Frequently asked questions
What classes are offered at EBSR?
Our classes run from ages 3 to 15 (cut-off dte of birth 30 September), and prepare students for the Gymnase Vaudois entrance exam, where students can enrol in the bilingual stream if they meet the conditions. The other option is to continue with the Matu Suisse, IB or Bac Français programmes. See the programmes HERE.
Who is EBSR catering for?
EBSR is not an “international school”. Our parent community is stable and includes a majority of local parents, often from mixed nationality families, who particularly value a high level of education and multilingualism. The expats we welcome are those who have settled down and want their children to learn French fluently.
How do they learn to speak English/French?
We use “Early Interactive Immersion”, which means that we take advantage of the natural learning capacity of young children. (When children arrive at school later, depending on their language background we might use more traditional methods.) Early immersion closely imitates the natural interactions between the care taker and the child, and is based only on oral langual, on pictures, objects, games and songs.
Every day one period is English/French expression only; the very small size of the groups allows a time where all children will talk and express themselves. It is crucial to start with oral language only in order to become fluent in the second language, written language should come at a much later stage. We use songs, lots of games and engaging activities in order to ensure that children will really speak and sing during that time.
During the rest of the day, French and English are used in equal amounts by teachers and assistants who are all native speakers. They speak in their natal language and encourage the children to respond in their language; thus the children practice the other language about half of the school time.
This organisation is only possible because we have about 30% more school time than in a stadard school. Our schedule has compressed the very long noon break that is usual in Switzerland; this allows school to start and finish at normal times (8:30/16:00).
After two years, the children normally understand and express themselves with ease. After a transition year, they move up to the native class. On average, we reach a B1 level by the age of 10-11 and a C1 level at 15 (including oral expression, written expression – essays, text analysis and classical literature). We administer the Cambridge exams (Starters, Movers, Flyers) every two years for our younger students.
What about German?
At EBSR we offer German in the classroom from the age of 8 (3P = 5H, = CE2), for 2 hours a week, taught by a German-speaking teacher. For children who already speak German, “Deutsche Schule” German lessons are given instead. For those who wish, there is also the German Club after school, where German is taught through games, films and lots of songs.
At collège (from 6S, = 8 Harmos, = 6th year French) pupils have 3 periods of German. The course prepares them for further studies and puts a strong accent on oral expression. Here too, a distinction is made between second-language learners and native speakers, who are taught separately; the native speakers follow a German language and literature course.
Is EBSR specialised for gifted students?
No. The EBSR programmes are ambitious and we ask students to participate and work seriously, but they are suitable for all children who are normally intelligent and curious by nature. On the other hand, we cannot accept gifted students (“Hight Potential”) who require special support because of academic or behavioural problems. Finally, we do not encourage the use of the label HP and if a diagnosis has had to be made, these children generally merge into the EBSR classes without any follow-up being required.
Can pupils be accepted at the EBSR at a later point?
This poses no problem if the pupil is curious, keen to learn and able to participate in the learning process. For English/French, we will offer a solution adapted to the student’s language level – in group or private lessons. For the humanities and natural sciences, the courses are bilingual, so not knowing one language is not too much of a handicap. However, if they are not bilingual at all, especially at secondary level, the students will need to put in an extra amount of work to catch up in the other language.
Levels in French and maths will be tested, and this sometimes means that the student is put back a class, depending on their level and personal motivation. In most cases this is not necessary, especially if the child has a high level of curiosity and is capable of learning by herself. Usually curious and open-minded children adapt like a duck takes to water in our school, and we have succesfully welcomed many older students with great success.
It’s often said that pupils in private schools are over-protected and ill-prepared.
This is sometimes true. There are schools that seek first and foremost to satisfy the “needs of their clients”: they avoid high academic demands, they give encouraging marks, they provide constant help and support. Such students can fall by the wayside when confronted with the demands of real life.
This is not our aim. Our audience is intelligent and curious students, who are also generally particularly sensitive and open-minded. We therefore take great care to ensure that there is no harassment and that everyone feels at home in our school community. This does not mean lowering academic standards or avoiding to push them to do their very best.
On the contrary, from an academic point of view, we follow the most interesting and challenging programmes, so that each pupil finds the challenges most likely to help him or her progress; from Secondary classes onwards, pupils prepare for the reality of further study by developing the necessary skills – getting grades, sitting exams, presenting and defending essays… Our pupils are therefore especially well prepared for the future studies they will choose.
Is it easy to get children back into state schools or other programmes?
Yes, technically, as our level exceeds the one of Harmos/France/UK in all subjects. However, if the child is returned to a monolingual environment before then end of our programm, it is unfortunately unlikely to see the second language maintain itself, let alone progress. Generally speaking, languages regress if there is not enough stimulation, especially during the teen years. The same goes for a switch to international programmes – French will no longer be able to develop and there will be no more German. School programmes are not interchangeable and each has its own specific features – true bilingualism and very high standards are the hallmarks of the EBSR.
