australian roots, and being translatable

across the different languages used in the

country.

What is ensa Mental Health First Aid

Focus Youth?

The ensa Mental Health First Aid Focus

Youth course is a dedicated training aimed

at adults who want to learn how to support

young people struggling with their mental

health. It is recommended for anyone living

or working with adolescents, including

parents, teachers, youth group leaders and

other support staff.

The programme covers the most common

mental illnesses and crises affecting young

people. It equips participants with the skills

and confidence to spot the signs when a

young person may be struggling with their

mental health. It teaches them how to

reach out and listen non-judgementally and

then encourage the young person to seek

any professional help they may need. This

proactive approach can accelerate a young

person’s recovery and has the potential to

prevent a mental health issue from getting

worse.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 41

The other important goal of the training

is to encourage participants to look after

their own mental health and so become

good role models for young people entrusted

to their care.

There is definitely the need for change

when it comes to addressing adolescent

mental health in Switzerland. Our collective

call to action must be to strive towards a

future where mental and physical health

are valued equally so that we live in a

community where young people feel

comfortable talking about their mental

health and have access to the support they

need.

Want to learn more?

HealthFirst, as a registered partner of ensa

Switzerland, will be running Mental Health

First Aid Focus Youth courses from May

2022 onwards. Two information sessions

will be held virtually on Tuesday 3rd May

2022 where you can learn more about the

ensa Youth programme and other related

trainings. Visit www.healthfirst.ch for more

information and email contact@healthfirst.

ch to register.

References

1. https://www.unicef.ch/de/unsere-arbeit/

schweiz-liechtenstein/psychische-gesundheit


BOOK

CLUB

A guide to

the Swiss

educational

system

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM

The Swiss international school system has been wrestled

with by international families looking for the ideal niche

for their children for decades. But such a nuanced system

needs a knowledgeable escort - and here in the newest guidebook,

we find one in Robin Hull.

A guide to the Swiss educational system, published last year, offers

an essential guide to the Swiss school system for parents of

international families, particularly those from the UK and Ireland.

The book will help those intending to settle in Switzerland longterm,

planning the next steps for children already in the system

or approaching it for the first time. This sets it apart from many

similar guides, which instead focus on international schools in

Switzerland and tend to cater to short term ex-pat families.

Book summary

The book is divided into 14 sections, concluding with a couple

of chapters of conclusions and analysis. Robin looks first at an

overview of the system as a whole, from primary school through to

further education - including information for students with special

needs.

Next, Robin compares the education systems of Switzerland and

the UK, illustrating the differences in school characteristics and

curriculum and how students and their parents can navigate this.

Alongside a more factual basis, he also tackles broader cultural

contexts, such as the societal and linguistic nuances of the Swiss

and the export of UK education and culture.

He then turns his attention to progression and goes on to

outline a typical Swiss school education, covering vocational

training, selection of the academic elite and the more liberalarts

“Matura”/“maturité”/“maturità”. Next, he explains how

international students can get accepted into the elite Swiss schools

and, once in, how they can go on to succeed. Finally, he aims to

cater to those struggling in the elite Swiss school system, explaining

how and why this may happen and the alternative options available

to families.

Robin also sheds valuable light on the later stages of the

education system, exploring apprenticeships, the relative merits of

the various Swiss examinations and qualifications, and a relatively

bleak look at the Swiss university system. Once again, there is a

direct comparison with UK higher education, in which he discusses

the main differences between the two.

Review

The book is comprehensive; there is a tremendous amount of

material to cover, and Robin has a very detailed understanding

of the system’s nuances. Moreover, he covers its full breadth and

geographical variations, from the German-speaking parts of

Switzerland and the Greater Zurich Area to the French-speaking

cantons, Italian-speaking cantons and the Rumantsch areas of

Graubünden. It’s a refreshing - if rather daunting - perspective

that offers a much more comprehensive view of the diversity of the

compulsory system.

Robin does acknowledge that complexity with a very clear

breakdown of the Swiss educational structures and offers handy

tables to make direct comparisons with the more familiar UK

system. In particular, the initial overview chapter from primary

school to university entrance and initial vocational training is an

excellent introduction for families at the start of their planning.

The book also sets itself apart by catering to students with

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 42


various needs and abilities - not just concentrating on the elite.

For example, the book offers a chapter of helpful information for

students with learning disabilities and special needs, advising on

counselling in English and access to support.

Overall, the book offers a handy

reference point for families at all stages

of their educational journey. However, it

is explicitly targeted at families from the

UK, with a considerable amount of UK

reference material. It, therefore, might

not be suitable as a guide to families from

elsewhere. In addition, there is some

tendency to discuss the negative elements

of each system, but this is balanced by

discussion and helps to prepare

families for the realities of

educational life in Switzerland.

Where to buy

The book is available online at https://guideto.

ch/, costing CHF 48. In addition, you can find a preview of the

book here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0342/1775/4669/

files/Preview.pdf ?v=1590693793.

Rating: ★★★★✩

Born in Switzerland to an English father and an

Italian-Swiss mother, Robin Hull has spent many years

in education and has experience with both the British

and Swiss education systems. He is an academic expert

and practitioner who has published many essays and articles on

education and English literature.

He currently works as an examiner for the Swiss Business

School, sits on several education boards, and is involved in

various education-related associations both in Switzerland

and abroad.

A guide to the Swiss educational system is his first book.

Robin hopes to help international students and their

families coming into the Swiss education system.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 43


Let’s Talk Consent

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM

Is it easy for you to talk about consent

with your kids? It should be, but as

parents many of us find topics around

intimacy and sexual activities difficult to

broach. We are not alone in our discomfort.

More often than not, it is an uncomfortable

topic for our children too. However, times

have changed and talking about consent

and sex in general isn’t something we can,

or should, ignore.

Consent is a relatively new topic, even

though the term first appeared in 1957.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that any serious

discussion of the concept took place and

even then, it has only recently become a

common theme of sex education.

How can we talk about consent with our

kids if we don’t really comprehend what it

is and how it applies?

So, what IS consent?

The Centre for Parent and Teen

Communication describes consent as “a

special kind of permission that people give

freely, knowingly, on a case-by-case basis,

and with the understanding that they can

take it back at any time. Most importantly,

consent is a shared decision. It’s not a

transaction or a deal, and there’s nothing

binding or mandatory about it.”

When is consent needed?

Consent is not just teaching boys to ask

before sex. All genders need to understand

that gaining consent applies to each of

them equally. And it’s not just sex. Consent

applies to the full gamut of intimate

experiences. Things like holding hands,

hugging, touching or even sexting requires

mutual agreement. Basically, anything that

has intimate or sexual intent, needs consent.

Consent can be broken down into a number

of key principles:

1Consent is mutual

Consent applies to everyone. Both

partners must understand and agree to the

same thing.

2Consent is needed every single time

and CAN be revoked

Just because it is given once, does not mean

it will be given again. Consent can be taken

back at ANY time. Agreeing to contact

is not a binding contract and there is no

obligation to continue with anything that

causes discomfort. Even the instigator is

able to change their mind at any time.

3Consent is informed

A person cannot consent to something

they do not understand. Both parties must

fully comprehend what they are agreeing to.

4Consent must be given freely

If a person has been made to feel guilty,

embarrassed or pressured to the point that

they say yes – that is not consent. Similarly,

consent cannot be given by someone who is

drunk, taken drugs, passed out or sleeping.

5Consent must be enthusiastic,

certain, and clear

A “maybe” or “I think so” is not consent.

The answer must be YES (or similar)

backed up with a level of enthusiasm and

supporting body language.

Why consent is a hard topic for teens

It’s not easy being a teenager. Arguably,

these days it is even harder with social

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 44


media and the internet adding to the

pressure of how to look and act. Even in

the generation of Malala and Greta, there

are still a number of barriers to teens

understanding and exercising consent:

Peer pressure: Although not a new

phenomenon, peer pressure remains a very

real and dangerous aspect of teenage life.

