International School Parent Magazine - Summer 2021

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Pre-IB Advice<br />

From The Experts<br />

Insider tips on IAs,<br />

Extended Essays and TOK<br />

Exploring<br />

Switzerland<br />

This <strong>Summer</strong><br />

Unforgettable summer<br />

break ideas in Switzerland<br />

Sleep<br />

A Sleep well, live<br />

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Welcome to the summer <strong>2021</strong><br />

edition of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

<strong>Parent</strong> magazine.<br />

Isn’t it a wonderful feeling now that everything is opening up nicely? I visited my family in Oberäageri<br />

recently. During a tour around the local mountain passes, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing people sitting out on<br />

the terraces and meeting with their friends in the sun. With our newfound freedom, my family and I have<br />

enjoyed planning our summer holidays and looking at activity camp options for our eldest daughter.<br />

We are well aware that foreign travel is still relatively limited (yawn), so we have prepared an absolute<br />

treasure trove of Swiss summer and family-friendly activities to enjoy: hiking, scenic train rides, cycling in<br />

the mountains, Italian-influenced adventures in Ticino and much more. There is also a range of unbelievable<br />

prizes to be won in our online competitions over the next few months. Keep an eye out on our Facebook<br />

page, newsletter, and website for more information on entering.<br />

We have also had the fortune to meet some very interesting headteachers for this edition. We met with<br />

Andy Puttock, who has taken the helm at La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> in Aubonne. Andy highlighted the<br />

need for a focus on student wellbeing and gave us his insights into the impressive journey that has framed<br />

his outlook on education.<br />

Brett Gray, from The Ostrava <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, is another of our interviewees. A fascinating personal<br />

journey starting in Prague in the 1980s, Brett and his team created and shaped The Ostrava <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> and have built it into a world-class IB <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

As usual, we have some excellent articles from authors around the world, and we remain committed to the<br />

task of helping parents and children make the most of the opportunities an education at an international<br />

school in Switzerland provides.<br />

Enjoy the summer break, see you in the Autumn!<br />

Work hard and be the best.<br />

Nick<br />

Nick Gilbert<br />

Editor & Publishing Director<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Mobile + 41 787 10 80 91 | Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com | Facebook facebook.com/internationalschoolparent<br />


06<br />

Contents<br />

42<br />

51<br />

06 Meet the Headteachers - Andy Puttock - La Côte<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

12 Meet the Headteachers - Brett Gray - The Ostrava<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

17 Treasured Alps, Threatened Alps - Colouring<br />

Competition Results<br />

20 Positivity In a Pandemic<br />

23 Pre-IB Advice From The Experts<br />

26 - 40 Staycation in Switzerland<br />

Liechtenstein - Princely Family Experiences<br />

Ticino - The Sunny Side Of Switzerland<br />

Zermatt - The Matterhorn Family Destination<br />

Gstaad - An Adventure For All The Family<br />

Exploring Switzerland This <strong>Summer</strong><br />

Hohsaas Bergbahn - Saas Grund<br />

Appenzell - Discover The Hoher Kasten<br />

Interlaken - Family Breaks in a Holiday Region<br />

Engelberg-Titlis - This Is It!<br />

Dents du Midi - Endless Possibilities<br />

Canton Vaud - A Night Under The Stars<br />

Schilthorn - Explore The Secret World<br />

42 How Do Teachers Get To Know Your Child?<br />

44 Sleep - The Bedrock Of Good Health<br />

48 Stop And Smell The Roses!<br />

51 Culture And Conversations<br />

54 Dealing With Bullying As An Expat<br />

58 Widening Gaps<br />

61 The Learner Passport: Reinventing High <strong>School</strong><br />

Transcripts<br />

64 When Should I Worry About My Child’s Stress Levels?<br />


7<br />

reasons to visit the<br />

Principality of Liechtenstein<br />

→ tourismus.li/en<br />

4<br />

Hike with an eagle<br />

1<br />

Visit Vaduz Castle<br />

5<br />

Take the kids llama<br />

and alpaca trekking<br />

2<br />

Hike the<br />

Liechtenstein Trail<br />

6<br />

Stroll through the<br />

old town of Vaduz<br />

3<br />

Explore the mountain<br />

village of Malbun<br />

7<br />

Taste Liechtensteiner<br />


© Ian Charles Stewart<br />

MEET THE<br />


La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> – Andy Puttock<br />

Andy Puttock, Principal at La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> (LCIS) Aubonne, recently sat down with Nick<br />

