• Native English (5 hours / week)
The Native English class applies to Anglophones and those who are ready to join this level – typically those coming from the transition class. The programme followed is British, with a stronger emphasis on classical children’s literature. The students use the Oxford Reading Tree to improve their reading skills. Nelson textbooks are used for the development of story reading, grammar and spelling; the students are encouraged to write stories and to develop their creativity.
• English as a Second Language (5 hours / week)
Regardless of their age, all francophone children take two years of natural interactive immersion (year 1 and 2). (Immersion 1 and 2), followed by a transitional year (integration of the anglophone curriculum – reading, spelling, etc). These classes are taught by native language teachers on interactive whiteboards. Then they are placed in the native language class that matches their level. The “native” classes follow the British curriculum, which is enriched in terms of literature.
• Native French (5 hours / week)
Students who do not yet know how to read will either take a reading classes using ‘La planète des alphas’ (complete beginners) or the classical and syllabic method of the “Librairie des Ecoles” (if there is already a foundation). Subsequently, the programme followed is the French programme: the children have classical grammar and spelling exercises and dictations. They also write many personal texts in order to promote applying learned rules and developing creativity. They have quality assigned readings and learn poems by heart.
A novelty is being introduced: the development of lexicology programmes. This currently abandoned field of teaching (we are updating textbooks from the beginning of the twentieth century) consists of an in-depth study of vocabulary from an etymological point of view. This subject is studied in connection with Latin.
• French as a Second Language (5 hours / week)
French immersion classes are enhanced with classical learning of the language’s structure, with a strong emphasis on practicing the language through interaction and activities. The first goal is oral and written comprehension, with oral and written expression being the second. Students who are able to do so, join the native-speaking class.
• Creative Writing Class (2 hours / week)
This class is at first used to improve writing so that it becomes fluent and smooth. Once this stage is over, students use it for personal enrichment, creative writing and writing essays (in English, French, or both languages). They also gradually learn to type correctly on a keyboard.
• Films in the Second Language
In 1st grade and 2nd grade, they have 4 x 30 min of films per week and from 3rd grade to 5th grade, 2 x 30 min per week. These films are (almost) always from before 1990, and they are often old TV series. They have a double objective: to improve students’ passive skills by making them hear native English in a context that allows them to guess the meaning, and to give them a better understanding of the cultural patterns of the other language : its humor, its social functioning, and so on. For example, Dennis the Menace gives not only the ability to hear a linguistically correct English, but also to discover how an American child lived in the 60’s (that he made pocket money by washing the neighbors’ cars, what the houses looked like, etc).
• Mathematics (in French or English) (5 hours / week)
In primary school, students continue with Cuisenaire and with Singapore (Singapore has been translated into French by the Librairie des Ecoles). They work independently and are assisted whenever necessary. Their progression is individualized and adapted to their needs and talents. We have enhanced the programmes with an additional geometry course. One measurement per week is dedicated to commonly applied math (calculating the height of a building, making the school blueprint to scale, etc). We prepare math students for the entrance exam to the Euler Course (EPFL) if they wish.
• German as a Second Language (3 x 30 mn / week) (starting at 3rd grade)
German classes are given by a native language teacher. They aim for familiarization and the beginning of learning, with a greater emphasis on speaking ability and grammar (taught in parallel with that of Latin).
• German Native Level (3 x 30 mn / week) (starting at 3rd grade)
German native language courses are taught to partially or completely German-speaking students who want to acquire native-type skills in grammar, expression and, later on, a knowledge of classical and contemporary German literature.
• Latin (30 min / week) (starting at 3rd grade)
The Latin programme introduces students to the basics of grammar and vocabulary. Etymology and word families between the two languages are also taught. The Latin programme is currently being redesigned to integrate the new lexicography classes into French with links to English (vocabulary) and German (grammar).
Humanities and Natural Sciences
• Humanities and Natural Sciences (3.5 hours / week)
The afternoon science programme is completely bilingual, with a dominant language depending on the professor, and translated into the other language (bilingual teachers). It is organized into 11 blocks of 3 weeks, each time with a different specialized teacher. All the basic concepts are reviewed and repeated every year, and then a more specialized area is tackled. The programme involves viewing scientific films and experiments, breeding, culture and crafts, as well as visits to the museum, parliament, etc.
Biology: Human Anatomy (circulation, respiration, digestion, nervous system). Ecosystems (food chains, adaptations, pond studies, forest, soil, etc.) Evolution (principles of evolution, major stages of life on earth, fossils).
Chemistry / Physics: Atoms and Molecules, Periodic Table, acids and bases, simple chemistry experiments, basic physical laws (pulleys, inclined planes, etc, with Lego experience boxes).
History of Societies and History of Inventions: Ancient history (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome). Middle Ages. Modern History (Renaissance, Great Discoveries), history of Switzerland. Great Inventions (neolithic revolution, writing and numbers, machines, navigation, engines and electricity, modern industries).
Earth Science and Economics: Economic geography (productions and exchanges in Europe / World), physical geography (earth formation, plate tectonics), political geography (World, Countries and Continents, Swiss Geography), astronomy (solar system, seasons, galaxies, Big Bang).
• Music (1 hour / week)
Music Theory and History of Music (30 mn). Music Theory: at the end of primary school, students know how to read music in the treble clef and have foundations in harmony. History of music: great eras, recognizing the styles and great composers.
Choir (30 mn): 1-2 primary: one-voice singing, two-voice canons. Starting in 3rd grade: songs with 2 voices, canons with 3 voices. Starting in 5th grade: choir with 3 and 4 voices. Classical and contemporary repertoire.
• Philosophy (30 mn / week)
In primary school, it is first and foremost about enabling them to develop their capacity for abstraction, their logical sense, and their ability to reason both positively and negatively, which is not at all easy. NB: the philosophy class is Socratic and is not graded. This is to teach them to ask the right questions, not to give the right answers!
These intellectual gymnastics start in 3rd grade with “Primarily Logic”, a programme in English that deals with comparisons, analogies, groupings, positive and negative propositions and syllogisms. In 4th grade, they discover the vocabulary of philosophy, the fundamental notions of matter/forms, abstract/concrete, idea/reality, etc. In 5th grade, we approach the sophisms (logical fallacies), reviewing the bases of 4th grade.
• Art (1 hour per week)
Techniques: pencil, charcoal, chalk, watercolor, gouache.
History of Art: the great painters and their style are approached through studies of works to be analyzed or which serve as inspiration. Students interested in art will find many additional workshops after school.
• Sports (3 hours / week)
1st grade: swimming (2 hours per week), Gymnastics / games (1 hour per week).
Starting from 2nd primary: forest running /ice skating/ indoor climbing/athletics etc. (2 hours per week), gymnastics / games (1 hour per week).
Every year: Fall: Sports Tournaments (unihokey, athletics); March: Ski Camp (1 week); End of June: Sailing Camp (1 week)
· 33 weeks of teaching + 2 weeks of camps: sailing / skiing
· 28.5 hours (60 minutes) of teaching per week (standard programmes have about 20 hours per week)
· Homework assignments: given the teaching load, assignments begin slowly in 3rd grade and are limited.