Information quality: The internet hosts

a flood of information. The issue is not

a lack of information, rather the lack of

good, balanced, and accurate information.

Knowing how to have conversations

about consent with their partners: You

may think teens talk about sex all the time

– and in some cases this is true. However,

chatting to your friends about sex is vastly

different to talking about sexual contact

with a girl- or boyfriend.

Knowing who to talk to: Not every

teen is going to feel comfortable talking

to their parents about issues surrounding

sex. Many feel they do not have a person

they can approach with their questions and

problems.

How to have a conversation about

consent

Talking about consent with our children is

not easy, especially if culturally discussing

sex is somewhat taboo. Although teens

get some sex education at school, it is our

responsibility as parents to ensure the

message is received.

Explaining how consent works is

fundamental and using an analogy is a

good way to simplify this topic. Imagining

something like a car or item of clothing

makes the concept of consent easier to

grasp and clearly illustrates the absurdity of

not asking permission.

Example Analogy: Borrowing a Car

Your friend let you borrow their car last week. The

permission they gave you was for last week only.

To borrow the car this week, you would need to ask

again.

You must get consent every time.

This week the same friend lets you borrow their car

but a few hours later they ask for it back. Maybe

they don’t tell you why they need the car back, but it

is their car, so you return it.

You can take your consent back at any

time.

You ask your friend if you can use their car today.

Your friend says “No”. But you say, “We’re friends,

so you should let me use it!” And even though your

friend really doesn’t want to, they give in and say,

“Okay.” They don’t want to, but they feel like they

have to give you the car.

Putting pressure on someone to agree

is not consent.

Having conversations around sex and

intimacy might be uncomfortable. But they

are necessary. Ultimately, we must empower

our children to make informed choices and

understand their role in the gaining and

giving of consent.

Center for Parent and Teen Communication. (2019, Nov, 25). What is Consent? https://parentandteen.com/what-is-consent/

Disrespect NoBody. (unknown). Recognising Consent. https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk/consent/signs-to-spot/

Indiana University. (unknown). Consent. https://stopsexualviolence.iu.edu/policies-terms/consent.html

Kidshelpline. (unknown). What is Consent? https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/what-consent

RAINN. (unknown). What Consent Looks Like. https://www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent

Teaching Sexual Health.ca. (unknown). Consent. https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-topic/understanding-consent/

The Week. (2021, Mar, 15). The ages of consent around the world. https://www.theweek.co.uk/92121/ages-of-consent-around-the-world

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 45


REVISION

A how to guide

for parents

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 46


By the time they are teenagers, physiologically our children’s

brains are about 95% of their full adult size. However, as

they hit adolescence and experience hormonal changes

their brains go through another significant phase of development.

This brain growth doesn’t happen all at once. Over time different

parts of the brain develop and at different rates. The point here is

not to bore you with brain science, rather to make you understand

that teenagers are going through a lot. Even though we want our

children to act and behave as young adults, the reality is, sometimes

the brain just says, no.

At some point society decided that high school was the perfect

time to test children’s knowledge with future defining exams.

Yes, most of you reading this article went through this phase and

survived. However, very few of you would look back on these

exams fondly.

How do we make these exams less awful? By being prepared.

How do we prepare? We revise.

Sometimes convincing your child to revise is a mission of epic

proportions. However, it doesn’t need to be a battle. Let’s explore

how you as a parent can motivate and support your child’s revision.

How much revision is needed?

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much revision is right or

even enough. It largely depends on the child and their personal

learning style. At tertiary level the magic number is often touted as

three - five hours per day, five days per week. But what about our

children? Surely five hours per day is unrealistic for our pre-teen

and teens?

A Spanish study of 7,451 teenagers found that students who

studied for 90 – 110 minutes per day achieved the highest test

scores. However, the gains made after 60 minutes of study were

minimal. This means that although effective, studying for longer

than an hour in a single session is less efficient for teenagers

(Fernández-Alonso, R., et al., 2015).

What does this tell us? That study needs to be broken up into

manageable pieces to work. Revision is a case of quality over

quantity.

“We can only focus up to a certain amount of time. There’s no point students

being at their desks for hours if they spend half of that time procrastinating.” –

The Inner Drive, Mindset Coaching for Education and Sport

How to motivate kids

There are millions of reasons why your child might lack

the motivation to revise. This doesn’t make your child lazy,

unintelligent, or aloof. There are many valid reasons as to why

revision isn’t happening. It could be as simple as that they don’t

know how. Perhaps they are overwhelmed by the perceived size of

this task? Or maybe they think it is too early to start? The first step

in motivating your child is to understand where they are at.

Here are a few techniques that you can use to combat common

barriers to revision:

Issue: They don’t know how to revise

If your child doesn’t know how to revise, they will not be motivated

to do it. Talk to their teacher and ask them for their tips, or to

recommend helpful resources. The internet is also a great source;

from study plans to information on different revision styles.

Issue: Your child is overwhelmed

When you think about it, revising for multiple exams is mammoth

task. It is easy to see that this might be overwhelming to your child

and by extension, to your nerves. The most effective way to fight

overwhelm is to break revision up into small pieces. A good way to

do this is by creating a revision timetable. Make sure study hours

include breaks and that your child rewards themselves regularly

– this could be a simple as a hot chocolate or going for a walk

outside.

Issue: Your child thinks they have time

A teenager’s perceive time is vastly different to our own. As adults,

three months goes by in the blink of an eye, whereas for a teen it

feels like forever. That is until their exams are days away. There is

no fail-safe way of handling this. One thing you could point out is

that the sooner they start the smaller the revision load will be closer

to the exam. While their friends are panicking, your child can

be calm knowing that they have revised all the materials and can

instead focus on light study and practice exams.

How about proven revision techniques?

Not all revision techniques are created equal. Nor will they work

for each person equally. Here’s an example of two tried and tested,

simple but effective revision techniques that you can explore with

your child.

Retrieval practice

Retrieval practice is one of the most effective revision strategies of

all time. It includes things like taking past exams for practice, flash

card learning, multiple choice tests or answering questions aloud.

Spacing

Spacing is based on the principle of doing a little bit of revision

regularly. For this technique to work well, it has to be started well in

advance of any upcoming exams.

Getting our children to revise can be tough, but there are many

things that we can do as parents to support them. Whether it

be helping them to manage their nerves, to create their study

timetable, by minimising distractions or providing them with snacks

to fuel study sessions, it is our job to be understanding and help our

children navigate the build up to their exams.

BBC., (unknown). Five ways to help your kids kick-start revision.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zmy692p

Birmingham City University., (unknown). How much revision

should I do a day? https://www.bcu.ac.uk/exams-and-revision/

time-management-tips/how-much-revision-should-i-do-a-day

Inner Drive., (unknown). How Much Should Students Revise?

https://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/how-much-should-students-revise

Inner Drive., (unknown). The Best Ways to Revise https://www.

innerdrive.co.uk/what-are-the-best-ways-to-revise/

Raisingchildren.net.au., (unknown). Brain development in preteens

and teenagers. https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/

development/understanding-your-pre-teen/brain-developmentteens

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 47


The ins and outs of

the PYP and MYP

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM

As part of the International School

community, many of our children

are, or will be, enrolled in Primary

or Middle Years Programmes, known

as the PYP and MYP. But how many of

us actually know what and how are our

children learning? This article will explore

the key aspects of the PYP and MYP

curriculums and what we can expect from

these programmes.

Let’s start at the beginning. In 1968 a

group of innovative educators founded

International Baccalaureate (IB) in

Geneva, Switzerland. The organisation

offers programmes, such as the PYP or

MYP designed to “gives students distinct

advantages by building their critical

thinking skills, nurturing their curiosity and

their ability to solve complex problems.”

In order for a school to be an IB World

School and offer one or more International

Baccalaureate programmes, it must

complete (and pass) a rigorous authorisation

process.

What is the PYP?