Gilbert, Editor and Publishing Director of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />

Andy, like all school leaders, has<br />

been coping with the impact of<br />

the pandemic over the past year.<br />

During this, he has not shied away from<br />

a new challenge: he moved from being<br />

Director of Education at Nord Anglia<br />

Education to the role of Principal at LCIS.<br />

“Young people’s wellbeing will either be<br />

the biggest crisis or the biggest opportunity<br />

of the second quarter of this century.” says<br />

Andy, sharing his vision for successfully<br />

leading international schools into their next<br />

chapter.<br />

What initially inspired you to pursue a<br />

career in education?<br />

I always wanted to be a teacher - My first<br />

job was in teaching, and it is my privilege<br />

to say that I will also finish my career in<br />

teaching. As a teenager I was active in<br />

youth clubs, volunteered in various settings<br />

with children and found that I really loved<br />

working with young people. I have always<br />

had a passion for languages and chose<br />

French, Maths and Latin as my A-level<br />

subjects. I then did a degree in modern and<br />

medieval languages and went on to become<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 6<br />

a French teacher.<br />

Following that, I worked as a languages<br />

teacher for a few years, went on to be<br />

Head of Modern Languages, became a<br />

deputy head, then head of a comprehensive<br />

school in Essex. I then moved to an even<br />

bigger comprehensive school in Dorset as<br />

headteacher, where I stayed for 12 years,<br />

successfully carrying out a complete rebuild<br />

of the school as part of its growth.<br />

Although I loved my time in the UK<br />

public school sector, at a certain point<br />

I began to crave a new challenge, and

exploring international education offered an<br />

incredible opportunity to immerse myself in<br />

something completely new.<br />

The challenge for me was to adapt my<br />

experience as a school leader in the UK<br />

public sector to leadership in the private<br />

international sector. I went to Beijing and<br />

spent four very happy years at the British<br />

<strong>School</strong> of Beijing, which is part of Nord<br />

Anglia Education. Nord Anglia was smaller<br />

then, we only had about 13 schools when<br />

I joined. At the time, I joined because I<br />

loved the school and later learned about<br />

the benefits that being part of the group<br />

brought to the school, teachers and<br />

students. LCIS is now part of a group<br />

of 73 premium international schools,<br />

which are attracting both staff and families<br />

because they are part of Nord Anglia<br />

Education. It has been a big change in the<br />

last eight years.<br />

What did you learn from the Beijing<br />

experience?<br />

Honestly, I learned everything. From a<br />

professional point of view, I think I was the<br />

classic principal coming out of a public<br />

sector environment, thinking that the<br />

skills were all just eminently transferable<br />

when moving to the private sector. And<br />

of course, many of them are transferable.<br />

I had managed very large budgets; I had<br />

led schools. But of course, the private<br />

sector is very different. The for-profit<br />

aspect was new to me, and it was of utmost<br />

importance to me to learn how to respond<br />

even more closely to the needs and wishes<br />

of parents whilst at all times maintaining<br />

my educational integrity.<br />

Beijing has an incredibly competitive<br />

international school market: there are<br />

huge numbers of international schools<br />

there, and a growing Chinese middle-class<br />

is seeking international education. They<br />

value the truly personalised, nurturing,<br />

and supportive nature of education that<br />

international schools offer, and of course,<br />

they understand that internationally<br />

recognised diplomas such as the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate Diploma<br />

