Interview with the Dempsey Family about their ISZL experience

Helga Jaimes

Tell me about your family and why you chose Switzerland?

Our family moved to Switzerland two years ago from Indianapolis in the United States. Both of our children, Lauren (7) and Andrew (5), were born there and this is our first international move. Ryan works for Roche Diagnostics and was given the opportunity to work abroad. Lindsay is a registered nurse in the US and is currently completing her master’s degree in nursing education. We live in Zug and love being surrounded by mountains, the lake, and beautiful Old Town. We love exploring Switzerland and Europe as a family.

How long have you been living in Switzerland?

We moved to Switzerland two years ago and started school at ISZL in January 2019.

What are the major differences between the Swiss and American culture?

One of the biggest differences we’ve experienced is how we spend our weekends.  In Switzerland, we’ve grown to love that Saturdays are spent exploring the mountains or a new city, while Sundays are spent connecting with family.  In the US, weekend schedules are often filled with children’s activities, shopping (e.g. grocery shopping is typically done once per week in the US), and gardening.

What are your impressions of the Early Years Programme at ISZL? 

Our daughter began as a student in EY2 and is currently in Grade 1. Our son started EY1 and is now in EY2. We have been thoroughly impressed with the Early Years Programme at ISZL. We particularly enjoy the dedicated staff who spend time developing meaningful relationships with our children. 

The teachers are committed to identifying strengths and interests that are unique to each child and provide specific learning opportunities for our children to grow. There is emphasis on student-led learning which is aimed at providing play-based experiences and ensures learning is fun. 

Is there anything you would like to highlight or specifically appreciate about the Early Years Programme?

The Early Years Programme curriculum is embedded into everything the children do, such as the varied indoor learning spaces, outdoor learning spaces, cooking/baking, and well-stocked library. We have been so impressed with the programme’s focus on developing the children’s world view and its diversity. It feels like the overall goal at ISZL is to foster a learning environment in which children love learning.  The programme and teachers at ISZL are truly special!

How was your integration into the ISZL Early Years Community? 

We felt like we were wrapped in the most welcoming hug from existing parents when we began school at ISZL. The class reps reached out to us and helped us get connected with the other class parents. The Parents’ Association facilitates opportunities for parents to socialize and get to know each other better. The diverse international community is what drives inclusion – everyone is welcome at ISZL and different cultures are celebrated!

Do you have any tips for other international families that could support them when it comes to selecting school for their children?

We’ve never felt more at home than in this community, and that’s really important when you’re far away from your home country. ISZL recognises the adjustment period that families experience when moving to a new country and they have developed the framework to support families during that time. Most families of young children enjoy seeing and hearing about what their children are learning and accomplishing at school, and ISZL uses an online platform called SeeSaw, which allows parents a closer look at their child’s education. We feel so fortunate that our children are building the foundation of their education at ISZL.

  • Early Years
  • Interview

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