The PYP is the IB’s programme for

children aged 3-12. IB describes it as

“a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based and

student-centred education with responsible

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 48


action at its core, enabling students to learn

between, across and beyond traditional

subject boundaries”.

It is impossible to nurture a 3-year-old

and a 12-year-old in the same way. Hence,

the PYP has been developed to suit learners

at each stage of their developmental

journey. For example, the curriculum for

kids aged between three and six years

old includes play, exploration and selfawareness,

whereas for older children it is

more formal in structure and has greater

emphasis on critical thinking.

The PYP Curriculum

The PYP is transdisciplinary, meaning that

it encompasses a number of disciplines at

the same time.

The PYP has been broken up into six

themes, each selected to promote the use

of a variety of skills that are traditionally

separated into subjects. For example, rather

than simply learn math, mathematical

skills are built into a theme and taught

in context. These themes are designed to

encourage children to ask questions like

“How does the world work? Who am I?

How can we build a sustainable society?”

However, no two curriculums are exactly

the same. Each individual school is able to

create a programme that incorporates the

characteristics, culture and values of their

wider community.

What Makes the PYP Special?

In our daily lives we are required to use a

wide range of skills simultaneously – we

naturally integrate knowledge and tools

from across our learnings to complete even

the simplest task. For instance, visiting the

supermarket requires us to read, calculate,

use judgement, communicate, and even

exercise patience and tolerance. The PYP

allows children to develop these skills at a

very early age preparing them for life in

general.

At the end of the PYP you can chose to

(re)introduce your child into the local school

system or continue on the international

track with the Middle Years Programme

(MYP).

What is the MYP?

The MYP is the continuation and extension

of the PYP. In essence if follows the

same mission to develop well-rounded,

global citizens. Additionally, there is an

even greater focus on applying classroom

knowledge to real life.

The MYP does not replace high school

in the traditional sense. It is specifically for

students aged 11 to 16. The MYP is usually

a complete five-year programme, however,

individual schools can also apply to offer

compact versions of two, three or four

years.

The MYP Curriculum

Like the PYP, the MYP centres on a set

of focus areas as well as units in 8 subject

groups: Language A (English or mother

tongue), Language B (an additional

language), Maths, Sciences, Humanities,

Technology, the Arts and Physical

Education.

The MYP is designed to be academically

rigorous and challenge students to use

initiative, problem solving and time

management.

Let’s look at the 5 focus areas of the MYP

in more detail:

Approaches to Learning (ALT)

In ALT students essentially learn how to

learn. It provides our children with skills

that they can and will apply to study and

learning for the rest of their lives.

Health and Social Education (HSE)

HSE focuses on respect for body and mind

and aims to empower students to make

informed decisions.

Community and Service (CS)

Students gain a sense of community

beyond the school, as well as learn the

importance of social responsibility.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 49


Human Ingenuity (HI)

Students are taught to appreciate the

creativity of human invention and the quest

for improving life for all.

Environments

In Environments students learn about the

state of our world and develop a sense of

responsibility for affecting change.

The Benefits of MYP Study

Aside from providing students with essential

real-world skills, the MYP gives them

a greater role in their own education.

The MYP has a degree of flexibility that

empowers students to tailor their learning

experience to match their needs, interests,

and goals. This approach is hugely

beneficial, particularly for students that

find traditional methods and structure

overwhelming.

What comes next?

After the MYP, the natural next step is the

IB Diploma. This provides students aged

16-19 with a certified qualification to enter

a higher education institution.

The MYP boasts a similar philosophy

to the IB Diploma and introduces students

to the learning styles and expectations of

the Diploma Programme. Subsequently,

students who have completed the MYP are

able to hit the ground running. That said,

there is no obligation to continue onto the

IB Diploma. The skills learnt during the

MYP are fully transferable to other forms

of public and private education.

For those of us who experienced a

traditional education, the structure and

methodology of IB courses may seem far

from our understanding of curriculum

and education in general. However,

they are based on the rigours of today’s

world. Whether your child begins their

international education at PYP or MYP

level, both programmes are designed to

nurture their growth and guide them

towards competent and practical global

citizenry.

Baccalaureate. (unknown). Primary Years Programme. https://www.ibo.org/programmes/

primary-years-programme/

International Baccalaureate. (unknown). Curriculum Framework (PYP). https://www.ibo.

org/programmes/primary-years-programme/curriculum/

International Baccalaureate. (unknown). How the PYP Works. https://www.ibo.org/

programmes/primary-years-programme/how-the-pyp-works/

International Baccalaureate. (unknown). What is the MYP?. https://www.ibo.org/

programmes/middle-years-programme/what-is-the-myp/

International Baccalaureate. (unknown). MYP Studieshttps://www.ibo.org/research/

outcomes-research/myp-studies/

EDucation. (unknown). What is the PYP?. https://www.whatisib.com/what-is-pyp.html

EDucation. (unknown). What is MYP?. https://www.whatisib.com/what-is-myp.html

World Schools. (unknown). What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years

Programme (PYP)? https://world-schools.com/what-is-the-ib-primary-years-programmepyp/

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 50


Your Swiss summer

Family

vacation

With its stunning peaks and gently

rolling hills, picturesque lakes and

idyllic streams, mysterious caves and

dramatic gorges, Switzerland provides

a unique and alluring backdrop for

unforgettable family holidays.

Family destinations.

Children want to let off steam, to explore new things and

to be adventurous – especially on holidays. Parents and

other accompanying persons would like to enjoy a

moment without the kids from time to time – but they

need to be sure that the children are in a group of peers

and well looked after. The Family Destination label is

awarded to holiday places and destinations which know

all about these wishes and needs and shape their

services accordingly.

MySwitzerland.com/family

Family accommodation.

The “Swiss Family Hotel & Lodging” accommodation label

stands for stress-free family holidays. Whether it’s a simple

mountain guesthouse, a comfortable holiday apartment

or a luxurious hotel – all have one thing in common, namely

family-friendly appeal and an approach that makes both

children and their parents feel instantly at ease.

MySwitzerland.com/familyhotels

City experiences.

Swiss cities are very family-friendly and offer numerous experiences for

families. For example outdoor raclette. Raclette is one of THE Swiss

specialities. To enjoy one in the open air is an absolute highlight. The

wonderful ride on the MOB cogwheel train leads from Vevey up to the

Restaurant des Pléiades, only 200 metres from the arrival station.

Here visitors will find everything they need to enjoy an outdoor raclette.

The restaurant is also the starting point for numerous hikes. A hiking

map helps you to choose your favourite route. There is almost

everything: from a short walk to a long hike.

MySwitzerland.com/cities

Find more inspirational experiences and tips: MySwitzerland.com/expats

or contact expats@switzerland.com or phone 0800 100 200.


Viburnum tinus

“Eve Price”

©HM

In Praise of (early) Flowers

WRITTEN BY HESTER MACDONALD

There’s something very cheering

about the sight of a plant bravely

flowering at this time of year,

despite the elements. It’s not just humans

that appreciate early-flowering plants; bees

and other nectar and pollen-hungry insects

depend on them too. They particularly

need food sources at a time of year when

they first venture from the hive, such as on

warm days in late winter or early spring.

You can help your local bee populations

survive and even recover from the winter

by having a wide selection of late winter

and early spring-flowering plants in a

garden or on a balcony. The ideal is to have

something in flower every day of the year,

but if space is tight or budgets are limited,

then it’s a good tactic to focus on providing

food for the hardest times of year for bees.

You can leave the summer months to other

gardens and gardeners, as there’s plenty

to choose from then, but in the January-

March period there isn’t much for bees to

nourish themselves and their hives.

