Education bilingual

KIBS: Learning Together Bilingually

At KIBS in Zürich, we learn in two languages. Starting from August, the school will be expanding and making room for new class groups.

During breaktime, when the corridors, the garden and the cafeteria are filled with laughter, balls aren’t the only thing being thrown around; there is also the effortless exchange of different languages taking place. A question such as: “Reichst du mir das Buch?” is followed simply by the answer “Of course, here you go”. Without thinking, the most natural thing in the world. At KIBS in Seebach, the children grow up bilingual. When the private institution opened in 2008, there were only 21 kindergarten children in the classrooms at Oerlikon. Due to the ever-growing demand, what started out as a small day care and kindergarten, evolved into today’s KIBS for children of all ages: starting with daycare for babies, preschool and kindergarten, up to primary school. Around 200 children are growing up bilingual, learning English and German playfully without pressure.

Expanding to Match Demand

It is not just the children who are growing at KIBS, the demand for integrated, bilingual classes is increasing too. To address this, the school will be expanding in August, with both campuses being merged and a new floor being added. The simultaneous expansion and joining of both campuses to one location does not only benefit parents with both babies and primary school aged children, it offers the possibility of welcoming more students. Therefore, KIBS is opening five new groups in August. Interested parties can already sign up via the website or by phone. The children are being taught using a combination of the Canton Zurich syllabus and an International curriculum in small classes, where the needs of each child can be met and the pupils can help shape their lessons.

In this global community which brings us all closer together, the importance of multilingualism is rapidly increasing. Excellent language skills are not just necessary for careers later in life, but for the understanding of different cultures. Countless studies have proven that multilingual people can concentrate better, empathise more easily with others, and thus successfully resolve conflicts. The brain remains flexible even when it ages. Specific regions of the brain become more efficient.

Building strong social connections are not only encouraged through bilingualism, but also through a holistic teaching approach. 47 teachers from the US, England, Ireland, Switzerland and across the globe, provide an open and differentiated classroom environment by drawing on their diverse professional experiences and backgrounds.  All the while, keeping the child at the center of teaching and learning.

Unique Learning Practices

Instead of using traditional teaching methods, the students work together at large tables or in small groups, and are encouraged to ask questions and share their own ideas. “We want the children to have fun with learning, to be enthusiastic about it,” says Head Teacher Eimear Harris. “We practice inquiry-based learning and during the lessons we use the children’s ideas. As a result, thoughts flow more freely and there’s more interaction.” Unlike other schools, the children don’t have to change rooms for every lesson; instead the teachers and the teaching assistants respectively come to the children’s classroom. The lessons alternate between English and German, and the topics change every six to seven weeks.

KIBS is a non-profit organisation; all school fees flow directly back into the school. That way the children benefit from dedicated and continuous care during their breaks, homework time and project weeks in the holidays. At lunchtime, the students can participate in different extracurricular clubs. These activities range from baking and cooking, to yoga and choir, logical thinking and chess. What’s more, the teachers help the children with their work, answer their questions and support them during the free time. Once a year a traditional sleepover takes place at the school. And at night after an exciting day in the fresh air, when the lights are turned off and new information is being processed, the phrase “Sleep well!” is accompanied by “Danke, du auch!”

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