The Importance of the Student Support Services Team at ISZL

Stephany Herzog

Supporting learning in the Early Years

Centered on the Learner

At ISZL we believe that “every learner is unique, bringing with them a diverse set of skills, experiences and prior knowledge. We see students as key drivers of learning with the potential to develop the skills and strategies needed to take responsibility for their own growth.” 

To live this learning principle, we have a dedicated Student Support Services (SSS) Team that is made up of Learning Support Specialists, Counsellors, Nurses and English as an Additional Language(EAL) Teachers who work in consultation with teachers to support all students. 

To learn more about our Learning Principles, click here.

Student Support Services (SSS) in the Early Years

In the Early Years, the SSS team supports teachers and families with strategies and resources to help students access their full potential. This can mean supporting their emotional, social, physical or health wellbeing, learning barriers, or language development so that they can fully engage at school. 


In the Early Years the counsellor is a resource for families and teachers. For example, if a student is having some difficulties around a three-way friendship the counsellor might support the teacher in finding appropriate resources about friendship to discuss and explore with the whole class. 

Another example might be that the family is going through a transition and wants some support. They can connect with the counsellor to discuss resources or to discuss child development and what to expect and when to seek additional support. 

The counselling team also works with students one to one in a short term capacity when needed. This can be around handling emotions, supporting transitions, managing grief, etc. The decision for counselling is made with the SSS team, the teacher, and the family. 


The nursing team is available every day at school to support the health and wellbeing of students. The nurses are available to assess and treat acute illness or injury, complete health screening in line with Canton requirements, refer to local resources, provide health counselling to families, dispense medication, create Individual Care/Health plans for students with a diagnosed need, support with Public Health Responses (ex. Covid-19), and more.

The nursing team also supports teachers with training on CPR and how to respond to medical needs so that your child is well cared for in an emergency as well as playing an integral role in Child Safeguarding.

Learning Support

The learning support (LS) team taps into students’ unique skill sets and prior knowledge and leverages it to support their learning. They help build up their foundations for future learning while also building on their strengths. In the EY1, EY2 and Kindergarten, the learning support team provides support and consultation to teachers. As students get older, the learning support team might provide in-class support or support students in small groups focusing on a particular goal or strategy. 

An example might be that a student is finding it challenging to recall letter sounds, the support specialist might work with the students in the class to provide some direct instruction and revision to help the student recognise and recall letter names and their most common sounds. 

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

The EAL team supports students from Kindergarten who come from non-English speaking backgrounds or have been educated in a language other than English so that they can further develop their English Language skills. 

The EAL specialist works to celebrate students' multilingualism while also supporting students within class and small group support so they can communicate with others and access all the opportunities for learning during the day.

Learn more about multilingualism here.

The Student Support Services Team Approach

The SSS team comes together to provide a holistic approach to student support, including:

  • Directing interventions for students with the focus of increasing independent success and maximum growth within the programme
  • Advocating for students and encouraging student self-advocacy
  • Educating students, parents/guardians and teachers about a student’s educational profile
  • Supporting subject/classroom teachers to ensure students’ needs are being addressed in the classroom
  • Communicating student progress and strategies to the parents/guardians to bridge the home-to-school connection
  • Meeting regularly with teachers, parents/guardians and school leadership to monitor, adjust and revise support as needed
  • Providing information about outside additional support as and when a student's need is identified, for example, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counselling, etc.


In accordance with the IB, at ISZL inclusion is viewed as “an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and removing barriers” (Learning Diversity in the IB programmes, 2010, p.3). At ISZL our mission is for all students to stretch themselves further and achieve more than they believed possible.

If you are interested in learning more about the Student Support Services Team please find more information in our Handbook or reach out to the Head of Student Support Services - Zug Campus:

  • Counselling
  • Early Years
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Learning Support
  • Nursing
  • Student Support Services

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