The EBSR bilingual curriculum ends at the end of Collège, when pupils have reached a C1 language level and have become fully bilingual, bicultural and have read the classics in both languages. Families who wish to return to the public system will then choose the Gymnasium option, and those who wish to continue privately to a Matu Suisse/IB/Bac school.
What are the school hours and holidays?
Our holidays are the same as the Vaud school except at Christmas when there is an extra week. Please find the table HERE.
Can I drop my child off before 8 a.m.?
No, the school opens at 8am. Please do not drop your children earlier as no one is able to care for them.
What activities are available after school?
We offer all kinds of activities: arts and crafts, a chess club, yoga classes, swimming, languages… See HERE.
Private music lessons (piano, violin, flute, etc.) are also organised: we make the premises available and provide teacher contacts, which are paid for by the parents.
<h3″>Do you organise holiday activities?
Yes, during the summer holidays, the school offers 2 English immersion camps for your children:
– Culinary Experiments (1st week of the holidays)
– Scientific experiments (2nd week of the holidays)
For enrolments and/or information, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a school bus?
Trips can be organised only if there is sufficient demand from parents. Most parents use public transport or organise car pooling.
Do the children eat at school at lunchtime?
All the children eat a lunch prepared by our French chef on site using a variety of fresh produce. The children are kindly encouraged to gradually try everything. The school also provides snacks during breaks.
Can I bring a lunchbox?
No, this is only possible for children with allergies and a medical certificate. There is a charge for this service.
What are the prices?
Please find the prices HERE. These prices are complete; there are no hidden extras and you will not receive any additional invoices.
Do you offer scholarships?
A few scholarships are awarded each year, usually from the second year of primary school, mainly to children for whom state schools are unsuitable. Please write directly to the school management.
What is the pedagogy of bilingualism?
Equal bilingualism (both languages treated equally) must be preceded by a phase of active language learning, otherwise the pupils risk never speaking correctly. Studies show that children taught the second language without paying particular attention to expression develop good passive skills but can be very deficient in oral and written expression. We have therefore developed an interactive language immersion method, with singing, games and films, which enables children under the age of 10 to become active speakers on average in two years. After that, they join native language classes. For those starting after the age of 10, the classes are supplemented by more traditional methods.
What about “screen time” in the programme?
We try to use computers and sceen time sparingly but wisely, and we are certainly not tech-freaks. We use good videos for languages and sciences or for some programmes like Letterland or Planète des Alphas; we use apps a few times a week to help for maths, timetables, spelling or grammar. The pupils start to type texts in Word from the third year of Primary school, and learn to use Excel and Powerpoint in Secondary school. Most families at the school are opposed to video games and not keen on television; we strongly support a video game ban, or at least an extremely limited use. It is forbidden to bring video games, mobile phones with games, etc. to school. We see ‘screens’ as an innovative and very effective way of improving teaching, not as a distraction or a concession to the zeitgeist.
What is your maths programme?
We use Cuisenaire for Nursery 1 and 2 and Primary 1: this programme tackles the 4 operations and fractions head-on, and enables pupils to understand the nature of the mathematical universe directly, by working with factors and multiples.
From primary school onwards, children are taught the Singapore curriculum in either English or French. This programme’s very high reputation is completely justified; it is masterfully designed, pedagogically thorough, and we get very good results.
Starting in 2024 we will introduce an additionnal Abacus class for the 6 and 7 years old; this ancient technique can improve mental math and improve the capacity to think mathematically and to abstract, so we wanted to try it out.
What is the early science curriculum?
Our approach to science teaching is one of progressive discovery. Learning is repeated each year and integrated into an additional level of complexity. Activities are at the heart of the learning process (observations under the microscope, experiments) and the teaching aids and interactive material used are bilingual.
Why early science teaching?
If complex knowledge is to be appropriated and genuinely integrated into the everyday skills of future adults, teaching must start at the point where children spontaneously ask questions; moreover, it must not be aimed at performance on a one-off exam, but at real and complete knowledge over the long term.
We believe that teaching science late (after the age of 13), usually quickly and in one block, is not very useful for the majority of students, who do not remember much. This is because they have very little previous knowledge, that the teaching is to compressed and oriented toward the test. After which usually most of the matter is simply forgotten.
This is why we value and teach the ‘real’ sciences from the first year of primary school; before the age of ten, children will have seen the Mendeleiev table, the atom and molecules; they will have understood the basics of human anatomy, the principles of evolution, geology and astronomy, as well as physics, economy, antique and modern history. This broad education continues at Secondary School, and it is only at the Matu/Bac level that specialisation takes place. This means that even future literary scholars and economists or scientists will have a sufficient scientific basis for understanding the world. Conversely, all future scientists study Latin, philosophy, the humanities, languages and literature, giving them a vision of the world that goes beyond the laboratory.