What makes the Inter-Community School’s Zurich (ICSZ) pre-school and kindergarten special?
Known as the Early Years (EY) Programme, the ICS pre-school and Kindergarten programme for 3 to 6 year olds offers a wide array of opportunities in bilingual education, nature activities, creative explorations, field trips and academic school preparation. This multitude of educational and creative offerings combined with the school’s holistic child-centred approach and state-of-the-art facilities make the ICS Early Years Programme unique.
Many scientific studies have shown that participation in bilingual programmes at an early age gives children distinctive cognitive, social, and academic advantages throughout life. At the EY Centre, children are introduced to German in age-appropriate ways. Activities include listening to stories in German, playing games, learning German songs and attending German-language theatre productions. “The idea is to make the German language a normal part of everyone’s day,” says Julian Edwards, Primary Principal. Both English and German are used throughout the day by mother-tongue English and German teachers respectively. Children flourish in this setting. The preschool teachers, experts in the field of early childhood education, challenge students by changing the environment, introducing new materials, asking questions and consistently assessing for understanding. New and challenging learning experiences are custom designed for each individual student to meet their needs for growth.
Child-centred programme accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organisation
The child-centred and inquiry-based EY Programme is focused on fostering learning and development across a range of spheres – cognitive, social, emotional and physical. The natural curiosity of children is nurtured through six transdisciplinary themes, called Units of Inquiry. This framework is developed and accredited by the International Baccalaureate (IB) organisation and is used by top international schools worldwide. The Units of Inquiry, including ‘Who We Are’, ‘How the World Works’ and ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’ among others, promote play, discovery and exploration. For example, as part of kindergarten’s first unit of inquiry, ‘Who We Are’, initial encounters between children and educators, as well as families, began with sharing information about themselves, developing agreements and spending time together in the spaces of our learning community. Children are placed at the centre of the Curriculum with a strong emphasis on child-initiated explorations that stimulate creativity, critical thinking and collaborative skills.
Forest time in any season
The Waldkinder (Children’s Forest) Programme is an integral part of the EY curriculum. Children go out into the forest every week throughout the school year. The EY Centre teachers have undertaken training in the UK to become qualified Forest School leaders. Each forest session includes discussions, inquiries and investigations. Children write and draw their observations in journals and take iPads into the forest to film videos and take photographs. Recently the young explorers felt so invigorated by their outdoor expeditions that they put together an entire “Insects & Fashion Museum” event, where budding insect scientists and fashion designers exhibited their model of insects, paintings and self-created costumes inspired by nature.
Flexible schedule for busy parents
The school offers an Extended Care Programme where children can be dropped off at 7:30. Children enjoy a nutritious breakfast before they are accompanied to the EY Centre. The popular After School Care Programme runs from 15:15 every afternoon to 18:00 offering additional sport, forest, learning and creative activities.
Join the ICS Pre-school/Kindergarten
The multifaceted bilingual Early Years Programme greatly benefits children’s wellbeing, emotional development, academic preparation and intellectual growth, while fostering meaningful social connections and creating numerous happy moments for children and their parents. New families from all over the world are always warmly welcomed and supported!