Small trees, like Chimonanthus praecox,

or “wintersweet” are easy to include in a

family or school garden. They make an

attractive feature planted on their own,

or combine well with other shrubs and

perennials in a mixed border. As well as

their beautiful butter-yellow petals, up close

you can see the gorgeous contrast of the

deep red centres. Once you get near to the

plant you can enjoy the fragrance, which

is the real appeal of this, and many other

winter-flowering shrubs. In order to attract

pollinators from far and wide, the plant

needs to smell sweet and distinctive. This

plant has a fragrance somewhere between

that of cloves and honey, and is well worth

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 52

a trip down the garden on a warm day, or

better yet, plant it by a door so you can

enjoy the smell without even putting on

your boots. Like many winter-flowering

plants, the flowers of Chimonanthus are

slightly waxy, which helps them to resist

the rain, and hang down from the leafless

branches, also to help the rain to drip

straight off without damaging the pollen.

Viburnums come in all shapes and sizes,

a genus of shrubs and small trees that

thrive in the Northern Hemisphere with

a few, more unusual members managing

to survive in Asia and Africa too. Two

particular members of the genus are

fantastic for providing nectar and pollen for

bees in early spring. The first is Viburnum

tinus, which is a very adaptable evergreen

shrub. If left unpruned it gets to about

3m tall and wide, but is easy to prune


if you want to keep it shorter, and can

make a good hedge plant. The smaller

varieties, like the very pretty “Lisarose”

or “Eve Price” will thrive for many years

in containers on a balcony. The deep red

buds appear before Christmas, and the

white or pink flowers open gradually during

warm spells until late March.

Viburnum bodnantense is a deciduous

cousin of the Viburnum tinus, and is worth

including in a garden for the wonderful

flowers and attractive foliage. As you

might expect of a plant named after a

garden in Wales (the wonderful Bodnant

garden, owned by the National Trust,

near Conway) it is very cold-hardy, coping

easily with temperatures down to -15C,

and is unfussy about soil and situation. I

have mine in a cramped spot between a

Portuguese laurel and a tulip tree, and it

flowers beautifully every January. Like

the Viburnum tinus, the flowers take a

while to open, over several weeks, which

maximises their usefulness to bees, as well

as their period of interest to gardeners. I

particularly like the cultivar “Dawn” for

the exorbitantly pink flowers and superb

perfume. It’s not suitable for pots, as the

branches quickly get tall and unbalanced,

but you can cut the stems before the buds

open and enjoy the fragrance and colour in

vases in the house.

If you don’t have space for big plants like

this, or want to be able to enjoy them close

to the house, then there are lots of options

for nectar-rich winter and spring-flowering

plants that are perfect for pots.

Hellebores, also called Christmas or

Lenten roses, depending on the species,

have been known in Europe since the

medieval period, and were used by

the Ancient Greeks to treat a variety

of ailments. Their use today is more

ornamental than medicinal, and their very

pretty flowers in a wide range of colours,

from green, to white, pinks, purples, reds

and even some deep greys, make a great

addition to any winter container or flower

bed. The bees will thank you if you choose

the flowers with the simplest forms, as the

nectar and pollen are more easily available

in these plants. The fancier the flower, with

double or even triple rows of petals, the less

likely it is that the bee will be able to access

the nectar, so if you, like me, love these

fancy forms, add in a couple of plain ones

as well to help the bees. Many people treat

hellebores as annuals, and just keep them

Heather

“Heathers are a staple of winter colour

containers, and their very long flowering

period provides bees and pollinators with

essential nectar-rich food sources.”

in pots for the winter, but they are, in fact,

long-lived perennials, and you can easily

re-plant them in a shady spot in the garden

after they have finished flowering, where

they will give you years of interest. You

will see that the different varieties readily

hybridise, with new colours popping up

every year.

Heathers are a staple of winter colour

containers, and their very long flowering

period provides bees and pollinators with

essential nectar-rich food sources, as well as

giving a big splash of colour for us humans.

Avoid the sprayed versions in weird colours,

they don’t flower as well as their unsprayed

cousins, even though the dye is vegetablebased,

and instead stick to the classic

pink, purple and white-flowered cultivars.

You’ll find three species grouped together

under the common name of “heathers” or

“heaths”, Erica, Calluna and Daboecia,

and it’s the Ericas that mostly flower in

winter, and are of most interest for solitary

bees and other pollinators. They combine

really well with other winter-flowering

container-friendly plants like hellebores and

cyclamen, and you can pop in some bulbs

underneath the plants to give some extra

©HM

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN 2021 | 53


ADVERTORIAL

Crocus and a

happy bee!

©HM

colour later in the season. When they’ve

finished flowering, you can plant them in

the garden, where they prefer an open,

sunny spot.

We all know how good honey is for our

health, not just for sore throats, but also

for healing wounds and minor burns. Did

you know that heather helps bees to fight

off a common gut parasite? The chemical,

called callunene, is found in Calluna

vulgaris, a summer-flowering heather. If

you want to give your local bees a boost,

maybe you could find a little spot in your

garden for some Calluna vulgaris too?

Winter aconite or Eranthis hyemalis

is a fantastic ground-cover plant that is

very easy to grow. It is a member of the

buttercup family, with attractive cupped

bright yellow flowers. It is typical of forest

floor plants, as the flowers and leaves

appear very early in the season, usually

around March, before the leaves in the

woodland canopy have opened, and die

back by mid-summer, when the light levels

have declined. You can grow it under trees

in the garden, or leave it to naturalise in

grass, either planting the bulbs in autumn,

or the plants “in the green” (with their

leaves, after flowering) in late spring. Bees

and other pollinators go crazy for the

nectar and pollen in these easy-access,

open flowers. One of my favourite patches

of aconites is in the Bern Rosengarten,

where they are combined with crocuses and

hellebores in a wonderful winter-beating

planting.

Crocuses are probably the easiest of all

spring-flowering bulbs. They are small,

robust, cheap to buy, and although one or

two might get dug up by squirrels, they

seem to be less attractive to being nibbled

by mice than some other bulbs. Once

planted, they flower year after year, slowly

increasing their numbers as the bulbs, or

“corms” as they are actually called, create

offsets, which are small bulblets, that will

grow into adult flowering corms. They are

the ultimate no-nonsense, low-maintenance,

spring splash of happiness for gardeners.

Luckily, bees love them too, particularly for

early emerging queen bumble bees, solitary

bees and foraging worker bees, looking

to replenish their stocks of pollen. The

majority of crocuses will provide this, and

nectar, but if you have a choice, look for

the varieties that flower earliest in the year.

There are also autumn-flowering crocuses,

which do very well in pots, and in rockeries

or in a sheltered position under other

shrubs. They provide essential fat stores for

bees late in the season to help them survive

the winter. You could even try growing

saffron crocuses, Crocus sativa, which are

autumn flowering, and enjoy a feast for the

eyes and the taste buds, as well as helping

our furry buzzing friends.

Hester Macdonald is a garden designer, broadcaster, and founder of the Swiss Gardening

School. She is also the author of “Gardens Schweiz Suisse Switzerland”, a trilingual

(English/French/German) guide to the 52 best gardens open to public across Switzerland,

published by Bergli Books, available in all good book shops.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 54


ADVERTORIAL

We open doors for our students by creating a diverse and inclusive

learning community.

World-class educators inspire our students to be their best selves,

achieve outstanding results and graduate with a 99% pass rate across

our 5 diplomas.

Our curriculum and extracurricular activities offer a breadth of

opportunities for students to develop their individual strengths.

We look forward to welcoming your child, from 2 to 18 years old, to

our international day and boarding school.

Contact us at: admissions@cdl.ch

www.cdl.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 55


ADVERTORIAL

to offering a high quality educational

programme, can make a huge difference.

Moving

to Zurich?

Moving from one country to another is one of the most thrilling but

challenging transitions your family will ever experience. It’s exciting and

terrifying in equal measures, but we’re here to tell you that this is also one

of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have, and we should know.