Programme open doors to top universities<br />

around the world. Navigating those<br />

professional and commercial challenges,<br />

and of course living in Beijing, I learnt so<br />

much about life. It is a brilliant city and my<br />

family, and I spent a wonderful four years<br />

there.<br />

What have you learnt from your time as a<br />

headteacher of an international school?<br />

I have always passionately believed in the<br />

concept of personalised education. When<br />

you step into an international context, you<br />

realise exactly what that means. All the<br />

individual cultures, values and aspirations<br />

require a very personalised approach to<br />

learning. Not only do we have to ensure<br />

that learning really meets the individual<br />

needs of students and provide them<br />

with a broad range of opportunities to<br />

discover new talents and passions, but it<br />

is also essential that we establish a strong<br />

school family and welcoming culture that<br />

celebrates real openness and true diversity.<br />

This is crucial: when you are living in a<br />

country where most of your students are<br />

expats, the school is so important to them, it<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 7<br />

is the centre of the community, it is family.<br />

Even when I was head of a school in the<br />

UK, we talked about the school being<br />

a family, and especially in international<br />

schools such as La Côte, this is now true<br />

more than ever.<br />

What characterises the students<br />

graduating from La Côte?<br />

The school has always, I think, been clear<br />

about its purpose. It has established itself<br />

well as a highly inclusive family school,<br />

where children feel nurtured and well<br />

looked after. I think that is one of the<br />

advantages of being a school of our size.<br />

But we have also really focused on our<br />

academic record of excellence in the last<br />

three or four years, which of course is the<br />

key factor for our parents and students who

“We offer just the most phenomenal<br />

opportunities to allow our students to discover<br />

things that they never knew they would love.”<br />

aspire to joining great universities.<br />

And so, when I look at our graduating<br />

class this year, they are ready to make a<br />

difference in the world, they are eager to go<br />

out and become leaders in their respective<br />

fields. We already know some our students<br />

will receive outstanding IB diploma results<br />

and fantastic university offers. We have<br />

students with offers at the Ivy League, MIT<br />

has made early offers, and we have students<br />

gaining places at top UK universities.<br />

How has the recent shift to online<br />

learning affected how you teach your<br />

students?<br />

We were actually very lucky in Switzerland<br />

- we only had one closure in the spring. And<br />

although we are ready to switch to virtual<br />

learning if needed, it looks like we will<br />

remain open - fingers crossed. Of course,<br />

virtual learning will never be the same as<br />

being in school. However, we established<br />

a high-quality virtual school experience,<br />

which was very much appreciated by<br />

parents.<br />

For our graduating classes, preparing<br />

them for the future has also been critical.<br />

Our recent LCIS graduates already tell me<br />

that much of their university learning is<br />

now online, even pre-pandemic, for lectures<br />

and even some tutorials. At university,<br />

learning is still a social activity, but it does<br />

not necessarily mean being in the same<br />

room as your peers. And I think the way<br />

we can prepare our students for that is<br />

so important. So, our virtual learning<br />

provision is not just a reaction to the<br />

pandemic, but a deliberate preparation for<br />

their future at university and beyond.<br />

What would you say makes the learning<br />

environment at La Côte extra special?<br />

We are quite a compact school, which<br />

allows us to follow each of our students<br />

closely as they grow, from the youngest<br />

children right the way through to the<br />

senior students, and we make sure that<br />

every single student benefits from this close<br />

relationship. The other facet that that we<br />

have always focused on and that we are<br />

passionate about is true personalisation in<br />

all its different aspects.<br />

One of these is well established in many<br />

schools. Most schools today make sure that<br />

they know each individual student well and<br />

tailor learning to their needs. But the thing<br />

I see is crucial to an education that really<br />

supports students to thrive, and again Nord<br />

Anglia is at the heart of this, is making sure<br />

that we offer just the most phenomenal<br />

opportunities to allow our students to<br />

discover things that they never knew they<br />

would love.<br />

One of the dangers a school, especially<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 8<br />

