Programme and organisation
The Bilingual School’s teachers are specialised and all have a university degree. Primary children already have different teachers during the day.
In the mornings, children are usually in two-level classes according to language. Thus, native English speakers are regrouped for Maths in English and English language classes (just like the French speaking children, who have their Maths in French and French mother tongue classes during the same time). In the afternoons, which are bilingual, children are grouped by classes. There are no grades in elementary school (see evaluations), and they have no homework before age 10.
French as a Second Language
Regardless of age, all children receive two years of French natural interactive immersion (years 1 and 2). These courses are taught by native speaking teachers on interactive whiteboards. After that, the students are placed in the native language class that corresponds to their level. The French Native Classes follow the French Curriculum.
For English, see above.
Children learn to read with LetterLand and later with the Oxford Reading Tree. They start Maths with the Cuisenaire method, which is used until the first primary. Moreover, they practice for manual dexterity : writing, logical thinking, and music. Thematic afternoon activities allow children to discover the world. They have gym classes and regularly go to the library.
Primary school – French
Primary School – Mathematics
In the 1st primary, most students use the Cuisenaire method. However, the most advanced students can start the second year of the Singapore Method. They work with the Singapore Method until the 5th class, supplemented by an additional course in Geometry (4 hours per week). The fifth hour is devoted to applied mathematics in a common bilingual class (calculate the height of a building; make a map of the school to scale, etc.).
Primary school – English Native
A specific period of 30 minutes per day is devoted to learning to write attached letters (1st/2nd primary). After the 3rd Primary, the same period of time is devoted to learning to type.
The Primary English programme includes spelling practice and grammar. They also write many personal texts to promote the application of learned skills and the development of creativity. They read quality litterature and learn poems by heart.
Primary School - Natural and Human Sciences
The science teaching in the afternoons is organized into 11 blocks of three weeks each with a different teacher. All the basics are reviewed and repeated every year, then a more specialized field is discussed. The program involves watching many films and doing numerous scientific experiments . In addition, they study livestock, crops and make crafts, as well as visit museums, parliament, etc..
Biology: Human Anatomy (circulation, respiration, digestion, nervous system). Ecosystems (food chains, adaptations - ponds, forests, soil, etc.) Evolution (principles of evolution, the major stages of life on earth, fossils).
Chemistry / Physics: Atoms and Molecules, Periodic Table, acids and bases, simple experiments in chemistry, basic laws of physics (pulleys, inclined planes, etc., with boxes of Lego experiments).
Social history and history of inventions: Ancient History (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome). The Middle Ages. Modern History (Renaissance, Great Discoveries); Swiss History. Great inventions (neolithic revolution, writing and counting, machines, navigation, motors and electricity, modern industry).
Earth Sciences and Economics: Economic Geography (production and trade in Europe / World), physical geography (formation of the earth, plate tectonics), Astronomy (Solar System, Galaxy, Big Bang).
Primary School - Music
Music theory with the Martenot method. At the end of elementary school, students can read music. Music history: the great epochs, styles and recognizing the great composers.
Choir: 1-2 Primary simple unisono songs, rounds for two voices. By the third Primary songs for 2 voices, 3 voice rounds. By the fifth Primary Choir at 3 and 4 voices. Classical and contemporary repertoire.
Primary School - Philosophy
We cover ethics, logic and theory of knowledge. The lessons are mainly based on open discussion, thought experiments and common reflection.
Primary School - Art
Art history: the great painters and styles.
Techniques: pencil, charcoal, chalk, watercolor, gouache.
Primary School - Sport
First primary swimming (1 per week), Gymnastics / games (1 per week).
From the second Primary: orienteering and running in the forest / Athletics (1 per week), gym / games (1 per week).
Primary School - Latin
An introduction to grammar and vocabulary with a method requiring no translation; etymology and word families.
High School - College (from the 6th)
The programme's objective is two-fold:
A. To ensure all students have a solid foundation that will enable them to approach the preparation for the Baccalaureate and the Maturité fédérale confidently; allow students to move if necessary (change schools). For this part, the program is defined by the general requirements for the Maturité fédérale or International Baccalaureate.
B. Continue to give them a broad general knowledge and extensive expertise in all areas. Here, the program is significantly enriched in history, history of literature, art history, natural sciences, economics and anthropology.
Morning program – courses and tutoring
• French ( second language)
French immersion classes are completed by traditional learning of language structure with interactive software for training pronunciation. This is necessary because at adolescence, immersion is not sufficient anymore for attaining the objectives. The first goal is to understand the language, orally and in writing, the second is to master speaking and reading.