After more than a few sleepless

nights, your family has finally

made the decision to move to

accept an international posting in Zurich,

Switzerland. The children are excited,

already asking you what their new school

will be like and if they can have Swiss

chocolate every day, although you can

see they’re anxious about leaving their

friends behind. Meanwhile, their parents

have so much to think about and to do

that their heads are spinning. Packing,

moving, housing, paperwork, school, jobs,

insurances, plane tickets, permits, doctors,

dentists, the dog or cat, learning German,

all of it creating one giant to-do list that

only seems to get longer with each new day.

Choosing a school

The choice of school is usually the top

priority for most families with school aged

children. We recommend choosing a school

that is accredited and offers a recognised

top quality educational programme

based on an international curriculum and

sequence of learning that will, if needed,

easily transfer to other locations. For

example, the world renowned International

Baccalaureate Programme (IB) is a valuable

asset for children who are destined to

move schools given their parents’ job

posting to various countries. The world

renowned curriculum of the IB offers

students outstanding learning opportunities

as it empowers participants to inquire,

investigate and discover whilst developing

a love of learning under the direction of

highly qualified and trained IB teachers.

It’s also the gateway to higher education

opportunities.

Once the educational curriculum

programme choice is clear, it’s time to start

considering other factors that are important

when making the transition to another

country. Choosing a school that attends to

your family’s transitional needs, in addition

School diversity

At our school diversity is a key factor for

successful transitioning and our community

is truly international. Not only our students

and their families but also many of our staff

come from all over the world. This means

that most of us have been through the

process of transitioning from somewhere

familiar to somewhere new. We know what

it’s like to open your eyes on that first day,

where the light is different and the sounds

and smells are unfamiliar. We remember

how it is to barely understand a single word

someone says to you when they approach

you in the street, to go into the supermarket

and search in vain for a favourite breakfast

cereal, or to be brought up short by all the

little differences, even as you knew to expect

the big ones.

Providing support

We remember what it’s like when actions

and words that used to be second-nature

suddenly require deliberate thought, and

you begin to question your decision to move

away from everything familiar and beloved,

your friends and family, your professional

networks. And we remember what it’s like

to find yourself living somewhere where

it can seem as if you hardly recognise

yourself, let alone your surroundings.

But what we also know is that the one

element that can make a world of difference

throughout this transition process is

knowing that, when you arrive, a friend will

be there waiting for you. At our school, we

invite our newly arriving families to think of

our school community as that friend.

Helping to settle in

We’re like the local resident who already

knows the ropes and can’t wait to help

you settle in. We firmly believe that an

international school needs to make the

commitment to help families access

resources on different aspects of living in

Switzerland, from how to negotiate the

trains, trams, buses, and boats, to how to

select the best health insurance packages

for you and your family, along with the

all important question of where to live,

whether that be in the city of Zurich

itself, or in one of the charming villages

surrounding our school campus. And

because we know we can’t answer all your

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 56


ADVERTORIAL

questions, we will happily put you in touch

with experienced relocation professionals

who can answer these questions.

Building friendships

As far as your child is concerned, the best

cure for homesickness and nerves is to get

to know other children as soon as possible.

Look for a school that offers some type

of a student networking programme. For

example, at ICS, we’ve created a Primary

Student Buddy and Secondary Student

Ambassador programme to help children

build friendships as soon as possible.

Your child is connected immediately with

students of a similar age, who help them

through their transition into the school

community and into life in Zurich. They’ll

start to feel at home much sooner than

you thought possible when these types of

programmes are available.

Vibrant Parents’ Association

And while we understand that seeing your

child settled and happy in a supportive

learning environment is what will make you

happy, we know that feeling like you belong

too is just as important. It’s through getting

to know other parents and participating in

the huge range of activities on offer—all

organised by parents—and making new

friends yourself, that you’ll realise Zurich is

really starting to feel like home. Make sure

to choose a school that has an active and

vibrant Parents’ Association to permit you

to get involved and engaged.

Beautiful location

Zurich and Switzerland truly is a beautiful

spot to create a home away from home

and the school settings in this country must

often be seen to be believed. For example,

our campus is located in the gorgeous

Zurich countryside, something of which

we take full advantage of, with our forest

programmes and research garden. Yet we’re

easily accessed by public transport from the

city centre and surrounding areas, many

of which are located on the shores of Lake

Zurich, perfect for swimming and water

sports, and with the Swiss Alps providing

a gorgeous background that, at first, you

won’t believe is real. Many of our students

come to school via public transport but we,

along with most international schools, also

offer a convenient school bus service.

Helping you transition to next location

An international family’s stay in Switzerland

might only be short-term, which is why

it is critical for an international school to

have a programme in place to help you

transition to your next location. Look for an

exit programme that will assist your child to

smoothly transition to their next new school

if another move becomes a reality.

Feeling at home

We can’t take away all the stress of

transitioning to a new place, but we

believe that you should look for a school

that wants to make sure you and your

become cherished members of the school

community. You and your family will be

feeling at home in Zurich, in no time,

because that’s what friends do.

At ICS, we can’t wait to meet you.

At the Inter-Community School Zurich (ICS), our assessment practices include answering

three important questions for parents: What is my child learning? How do I know my child

is learning? What can I do to support my child’s learning? To arrange an appointment with

our Admissions team, or to find out more about the international school of first choice in

Zurich, visit our website at www.icsz.ch.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 57


Dogs have

super powers

PERMAH Pups!

How can our canine companions help us survive and even thrive in these pandemic times?

WRITTEN BY CLIVE LEACH & ROZ RIMES

The last 18 months have been a

testing time for us all and has seen

us grappling with new challenges

forced on our already complex and

challenging lives. We have had to sustain our

resilience within our families, schools and

workplaces. Losses, lockdowns, lethargy and

loneliness, have all taken their toll. But, of

course, those of us with dogs will know they

have been influential in helping us through.

But how do they (and other pets) impact

positively on our well-being?

The science of well-being and Positive

Psychology, tell us that there are many

things we can do to enhance well-being in

ourselves and those around us. For example,

experiencing positive emotions, showing

compassion and helping others, using

our strengths, being mindful, practising

gratitude and savouring, and investing in

building high-quality connections (Waters et

al, 2021).

These interventions do three critical

things. They:

1. Buffer against the risks of anxiety,

stress and depression that can result from

the impact of the pandemic and other

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 58


Roz with

Rafa & Flash

“Savouring our interactions with dogs can be

such a wellbeing boost, particularly when we are

experiencing the primary and vicarious impacts of

ongoing stressors within our communities.” Dr Tom

Brunzell

adversities we face in life.

2. Bolster our resilience to navigate

successfully through these difficult times.

3. Build our capacity to grow and flourish

and make the very best of the opportunities

the world still has to offer us.

To help people better understand

what well-being is, many schools and

organisations have started applying a

much-used, evidence-based framework

called PERMAH. This stands for Positive

Emotions; Engagement; Relationships;

Meaning; Accomplishment; Health.

PERMAH helps us realise what well-being

is and how we can enhance our capacity to

feel good and function well irrespective of

our circumstances.

As wellbeing coaches and dog-lovers, we

want to share with you some of the research

demonstrating the benefits of humananimal

interactions from both recent

studies and our own experience with our

PERMAH Pups Flash, Rafa, and Miss May.

Let’s explore how our four-legged

family members and friends might have

contributed to building PERMAH for

ourselves and our families during these

unprecedented times.

We’ll also give you some ‘Pawsitive

Pointers’ that you can apply to help you

be more mindful of the contribution

interacting with your dog or other people’s

dogs can make to your family’s wellbeing.

P = Positive Emotions

The ability to experience a full range of

emotions from fear and anger to joy and

excitement is a sign of positive mental

health. Of course, no one goes around

being ‘happy’ all the time! But we do need

to be mindful of what we call the ‘negativity

bias’ and understand that because negative

emotions are stronger, we feel them more

acutely and pay more attention to them

than positive emotions. So, it’s crucial

to generate more positive emotions,

particularly in this challenging time as the

pandemic impacts. This is because the

experience of positive emotions broaden

our ability to learn, be creative and find

solutions. They also build our physical,

mental and social resources, so we are

stronger and more resilient in the face of

life’s stresses and pressures.

