Early Years | Ages 3 - 6
Nurturing Young Children SINCE 1961
As the oldest international school in Central Switzerland, ISZL has long provided children with engaging and meaningful learning experiences that form the foundation for academic success. We offer a preschool and Kindergarten programme, which fosters in each child a love of learning and sense of self through an inquiry-based curriculum. We emphasise play and discovery both in- and outdoors, which sparks a sense of wonder and curiosity.
As an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, you will find that our teachers are able to personalise their teaching to meet the needs of our students at each age and stage. Whether it be specialist teachers, counsellors or nurses, our team of professionals have the experience and knowledge to support each child's individual academic, social-emotional, language and health needs during this crucial phase of development. Our students acquire the skills necessary for thriving in Primary School, whether they continue here, in their home country or abroad.
To learn how ISZL can benefit your family, please explore the 'Early Years in Depth' section below or contact our admissions team to schedule a tour.
OFFERING A PERSONALISED LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Our school is committed to the International Baccalaureate® Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum, meaning that our teaching is balanced, concept-based and planned around our students. We support student diversity and recognise that students learn different ways. We appreciate the need to personalise learning to best meet the needs of our students, therefore ISZL has a comprehensive student support services team who support our youngest learners. Our programme is also focused on:
At ISZL, students participate in regular outdoor learning sessions and forest visits allowing them to move freely, to be physically active and to have a safe and secure setting to challenge themselves and take risks. On our Early Years Playground, students have access to a range of materials and resources as well as to the outdoor stage, mud kitchen, sand pit, climbing tree, pond area, fire pit and vegetable garden. A Forest Leader also takes each class for a morning session in the forest surrounding our campus every few weeks. We value first-hand learning experiences and offer many opportunities for students to visit farms, museums and local landmarks, such as the clocktower in Zug and the bridges in Luzern.
Every week, our students visit ISZL's Early Years Library to exchange and borrow books with their class. Students also have access to the library and librarian whenever appropriate to support their learning. A Teacher Librarian comes to the classrooms and provides in-class literacy support when appropriate. During outdoor learning sessions, a literary specialists bringing all elements of literacy to our outdoor environment, engages with conversations with students and provides resources to extend their developing literacy.
We appreciate the importance of language development and when possible, provide opportunities for children to use their language of choice. English as an Additional Language teachers are available to give students learning to speak English specialised opportunities and support.
German is also part of the planned curriculum for all students at ISZL, beginning with our youngest learners. Our German Teacher and Swiss Assistant Teacher integrate German into specific routine activities and learning engagements, such as storytelling, singing, cooking, conversation and role-play.
A Wealth of Experience and Expertise
Our Early Years educators are highly qualified international teachers with specialist knowledge that informs how they plan learning for the particular needs of young children. Our student-to-teacher ratio is low allowing each student multiple opportunities for personal attention. Our teaching team also benefits from the inclusion of assistant teachers in all classes, specialist teachers for Music, Physical Education and English as an Additional Language, along with an Educational Technology coach.
The teachers at ISZL are well-respected as early childhood experts and our school regularly hosts workshops, conferences and events for teachers from around the world. By following an ongoing professional growth programme, our teachers are committed to keeping up-to-date with current research and best practices in early childhood education. We are proud to introduce you to our team:
Day in the Life
The school day begins as the children start arriving from 8.30. Classes start at 8.50.
In Kindergarten the teachers and assistants welcome the children to the Outdoor Learning environment, which includes the mud kitchen, the sand pit, the climbing tree, the pond area and the fire pit. All children in the Early Years have the opportunity to explore and learn here twice a day, taking advantage of whatever the weather brings - sunshine, showers and sometimes snow! Every Thursday and Friday one of our classes spends the whole morning at the local forest, exploring this wonderful, natural environment.
Back in the classrooms the day begins with a morning meeting when teachers and children plan their day together, with learning engagements framed around their units of inquiry. In Early Years 1, the children choose which room they would like to explore: the Art Studio, the Construction Room or the Role Play room; or there is always some cooking or baking with which they could help.
Each morning at about 10.00 there is time for a snack together and then maybe time for singing or to visit the Library before their first Outdoor Learning session. In Kindergarten the morning’s activities might include Writers’ or Readers’ Workshops, German or a swimming lesson at the local pool.
At 12.00 everyone takes a break for lunch. Many students enjoy a hot lunch as part of our lunch programme or bring their meal from home.
Our youngest children in Early Years1 and 2 eat lunch together in their classroom and then rest or nap if they need to. They have time together as a class before they head off for their second session of Outdoor Learning.
Kindergarteners enjoy their time together eating lunch, before going outside to play. They come in refreshed and ready for the afternoon when they might try a Maths investigation, have a Physical Education lesson or maybe visit the Library to choose a book to take home.
At 15.25 the day is finished and everybody packs up ready to meet parents outside or head to the school bus to be taken safely home.
Please enjoy this video made by our Technology Coach showing a typical school day:
In Early Years 1 and 2, students can attend school either mornings only or the full school day. Kindergarten students attend for the full school day. Regular school hours are 8.50 to 15.30.
Our classrooms and outdoor areas are seen as a space to celebrate and encourage learning. When setting up and adapting learning spaces, teachers are mindful of the children’s sense of belonging, their cultural identity and needs, and the connections they will make.
Our Early Years Programme is located on our Zug campus, which offers the following amenities:
- Beautiful location surrounded by forest and farmland
- Large outdoor play areas, including a pond, vegetable garden, sandpit, mud kitchen, fire-pit
- Inviting and personalised classrooms with Smartboards and access to additional technology resources (digital cameras, iPads, laptops)
- Well resourced multilingual library that hosts frequent events and book fairs
- State-of-the-art theatre for assemblies and performances
- Two indoor gyms
- School nurses providing care all day
- School bus transportation services
- Fresh, healthy lunch service
ISZL encourages parental involvement and participation in all areas of school life. We provide parents with learning opportunities to help them understand and participate in their child’s education. Our Parents' Association dedicates itself to ensuring that every member of our school feels welcomed and has the opportunity to get involved. They will connect parents to others from their home country or grade level as well as host events and activities such as ranging from coffees to group hikes.
Here families share their experience as part of our Early Years Programme:
Getting started at ISZL
We are grateful for your interest and want you to have all the information you need to consider ISZL for your child. Click the buttons below to navigate to the admissions section of the site, where you can find out more about the process, meet the admissions team, and make an online enquiry. Your family can join ISZL at any time during the school year as long as space is available.