an international school, can fall into,<br />

is trying to be all things to all people.<br />

<strong>International</strong> should not just mean ‘British<br />

international’ or ‘IB international’ school<br />

or ‘the international school of somewhere’.<br />

A school like ours, whose raison d’être is<br />

to be international – and not just in the<br />

sense of curriculum – is all about offering<br />

global perspectives, global opportunities,<br />

and an international mindset. Our location<br />

in Switzerland, set in beautiful countryside<br />

but close to truly great global cities, gives us<br />

a unique opportunity to do this. It is crucial<br />

that we support our children to flourish<br />

within their own culture and language, and<br />

we must nurture in them the active values,<br />

attributes and skills needed to facilitate<br />

positive change in the future.<br />

Which features of the school do parents<br />

value the most?<br />

Even though I have not yet met many

of our parents in person because of the<br />

pandemic - and I cannot wait to do so - I<br />

am in regular contact and have had many<br />

great conversations with them, which<br />

I value very much. This dialogue, this<br />

working in partnership with our parents,<br />

gives us invaluable insights into what we<br />

do best and where we still need to develop.<br />

Openness and transparency are something<br />

I have always made one of my benchmarks<br />

for success and failure in my career as a<br />

headteacher. When we have a decision to<br />

make, we involve the parents. When we<br />

have something going on, we inform them<br />

about it.<br />

Take for example the COVID situation<br />

in the school. If we have a student who<br />

has tested positive or is affected, we inform<br />

our parents. Of course, we maintain<br />

confidentiality and privacy of the students,<br />

but we make sure that we handle such<br />

situations with as much transparency as<br />

possible. Some of our parents have children<br />

in other schools where this is not the case<br />

and they have clearly expressed their<br />

appreciation for our approach.<br />

Which other areas of education and<br />

extracurricular activities are you<br />

developing?<br />

Well, during the pandemic our students<br />

became very good at skiing and badminton.<br />

And we will hold a lot of badminton<br />

matches in the future because it is the only<br />

non-contact sport you can have in school<br />

at the moment! Joking aside, skiing is an<br />

integral part of our academic calendar<br />

and we provide several opportunities for<br />

our students to get involved with the sport<br />

during the school year. But our competitive<br />

links with other schools in team sports<br />

are also important, both in Switzerland<br />

and through the Nord Anglia Education<br />

European schools’ network, where we have<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 9<br />