What emotions do you experience

when you are interacting with your dog?

Interacting with dogs can bring about

feelings of love, joy, serenity, laughter,

gratitude, pride, curiosity and even awe

when they do some truly amazing things!

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 59

Dogs can reduce stress in students facing

deadlines and taking examinations, and they

can help calm and relax us just by observing

them in the environment, whether at home,

work or school. So they can be a comfort

during a high stakes event or in overcoming

a disappointment such as not making the

sports team or school play.

Our dogs feel positive emotions, too and

just looking (not staring) into their eyes can

relieve their stress and anxiety. Our feelings

can influence their feelings and vice versa.

As we relax, the dogs relax, and we can

attune to our dogs and co-regulate each

other. They can energise us in the morning

to get us moving or relax, calm and soothe

us in the evening before bed.

Our dogs provide many opportunities

for savouring in the present by luxuriating

in the feel of their fur. We can also savour

the past by reminiscing about their antics as

puppies and sharing stories with family and

friends. Looking forward to an upcoming

positive event with our dog is a way of

savouring the anticipation. So, our dogs can

help ramp up our positive emotions in the

here and now, reexperience the joys of the

past and look forward to good times still to

come.

Pawsitive Pointer: Dial up your senses,

especially sight, smell, hearing and touch

(taste could be tricky!) to savour positive

emotions and be present with your dog.

E = Engagement

When we are genuinely engaged, we get

into the ‘zone’ and the flow state, which is

excellent for our psychological health. We

feel energised and focused, fully involved,

wholly absorbed. We are also likely to

be using our strengths. For example, by

interacting with our dogs, we can become

immersed in pursuits such as feeding,

grooming, training and playing with them,

hiding toys, scent games, ball retrieving and

tricks. Being present with our dogs is a great

way to be in the moment, slow down and be

mindful. Rafa is very ball/play focused, and

he is a great role model, just concentrating

on one thing at a time.

Interacting with our dogs is also a great


way to develop our strengths or interests –

may be painting, photography, writing or

rambling. They can be the subject matter,

catalyst or motivator for our strengths and

interests. Curiosity is one of Roz’s top

strengths, and it spurred her on to find ways

to engage Rafa and Flash in Wellbeing

coaching. Clive loves photography and has

the perfect model in Miss May to practice

his creativity!

Pawsitive Pointer: Strengths Spotting

• What strengths do you have?

• What are your passions?

• How could you involve your dog?

Take the popular VIA Character

Strengths Survey to check out your top

strengths and see how you might find a way

to use them with your dog.

R = Relationships

Positive Relationships are crucial to our

capacity to flourish. Humans have an innate

propensity to attend to and be attracted by

other living things, so ‘other people matter’,

and our dogs do too! Love is a universal

emotion, and we express it through acts of

care, kindness, and compassion.

However, you can argue that a critical

difference between humans and dogs is that

dogs are much less judgmental. They don’t

care if you are short or tall or judge you

for your age, race, religion, politics, gender,

ability, beauty or just having a ‘bad hair

day’. They aren’t bothered if you’re rich

or poor, what school you go to, your job,

what car you drive or how big your house is!

Instead, they will love you unconditionally

if you are kind, caring, worthy of their trust

and gently stroke their tummies!

Dogs are lovely social support and help

build self-acceptance and self-esteem

in young people and adults and reduce

isolation and loneliness. They seek not

just attention but connection. They don’t

believe in ‘alone time’ but you and me

time! In addition, dogs are social lubricants

and stimulate interaction and conversation

between families, friends, work colleagues

and communities. So, dogs are both social

support and facilitate interactions between

others.

Pawsitive Pointer: Walk and Talk with

family or friends. Moving side by side

in the same direction, especially with

teenagers, is more conducive to nurturing

and maintaining healthy relationships and

healthy conversations.

M = Meaning

Having a sense of meaning in life is key

to our ability to flourish, and there are

many ways to find meaning through our

family, work and community. Meaning is

about being a part of and contributing to

something greater than ourselves. Having

a dog in our lives can add a real sense

of purpose, give reason to think and act

beyond ourselves and contribute to higher

pursuits as we commit to their responsible

care.

Meaning can also be enhanced through

activities with our dogs – being mindful

of their impact across all the PERMAH

dimensions. In the cases of Flash, Rafa

and Miss May, their work in Canine-

Assisted Therapy and as Wellbeing Dogs

is significant and purposeful for Clive and

Roz. It adds value to the lives of the dogs,

too, as they engage with and enjoy the

many interactions they have in the schools,

colleges, universities, hospitals and care

homes they visit.

Pawsitive Pointer: Adopt a Service

Mindset. What’s one thing you could do

with your dog to make a positive difference

to others?

Rafa’s powerful nose

A = Accomplishment

Humans have long realised dogs can be

helpful, evidenced by a history of dogs

working alongside people from many

industries and professions such as farmers,

the Police, first responders, Armed Services,

and the Health and Social Services sectors.

Dogs have proven themselves to be highly

adept and accomplished at assisting people

in fundamental ways through transport,

care, security, health screening and

guidance.

People feel accomplished when they

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 60


work towards and achieve rewarding and

meaningful goals, and for dog guardians,

this often starts with initial dog training

– learning to sit, stay, fetch, drop and

come back! Setting and striving towards

meaningful goals with your dog is a great

way to build hope in adults and young

people. This encourages a growth mindset

and pathways thinking as you find different

ways to overcome challenges and setbacks

and reach your goals.

Hopeful thinking leads to a range of

positive outcomes, such as positive selfesteem,

self-efficacy, pride, and improved

coping skills, which all enhance success in

school, work, and life.

Clive with

Miss May

Pawsitive Pointer: Set a goal to do

something with your dog, such as learning a

new trick.

H = Health

An obvious way dogs can positively impact

our lives is through our physical and mental

health. The regular exercise, fitness and

thinking space opportunities afforded

by dog walking are life-savers for many

people with busy family and professional

lives. Physical exercise produces feel-good

endorphins, improves muscle tone, lowers

blood pressure and improves circulation.

In addition, getting outside into fresh air

and experiencing the effects of nature can

increase longevity and aid health recovery.

From a mental health perspective, our

dogs can read our facial expressions and

body language and sense when we are

frightened and stressed. This is because

of their potent noses (see the photo of

Rafa’s nose), which smell cortisol (the stress

hormone) that we exude when anxious. The

challenging emotions that sometimes bubble

up are easier to regulate through physical

movement and giving attention to our dogs.

The loving and pleasant feelings we

experience when we engage with our dogs

lead to physical benefits such as stress relief,

lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and

improved cardiovascular functioning. They

also increase oxytocin (the cuddle hormone)

and create a sense of psychological safety,

connection, and belonging to self and

others. This is known as the ‘oxytocin

effect’ and can be very soothing, mutually

beneficial for you and your dog.

Pawsitive Pointer: When anxious,

engage in dog patting for between 5-25

mins.

Conclusion

Having dogs in our lives can genuinely

add value to and enhance each of the

critical dimensions that contribute to

our capacity to be resilient and flourish.

Dog guardianship can be stressful and

challenging, so there is that to consider.

However, both the research and reported

lived experience point overall to the

extraordinary benefits our PERMAH Pups

bring to our lives, as we do to theirs. We

hope this article helps you further appreciate

the value your canine companions add. In

addition that it has given you some ideas

for how together you and your families

can continue to thrive at school, work, and

home despite these ever challenging times.

References

Lea Waters et al. (2021) Positive psychology in a

pandemic: buffering, bolstering, and building mental

health, The Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI:

10.1080/17439760.2021.1871945

MGJones (2021) Canine Assisted Therapy. Guest

lecture Animal-Assisted Therapy for Healthcare

Professionals. Latrobe University 10th November

2021

Clive & Roz provide virtual 1:1 and group sessions on well-being to individuals, schools

and organisations in many parts of the world.