• French (mother tongue)
The French literature program comprises an in-depth knowledge of the Classics, of which ten major works are read each year. The course covers the further acquisition of correct spelling, writing critical analyses of texts, creative writing and essays.
• English (second language)
The English immersion courses are accompanied by the traditional learning of language structure with interactive software for training pronunciation. This is necessary because at adolescence, immersion is not sufficient anymore for attaining the objectives. The first goal is to understand the language, orally and in writing, the second is to master speaking and reading.
• English (mother tongue)
Bilingual children follow the two mother tongue programs. The program in English is similar to the one in French: reading the Classics, learning to write essays, analyses and creative texts.
• Maths (in French or English)
The standard maths program combines the French and international programs at the highest levels with that of the International Baccalaureate, that lays a heavier stress on practical maths (statistics and graphs). Our program aims to prepare pupils for higher studies in the scientific field as well as to enable them to use their knowledge efficiently in everyday life.
The physics program is taught in coordination with maths. It aims to enable future scientists as well as those who embrace other careers to acquire a solid understanding of this field. The course is conducted with a wide variety of experiments and covers the main areas of physics, from thermodynamics to an introduction to nuclear physics.
The Latin course focuses on the understanding of grammar and basic vocabulary; it thus creates the necessary link between English and French. This class also offers Latin and Greek etymology in both languages.
The course in philosophy offers the following program. 6th yr.: Logical analysis and argumentation; 7th yr.: The concepts of law and justice; 8th yr.: Philosophy of science; 9th yr.: The problem of good and evil; 10th yr.: Introduction to metaphysics and epistemology. The pupils learn to debate and write essays on these subjects.
• Optional subjects
The pupils choose 2 to 4 optional subjects: advanced maths/physics, advanced Latin, Italian, Greek. Each one represents 2-3 hours of courses and the same amount of homework. We recommend that children playing an instrument limit themselves to 2 optional subjects, so that they can fit music into their timetables.
Afternoon teaching – courses/seminars and practical work
Afternoons are dedicated to 5 courses, each covering 6 weeks (with 6 hours each week). These courses focus on a particular aspect of a subject.
These courses can be devoted either to practical work (in science or reports on experiments) or to the drawing up of articles or analytical texts. The pupils work either alone or in groups. The goal is to prepare them to feel confident and to master the skills and knowledge necessary for future students. Passing examinations can lead to failure and entail repeating the year, but the main goal is to learn how to tackle examinations
In addition to these courses, there are 5 weeks of other activities: after the first course, a week is devoted to improving ones personal work technique; during the week before Christmas there is choir singing, a one week ski camp is organized in the winter; the last three weeks of school in the summer are taken up with exams, theatricals and/or filmaking and summer camp, in that order.
• Biology Program
6th yr.: Microscopic worlds – 7th yr.: Plants and ecosystems – 8th yr.: Anatomy and physiology – 9th yr.: Evolution and biodiversity – 10th yr.: Genetics
• Chemistry Program
6th yr.: History of chemistry, elements and molecules – 7th yr.: Geology and climatology – 8th yr.: Chemistry and stoichiometry - 9th yr.: Organic chemistry – 10th yr.: Biochemistry
• Social Sciences
6th yr.: Myself and others (Ethology, applied psychology) – 7th yr.: History of Art and Music – 8th yr.: My group and others (Anthropology) – 9th yr.: Nations, countries and wars - 10th yr.: Living in society, continuity and change
• History Program
6th yr.: The Neolithic period, the Fertile Crescent, Greece, Rome- 7th yr.: The Middle Ages, the Renaissance, 8th yr.: Christianity and the great world religions - 9th yr.: The Enlightenment and revolutions, 10th yr.: The 20th century.
• Political and Economic Geography Program
6th yr.: Economics: basic concepts (Asia) – 7th yr.: Microeconomics (Switzerland), 8th yr.: Macroeconomics (Europe) – 9th yr.: The Economic World Today, 10th yr.: State forms and political options (liberalism and socialism).
• Other courses: Art (2 hours), Sports (3 hours), Music (1 hour)
• Reading Program
The reading program covers 4000-6000 pages a year (approx. 4 hours of reading a week, part of which is done during holidays). It encompasses the major literary works of French, English and World literature, but also history books, exploration narratives, scientific texts, basic anthropological works, etc. The goal of this vast reading program is to widen the pupils’ outlook and give them food for thought and for questions and discussions in the classroom.