had great successes.<br />

Also important are our links with MIT,<br />

Juilliard, and UNICEF, thanks to Nord<br />

Anglia. Now globally, those have really<br />

taken off the last two or three years. So, as<br />

we develop the mission and vision of the<br />

school, there are two things which we want<br />

to take even further.<br />

One is the concept of - I am trying to<br />

find a word other than “21st century skills”<br />

because that is a phrase I really do not<br />

like. I think it is much more about values<br />

and attributes and not just the functional<br />

sense that the word “skills” conveys. It is<br />

about the sense of being exploratory and<br />

preparing for a future that does not exist<br />

yet. How do we prepare our students for a<br />

world in which they may have 20 different<br />

jobs?<br />

And then there is the clue in the name:<br />

We are La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

Aubonne, based in Switzerland, the

heart of so much that is international. To<br />

prepare our students to lead in the world<br />

of tomorrow, we really want to build on<br />

our connection with UNICEF, really work<br />

with the Sustainable Development Goals,<br />

leverage the opportunities the Model<br />

United Nations conferences offer, really<br />

harness those leadership opportunities. We<br />

want every student to leave school not just<br />

with the right mindset to change the world,<br />

but with the skills to change the world.<br />

What is the best thing about leading an<br />

international school in Switzerland?<br />

I think the biggest shock to me - and it<br />

is a wonderful shock - is just how close<br />

everything is. I have lived in Hong Kong,<br />

London and Beijing, places where it took<br />

us a very long time to get anywhere. I love<br />

the fact that we could be in Lausanne, in<br />

Geneva, by Lac Léman, in the mountains,<br />

all within about 25 minutes of where we<br />

live. Switzerland is a great country to live<br />

in.<br />

And it is remarkable how at home we<br />

feel here, considering that we arrived in the<br />

middle of COVID and could not do any of<br />

the things you normally do to feel at home.<br />

And that is a great credit to our colleagues<br />

and our community, who all do their utmost<br />

to continue contributing to that sense of<br />

community that is so important to us at<br />

LCIS.<br />

What are the main trends in education<br />

that you are seeing now?<br />

I think one must be careful to take the<br />

pandemic out of the equation, but equally,<br />

we must recognise that the pandemic has<br />

highlighted trends that already existed.<br />

Young people’s wellbeing will either be<br />

the biggest crisis or the biggest opportunity<br />

of the second quarter of this century. The<br />

influences that our young people, our<br />

teenagers are exposed to, the uncertainty<br />

of the world, the uncertainty of future<br />

careers, the immediacy of social media, the<br />

fake news, the need for instant validation<br />

through social media ‘likes’ etc., family<br />

disruption, social disruption, you name<br />

it - all of that has been magnified a<br />

hundredfold by the pandemic. But these<br />

things were there before, and even if the<br />

pandemic had not happened, I would say<br />

exactly the same thing.<br />

Of course, the pandemic has given us<br />

opportunities to explore different ways of<br />

working, remotely and at distance. But what<br />

I think the pandemic has really reinforced is<br />

the value of togetherness, be it in our own<br />

families or in schools. But, if we take that<br />

for granted as schools, we are in big trouble.<br />

If we trust that parents will send their<br />

children to our schools just because there is<br />

no alternative and because they do not like<br />

their children being at home, then there is<br />

a real danger that the world of technology<br />

will take over. We need to look deeply at<br />

what value we bring to our families, to our<br />

students. There is a real opportunity for<br />

schools to reinvent themselves as places<br />

which inspire a love of learning in every<br />

child and young person.<br />

About La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> (LCIS)<br />

LCIS is a multi-cultural and supportive<br />

IB school located in Aubonne, welcoming<br />

students aged 2-18. It is a part of the<br />

international education group Nord<br />

Anglia Education.<br />

We personalise learning<br />

so that your child will leave<br />

our school with everything<br />

they need for success<br />

– whatever they choose<br />

to be or do in life.<br />

Find out how!<br />

La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Aubonne is a private<br />

international school conveniently located between<br />

Lausanne and Geneva. LCIS offers its students<br />

unmatched international learning opportunities,<br />

combined with truly personalised academic<br />

support and the highest standards in education,<br />

ensuring that your child not only succeeds in life,<br />

but truly flourishes.<br />


Success Begins with a Choice<br />


Selected Webster University Geneva for both<br />

bachelor and master degree studies.<br />

I chose the American system as I could double<br />

major in finance and management. Webster’s<br />

Career Services helped me find the internship that<br />

led to my current position as a financial analyst.”<br />

Choose Wisely. Choose Webster.<br />

webster.ch/success<br />


Meet Brett Gray<br />

Founder and Director,<br />

The Ostrava <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> (TOIS)<br />

In the Moravian-Silesian Region of the<br />

Czech Republic, a visionary Canadian<br />

leads a multi-cultural community of<br />

learners in the country’s first authorised<br />

<strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate Continuum<br />

<strong>School</strong>. The Ostrava <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

