English and German play equal roles in school communication – in the classroom and in all parts of day-to-day school life. As a result, children learn to express themselves naturally and confidently in both languages.
We use the immersion method of language learning, which invites children to dive headfirst into the foreign language. Students use the second language to engage with the world in a playful and completely natural way. They are immersed in an environment where only the foreign language is used. As a result, they learn unconsciously, lose their initial inhibitions – and the foreign language becomes second nature. Children begin by developing a passive understanding of the language, achieved through the use of pictures, gestures and symbols, for example. Then, they gradually begin to actively use the second language. In other words, the foreign language is acquired in a similar way to the mother tongue – with the child’s linguistic development and knowledge of the world progressing hand in hand.
Scientific studies and our experience at SIS have shown:
- Instruction using the immersion method over a number of years results in near-native fluency in the second language.
- The best results are achieved through extensive early immersion prior to the start of formal schooling.
- Development of the mother tongue is not adversely affected.
- The immersion method not only promotes children’s language acquisition, but also their cognitive development – for example, linguistic awareness, creativity and their ability to think outside the box.
At SIS Swiss International School, children can learn both English and German through immersion – even if they are not native speakers of either language.
SIS faculty members are all native speakers of their language. They not only use their mother tongue for teaching in the classroom, but also on the school yard, at lunch, and during events and excursions.
Independent and Value-Centred Approach
The teaching philosophy at SIS Swiss International School is non-ideological, but founded on clearly defined core values. We strive to embody the values we seek to impart to our students: honesty, appreciation, personal responsibility and commitment.
Our aim is to support students in establishing their own cultural, linguistic and social identity so that they may:
- develop into committed individuals with a strong sense of personal responsibility for their actions
- relate to other people, languages and cultures with openness, willingness and respect
- think and act as global citizens and members of their local community
These qualities are at the heart of our interactions with the children and young adults entrusted to our care.
To meet the needs of modern families and working parents, our day school offers a structured and challenging programme, including:
- classroom instruction with fixed hours
- supervised homework hours
- additional supervised periods and courses in the mornings and afternoons
For our students, school is a place to learn and thrive – an environment that is stable and nurturing, while presenting them with appropriate challenges. By eating, playing and learning together, they learn to share with others, develop assertiveness, and take pride in their achievements.
Both German and English are used during extra-curricular activities, too, providing a further opportunity for students to develop their language skills in a natural way.
Performance through Diversity
The varied, stimulating environment of SIS Swiss International School supports students in achieving excellent academic performance, while allowing them to take enjoyment and pride in what they learn. Our international student body, combined with teachers hailing from diverse backgrounds, means that a diversified range of teaching and learning methods can be applied to enhance the learning process.
Each school’s curriculum is based on the relevant state curriculum and supplemented by international elements. In addition, we use our own SIS curricula and materials in key subject areas in order to effectively impart relevant information while fostering bilingualism.
In today’s world, independent, life-long learning is a must. To equip students with the skills they will need, teachers at SIS focus squarely on the following elements:
- stimulating the children’s natural thirst for knowledge
- encouraging them to ask questions and to explore
- presenting them with appropriate challenges
- putting their skills into practice
It is our goal to foster learning as an integral part of life, and to give young people the opportunity to become independent, reflective learners. Students at SIS are encouraged to achieve their full potential and exceed their own expectations. Moreover, we maintain close contact with parents, and regularly discuss their children’s progress and learning style.
International Education – Local Insight
Our intention is that SIS students graduate as global citizens with a strong sense of their origins. For students at college level, we offer targeted preparation for the national high school diploma. At the same time, they have the opportunity to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB), a globally recognised university entrance qualification.
We are pleased to welcome local children as well as the children of internationally mobile families.
Continuity from Kindergarten to College
SIS Swiss International School offers a single unified learning concept – from kindergarten to primary school and secondary school. Because we cater to all education levels (under the same roof), we can facilitate a seamless transition from one stage to the next.
Throughout the academic year, a range of events and activities bring together children from various classes and levels, creating a genuine sense of community, where students of all ages have the opportunity to learn from one another.
Learning Enhanced by Technology
At SIS, technology is used in a targeted manner across all subjects, underpinned by a pedagogical concept for learning and teaching. From kindergarten onwards, students explore the areas of digital technology, programming, media as well as communication and e-safety. We use up-to-date, dedicated software to support the learning process of our students.
The bilingual SIS IT Curriculum is the foundation of digital learning in our kindergarten and primary schools. Specific levelled goals provide a pathway of progression for students. As they move through the school they are introduced to O365 as a communication and learning platform allowing both in-class and online learning. Various forms of technology can be found in all our classrooms and are used in an integrated way that enhances learning.
Our schools are part of the SIS Group, which has been a pioneer in the bilingual education arena since 1999. At present, more than 3.800 students attend SIS schools at one of our 17 locations in Switzerland, Germany and Brazil.
The SIS Swiss International School network ensures consistently high-quality standards, as structures and processes at our facilities are evaluated, developed and enhanced on an ongoing basis. Plus, our international organisation provides teachers and students with a platform to exchange experiences and insights across borders.
Moreover, SIS colleges are accredited IB World Schools – making them members of a world-renowned international educational organisation.
SIS is a company of the Kalaidos Swiss Education Group which belongs to the Klett Group Germany.