Clive Leach is an organisational coach who works widely in the international education

and business sectors on leadership, career development and wellbeing programs. He

and his Goldendoodle Miss May are Pets As Therapy Visiting PAT Dog volunteers. For

further information, contact coach@cliveleach.com or visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/

cliveleachconsultancy/.

Roz Rimes is a wellbeing educator coach and founder of the social enterprise ‘Live with

Zest’. She works in schools and universities with her Australian Labradoodles Flash and

Rafa, who have advanced Canine-Assisted Therapy qualifications. For further information,

contact roz@livewithzest.com.au or visit https://www.livewithzest.com.au/.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 61


Educational therapy,

the missing gap

between school

and psychological

therapy

WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA BULENS

What is educational therapy?

Educational therapy is provided most of

the time outside the school setting on a

1:1 basis and is different from tutoring. An

academic tutor will focus on the academics

of the student while an educational

therapist will use a broader method to

include neurodiverse children with learning

difficulties and thinking differences. In other

words, an educational therapist teaches

skills and strategies that go beyond the

package of a regular tutor.

Therapists can be teachers, SEN

teachers, occupational or speech therapists,

or others who have specialised themselves

in Education and at least in one another

subject, such as learning difficulties,

dyslexia, autism, etc... It is important to find

the right therapist for your child.

Ideal the therapist should have:

• Expertise in one or more academic

subjects.

• Know how to work with children from

different backgrounds and ethnicities.

• Be familiar with learning difficulties and

thinking differences.

But most important is that the

educational therapist understands the

behavioural and emotional issues that can

impact the student in school and amongst

peers.

The missing gap

Educational therapists provide psychoeducational

services to children with

neurodevelopmental disorders whether

they are diagnosed or not. Those can

include ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder,

Sensory Processing Disorder, any of the

DYS- learning difficulties.

Traditional tutors or teachers may

not fully understand the child’s learning

difficulties although schools these days are

doing their best to accommodate the child’s

learning difficulties. On the other hand,

psychologists and psychiatrists can meet the

child’s difficulties on a psychological level

but are not trained to meet the academic

difficulties. Here the educational therapist

can fill in the gap. Emphasising filling the

gap and not replacing one or either.

The educational therapist will use a

multisensory approach that follows the

Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

This allows children to engage in learning

in more than one way. Educational

therapists are specialised in one or more

areas depending on their background and

that is another reason to make sure you

choose the right educational therapist for

your child.

Let’s give an example.

An 11-year-old student is struggling in math

and has been since Yr3. The parents have

been through the process of diagnosing

their child. The child has dyscalculia and

has developed math anxiety over the last 3

years as he cannot follow his peers during

math class and is afraid to give the wrong

answer.

The parents tried to help their child

by hiring a private tutor. This tutor was

going over the math curriculum again, but

the child was getting upset and frustrated

because he had to do even more math,

which he now clearly dislikes because of his

difficulties.

This child did not make any progress with

the private tutor and to make things worse,

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 62

the child was also acting out in school. So,

the parents went to the psychologist to find

out why he was behaving out at school.

Here, the psychologist was able to explain

to the parents that he had math anxiety and

just thinking about math causes him to shut

down or to act out. While the psychologist

worked on his anxiety, his parents were

referred to an educational therapist at the

same time.

Only when the parents were able to

find an educational therapist, things got

better as the therapist understood the

diagnosis of dyscalculia and noticed that

the child was struggling with the number

sense. Number sense is a key ability within

math. It defines a quantity and relates

a written symbol for example 5 to the

quantity of five. This is an important part

of math as number sense and place value

are the basics abilities where every other

math function is based on. Going back

to place value and number sense using a

multisensory approach allowed the child to


gain a better understanding of these basic

functions. The parents remained reluctant

at first to go back to grade 1 math but once

explained why it was necessary to take this

step back and allow the child to gain a

better understanding, they understood the

importance of doing so.

In addition to reinforcing the basics of

the math curriculum, the educational

therapist will also approach the math

anxiety by teaching the child coping

strategies in addition to the work done

with the psychologist. This example

demonstrates the importance of the work

done by an educational therapist as it

increased the child’s self-confidence, selfregulation,

and academic results.

improve

So, what else can an educational

therapist do?

• They can identify behavioural or

emotional issues which can be caused by an

underlying learning difficulty.

• Teaching coping skills and strategies to

good academic and school habits.

• Teach time management and

organisational skills.

• Help the parents to understand their

child’s ILP (Individual Learning Plan) and

make sure that the goals on the ILP are

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable,

Results-oriented, and Time-bound).

• Can be the link between school and home

for both parents and child.

• Coaching of parents to continue the work

at home.

I am Samantha Bulens, an educational therapist, working at Auticoach in Geneva

which provides psycho-educational services.

My expertise lies in educating children with neurodevelopmental disorders

in particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity

Disorder (ADHD), and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) to increase their understanding

of their OWN minds and bodies using evidence-based approaches that will increase their

overall well-being and happiness.

I am specialised in teaching the interoception curriculum which teaches the child

how their body is feeling, connecting them to the right emotions, and act accordingly to

self-regulate independently. Besides the interoception curriculum, I also teach life skills,

independence training, and educational kinesiology whilst coaching parents and families.

Furthermore, as a licensed H.A.P.P.Y coach I provide happy plans for

the well-being and happiness of people with ASD. Being a mom of three

neurodiverse children, I can personally relate when it comes to learning

difficulties at school and the personal struggles at home.

For more information about me, visit my website at www.auticoach.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 63


Education

News

Vaud Private Schools contribute up to one and a

half billion francs per year to local economy

Astudy published last year by audit firm KPMG

reveals the extent of the economic added value

brought to the Canton of Vaud by its many private

schools. This century-old, traditional yet innovative sector

provides CHF1,5bn in direct and indirect contributions

and has a very positive impact on fiscal and public

spending. Moreover, the study confirms the favourable

effect of private schools on the attractiveness of the

Canton of Vaud.

The overall economic contribution of private education in the

Canton of Vaud totals nearly one and a half billion francs per year,

according to the abovementioned study. Calculated based on the

responses of some 40 establishments in the canton, which cater

to 60% of the Vaud’s private school pupils and students (approx.

20,000 people), this figure confirms the positive impact on the

canton of private education, the quality of which has been praised

for over a century.

Besides the very important, non-quantifiable benefits of

private education that make the canton attractive to international

organisations and businesses (national & international reputation,

prestige, influence, geography, etc.), Vaud’s private schools also

generate a significant amount of added value through their own

activities, the supply chain of their goods and services, and the

reinjection of value into the economy by actors involved in their

activities.

Moreover, by offering a variety of academic programmes and

options (international curricula, differentiated teaching, etc.) to

meet the growing needs of a student population searching for

alternative solutions, Vaud’s private schools make it possible to

reduce state education costs by CHF 156 million each year. They

also directly contribute, through the taxes paid by their employees

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 64


and by themselves, a total of CHF 50 million to the canton.

These figures are qualified as conservative by the authors of the

study, who claim not to have taken into consideration the tax paid

by people who decided to settle in the region because of its quality

private education.

For the President of AVDEP, Jean-Louis Dubler, this study

proves that “private education is indeed complementary to public

education as it adapts its curricula and educational pathways to

specific needs, by innovating continually and focusing on quality in

the canton of Vaud.”

Secretary General Baptiste Müller calls for legislative

improvements to ensure the private education sector is able to

continue meeting the needs of an open and well-connected society:

“The study shows just how much things are intertwined: quality

education breeds economic success and vice versa. We must make

sure that this winning formula, which has been thriving for over a

century, continues to bring the best in education to our Canton.”

Vaud has indeed been a place of choice for parents wanting the

best in international education for their children. From famous

boarding schools such as Le Rosey, Brillantmont and Champittet

to innovative multilingual and specialized institutes like Haut-Lac,

Moser and Swiss Hotel Management Schools, and Alpine schools

such as Aiglon College, Leysin American School and Beau Soleil,

Vaud boasts over 50 private schools that cater to all needs and meet

the industry’s highest standards. Most of these schools are also

members of the AVDEP, a professional association that promotes

innovation and quality in the private education sector by ensuring

all requirements are met.