(TOIS), founded by Director Brett Gray<br />

in 2008, is the culmination of over 30<br />

years of dedication and love for a place<br />

at the coalface of sweeping late-20th<br />

century cultural and political changes. The<br />

school offers an internationally recognised<br />

programme for learners, emphasising<br />

academic challenge, open-mindedness and<br />

respect. ISPM talks to Brett Gray about his<br />

journey to creating an educational beacon<br />

in post-communist Czech Republic and his<br />

vision for a school that encourages students<br />

to discover, connect and achieve.<br />

Tell us a bit about your background and<br />

what inspired you to become a teacher.<br />

The truth is that I never thought in a<br />

million years that I would ever become a<br />

teacher.<br />

My educational background is in<br />

Broadcast Journalism and French from<br />

the University of Southern California in<br />

Los Angeles. As a teenager, I was deeply<br />

interested in human rights. I wrote my<br />

university admissions essay on how I would<br />

like to be part of helping to free Nelson<br />

Mandela and bring down apartheid in<br />

South Africa through reporting and honest<br />

journalism. That was in case Plan A –<br />

become a professional baseball player – fell<br />

through.<br />

In my junior year of university, I joined a<br />

study-abroad programme at the Sorbonne<br />

and Sciences Po in Paris. This was in 1987,<br />

and I spent that Christmas break going<br />

through Czechoslovakia and Hungary<br />

by train to have a peek behind the Iron<br />

Curtain. Perestroika was rumbling, but<br />

the people I met were still very closed –<br />

cautiously curious, but not in a position to<br />

communicate openly. It was a considerable<br />

risk for them. The impending collapse of<br />

communism across Central and Eastern<br />

Europe was certainly not on anyone’s radar<br />

at that moment.<br />

Fast forward to the fall of 1989:<br />

communism was crumbling, and I was<br />

fascinated. Back in Los Angeles to complete<br />

my university degrees, I had become<br />

inspired by Czech writers, especially<br />

Václav Havel – playwright, philosopher,<br />

and general thorn in the side of the Czech<br />


Communist Party. With books like Letters<br />

to Olga, Open Letters, and the Power<br />

of the Powerless, written from prison<br />

and addressed to his wife, the country’s<br />

leadership, and ostensibly the whole world,<br />

Havel led me to a greater understanding of<br />

the importance of Civil Society, and how,<br />

without firm democratic principles and<br />

mechanisms in place, none of us can be<br />

free.<br />

By December 1990, I was the proud<br />

owner of two freshly-minted university<br />

degrees and hungry to be a part of a<br />

democratisation process that seemed to be<br />

happening all over the globe. In January<br />

1991, I decided to spend some time in the<br />

country that had just re-cast its playwrightphilosopher<br />

into the role of President of<br />

Czechoslovakia. I wanted to write firsthand<br />

accounts of the social, economic,<br />

philosophical, and ecological impact of the<br />

country’s transition to democracy. Maybe to<br />

teach a little English on the side to help pay<br />

the bills, for a year or maybe two.<br />

Well, it is thirty years later, and I am<br />

not writing news articles, but leading<br />

The Ostrava <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, an<br />

organisation that promotes academic<br />

excellence, with a mission and core values<br />

that are tightly aligned with the principles<br />

of the United Nations Declaration of<br />

Human Rights and the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Learner Profile.<br />

I would like The Ostrava <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> to be a place where students develop<br />

