Guest Post: 8 Customs Expats Find Surprising In Swiss Local Schools

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

Welcome to Stefanie of Living Switzerland who is guest blogging this week. Please enjoy this short and sweet post about some of the surprising differences families and students experiences in the Swiss local schools.

Some customs in local Swiss schools are very different from what you as Expat might be familiar with!

For those parents coming from countries outside continental Europe, customs in your local Swiss school will seem very different.

These are 8 of the most surprising practices in local Swiss schools:

1. Children walk to school on their own from as young as 4 years old. Schools discourage parents to drive/walk their children to school.

2. No reading and writing before the age of 6: In the local Swiss school system, Kindergarten and early primary school is about social and cognitive rather than academic development.

3. Parents have very little involvement in school activities.

4. All children learn at least two foreign languages, apart from the official language.

5. Stark academic and vocational divide in secondary school. Around the age of 12, local Swiss schools stream children into different school forms, classes and achievement level.

6. Grades are determined by classroom behavior, attitude to learning, and motivation as much as academic achievement.

7. No school league tables (Similar to Great Schools in the US) or public ranking system and very little information on schools.

8. Only 20-30% of all pupils choose an academic pathway, over 70% of Swiss school children do an apprenticeship.

Do you need more information about the Swiss school system? Book an online or face-to-face consulting session with your local education consultant:

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