AVDEP is the non-profit Association of Private Schools in Vaud,

whose aim is to promote the quality of private education and

guarantee good framework conditions. www.avdep.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 65


Six steps in changing

a school’s culture

WRITTEN BY FRAZER CAIRNS AND STUART ARMISTEAD

How - or rather, why - would you

take an academically successful,

efficiently functioning school with

a clear identity and turn it on its head?

The International School of Lausanne is

aiming to do exactly that by rethinking

what it means to be an English-language

international school.

English has been part of our identity

since we opened in 1962 with just 7

students. The school’s original name was

the English School of Lausanne, and

though the name has changed to reflect

the fact that it is now a truly international

school with representatives of 67

nationalities amongst its more than 900

students, until recently English remained

the main language of instruction and part

of our ‘reason for being.’

That said, like many schools, we have

watched the shift in language research

as it has moved from considering

multilingualism as an exceptional even

hazardous phenomenon, potentially at

the root of a number of difficulties such

as cognitive overload, semi-lingualism and

language confusion, to something that

provides learners with a strategic advantage.

Speakers of multiple languages learn

further languages more easily – they seem

to have a higher metalinguistic awareness

(in other words, they show a better

understanding of the nature of linguistic

structures) and a more analytical approach

towards the social and pragmatic functions

of language. However, more interestingly,

research suggests that speaking multiple

languages makes you better not just at other

languages, but also more creative and better

at mathematics, science, or history.

For the school to step away from English,

or rather to embrace a fuller understanding

of language by launching a dual language

programme, required it not just to bring

about a change in curriculum or a shift in

the staffing model, though both of these

things were necessary, but also to embark

on a change in culture. It is a process that

the school is still involved in, but when it

comes to an end we will have fundamentally

altered part of the way that we as a

community see, speak, and think about

ourselves.

How then does one go about such a

change? There are a range of management

tools that can be used to manage projects

such as this: the strategy canvas, directional

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 66


policy matrices, and McKinsey’s 7 S model

for example. Based on our experience,

however, we would like to suggest six steps

that can be taken as part of any such

change in a school, whether that change is

linked to language or to any other aspect of

what makes a school what it is.

1Think about your core values

and what really makes you what

you are

Our first team meeting on the subject

looked at what we were setting out to do.

Though it formed part of the implicit

understanding of the school, the words

‘English language’ were not actually part

of our mission statement. ‘Excellence’,

‘recognising the unique potential’ of our

students and equipping them to play a

‘responsible role in a multicultural world’

were. English, we saw, was a pragmatic

tool rather than philosophical choice.

Also at the heart of our discussion was the

school’s fundamental purpose. Absolutely

it was there to help young people succeed

individually, but it was also there to work

towards a better tomorrow through the

promotion of mutual understanding.

If you don’t understand the complexity

of language, our thinking went, you

can’t understand the nuance of culture.

Many conflicts have arisen from a lack of

understanding of culture and nuance.

We went away to do some research.

2Do your research

There are many good schools around

the world and we felt that almost

inevitably, possible solutions to our problem

were being discussed elsewhere. We looked

at research and, at other schools, there are

a host of versions of bilingual education

and we needed to understand what would

fit in our context. We were aware that

what might work well in another school or

situation might not work well for us. We

talked to heads of schools and classroom

teachers about how their systems worked

and thought about what elements of those

systems we could import into our own.

We also talked to our parents and students

about how they saw the place of language.

What we found was an enthusiasm, a

willingness for change, and a conviction

regarding the change that was surprising.

“As expats committed to settling in

Switzerland, the opportunity for our child

to be a part of a dual language pathway has

opened up so many opportunities. When

we asked our daughter why she would like

to be involved in the DL programme she

said ‘So when I go outside with my friends

in the neighbourhood I can speak French

with them’”

3Frame your idea and articulate

your goals

Having decided the direction we

wanted to head in, we started talking to

people so that they would understand why

a change was needed. We brought staff

together and helped them understand the

reasons for the change and what role they

could play in the process. We tried to ensure

that people had multiple opportunities to

contribute ideas for the implementation

process, and to provide feedback or share

concerns. We needed to determine our

staffing early on because one of our design

principles was that we wanted the teachers

to shape and own the programme. For that,

we needed to identify people willing to take

on such a significant project.

4Map out your plan

To address our specific community,

rather than propose a fully bilingual

approach, we decided to move forward

with a dual language class in one or several

year groups.The question then was which

ones? There were a number of possibilities:

research shows that early immersion

students tend to achieve higher levels

of oral proficiency than late immersion

students. Conversely, research has also

shown that students in later immersion

programmes can achieve similar technical

proficiency levels as those who were in early

immersion programmes.

Our decision was to use a stepped

approach starting with the launch of dual

language classes in Years 4 and 5. This

allowed us to have an immediate impact,

offer choice to families (the other classes

in the year groups would continue to be

English dominant), and to be targeted

in our curriculum development work.

We planned for and made explicit the

introduction of dual language classes in

Years 3 and 6 the following year, and of

a focus on language immersion in the

earlier years so that there was a clear

developmental pathway into the dual

language classes.

5Dedicate resources

It seems obvious but, as we were

developing a new programme, we

“Research suggests that speaking multiple

languages makes you better not just at other

languages, but also more creative and better at

mathematics, science, or history.”

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 67


had to make space for development work

to be done. The staffing model involved

an anglophone and a francophone teacher

working together in each class with a

significant amount of co-teaching. In

the six months before the start of the

programme, these teachers were given

weekly release time to co-create the future

curriculum. Since the launch of the

programme, we have also found that the

co-teaching model has allowed teachers

essential flexibility in their time to develop

new resources and to adapt others. One

of the most challenging aspects we have

found is the need for the dual language

teachers to both collaborate as a team

and to continue to collaborate with their

year group colleagues. Provision of both

types of collaboration time puts significant

constraints on the timetable

6Evaluate your progress

We are now well into the first year

of the programme and are learning

constantly. We have seen how important the

work we did before the programme started

was, and how important it also is to not

be tied to how you thought something was

going to go rather than how it actually goes

when it is implemented. We have weekly

team meetings to talk through our progress

and half termly feedback opportunities

for parents to let us know how they think

the programme is going. We need to be

flexible and receptive enough to change

when things are not going well but not so

flexible that we get blown continually off

course. We have been lucky to be able to get

a parent whose child is not in the Primary

School, but who is an academic researcher

in the field of multilingualism, to help us

think about our progress and the classroom

experience. A supportive but informed and

critical friend is hugely beneficial.

Our two dual language classes in Years 4

and 5 are full and we are now in the second

stage of the plan getting ready to implement

classes in Years 3 and 6. Parental feedback is

very good and there is already considerable

interest in the new classes. Perhaps

interestingly there is also a growing broader

understanding of the place and importance

of languages other than English at the

school, the programme acting as a platform

for us to consider how we raise the capacity

of French throughout the school.

A key learning for us has been the benefit

of creating a framework that is highly

responsive by having sessions that inform,

engage and involve people so that they

are part of the programme development.

There are several things we might have

done differently. One reflection has been

that we did not spend sufficient time

thinking about how the class might be

seen by other parents whose children are

not in the programme. We want the dual

language classes to be seen as offering our

PYP programme through two languages

and not as offering something different

that is only for the most able or the most

linguistically adept. Overall, though, we

feel that Einstein’s dictum, that if he had

an hour to solve a problem he’d spend 55

minutes thinking about the problem and

the remainder thinking about solutions, has

proved to be a useful guide.

Frazer Cairns is the Director of the International School of Lausanne.

Stuart Armistead is the Primary School Principal of the International School of Lausanne.

www.isl.ch

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING 2022 | 68


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