an interest in making the world a better<br />

place.<br />

What were your experiences of teaching<br />

when you first arrived?<br />

When I arrived a little more than a year<br />

after the fall of communism, there were<br />

many mixed feelings about the West. There<br />

was fascination and a strong desire to see<br />

what was out there. But there was also some<br />

trepidation about what the West would<br />

bring. For whatever reason, as a Canadian,<br />

I was warmly welcomed in the small<br />

town where I began to teach at a Czech<br />

gymnasium, which is a secondary school<br />

that prepares students for university.<br />

I found an education system that relied<br />

almost entirely on rote memorisation.<br />

In this pre-internet age, knowledge was<br />

quantified, approved by the authorities, and<br />

delivered from the teacher to the student.<br />

The kids (and their parents) were afraid of<br />

openly expressing their thoughts for fear of<br />

getting into trouble.<br />

This was about as far away as you could<br />

get from the teachings of the country’s<br />

famed native son and internationally<br />

recognised “Teacher of Nations,” Jan<br />

Amos Comenius. He had laid out 500 years<br />

earlier an approach to teaching that heavily<br />

emphasised learning through play. Statues<br />

of the famed pedagogue dot the Moravian-<br />

Silesian Region, but you would never<br />

know why judging by the school system’s<br />

organisation in the 1990s.<br />

The school had almost no English<br />

language resources to speak of, except for<br />

the ever-present “Angličtina pro-Jazykové<br />

skoly”, a series of textbooks that local<br />

schools had used for years. They were<br />

tightly edited by the state authorities to<br />

ensure adherence to the political ideology<br />

that had recently come crashing down.<br />

Each chapter consisted of a text revolving<br />

around the semi-moronic-but-happy-tolive-under-socialism<br />

Prokop family; Mr<br />

Prokop was a satisfied factory worker.<br />

Mrs Prokop was a housewife. Their son<br />

was clever. Their daughter was pretty. Mr<br />

Prokop expresses his gratitude for living in a<br />

socialist country where people do not have<br />

to live homeless under bridges, like in the<br />

UK.<br />

In terms of anglo culture, the books<br />

also contained hundreds of pages of<br />

debatably informative facts, everything<br />

from the colours of mailboxes in the UK<br />

and the US, to the names of a few British<br />

composers, or a strangely select group<br />

of English and American authors, from<br />

Shakespeare up to the 1950s, and lots<br />

of other government-approved bits of<br />

knowledge that were deemed appropriate<br />

for English learners to memorise.<br />

It occurred to me fairly early on that<br />

many adults communicated with each<br />

other in a similar way. Rather than<br />

engaging in a discussion or exchanging<br />

ideas, conversations are more of a process<br />

of exchanging and counter-facts past one<br />

another.<br />

But the kids generally pined for<br />

something else. In the first couple of years,<br />

two brilliant students were excellent at<br />

Maths and Physics and dared to dream of<br />

studying in the United States. We spent<br />

a lot of time working on essay writing<br />

and practising SAT and ACTs. When the<br />

results came in, one student was offered a<br />

full scholarship to Princeton for Physics,<br />

the other a full scholarship to study<br />

Mathematics at the University of Chicago.<br />

At that moment, I felt like I had found my<br />

purpose in life.<br />

And yet, I would also see some of<br />

my best students fail to pass entrance<br />

examinations at Czech universities because<br />

they had neglected to memorise the names<br />

of four specific British composers listed on<br />

some page buried within the hundreds of<br />

pages of the Happy Prokop Socialist Bible.<br />

Over the years, I began to struggle<br />

more and more with the Czech education<br />

system’s resistance to modernisation, its<br />

continued reliance on facts, and its lack of<br />

emphasis on developing skills.<br />

So, in the late 1990’s I began to look for<br />


other things to do. I felt I had to move on<br />

from teaching for a while.<br />

So how did you come to start The<br />

Ostrava <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> (TOIS)?<br />

As my frustration with teaching in the<br />

Czech education system grew, the City<br />

of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian<br />

Regional Authority reached out for help<br />

with re-working some of their promotional<br />

materials. They were trying to attract<br />

foreign direct investment into the area and<br />

wanted to polish their presentations.<br />

At the time, their promotional materials<br />

were an obvious by-product of the<br />

education system. Long lists of undigested<br />

facts, most of which were either unuseful<br />

to potential investors or even downright<br />

off-putting.<br />

I was eventually asked to make actual<br />

presentations to visiting companies,<br />

investment funds, banks, and other potential<br />

investors to speak as a Canadian living in<br />

the region for the last decade. After several<br />

close-but-no-cigar negotiations, we were<br />

told by CzechInvest, the State authority<br />

helping to guide foreign direct investment<br />

into the country, that Ostrava had lost out<br />

for one main reason: No international<br />

school.<br />

It was a classic chicken-and-egg situation.<br />

There were no international companies<br />

because there was no international school.<br />

And there was no international school<br />

because there were no global companies.<br />

So, how to break the cycle?<br />

Naively, I jumped in, thinking it would<br />

be an exciting project - for a year or maybe<br />

two.<br />

After several false starts, I finally teamed<br />

up with two partners, Iva Konevalová and<br />

Jan Petrus. We finally managed to launch<br />

the project: an international school that<br />

would support both ex-pats and Czechs<br />

in the Moravian-Silesian Region. Our<br />

first-class of 16 Czech 15-year-olds began<br />

in 2005. After several years of operation,<br />

we concluded that our clientele, which was<br />

starting to include non-Czechs, would be<br />

best served by establishing two separate<br />

schools working together.<br />

The Czech gymnasium we started would<br />

continue to serve Czech students, with<br />

many subjects in English mainly, but using<br />

the Czech state curriculum. Graduates<br />

would receive the Czech Maturita, and<br />

the braver ones could also sit for IB DP<br />

certificates or the IB Diploma. It would<br />

be a symbol of what a progressive Czech<br />

school could accomplish. But, because of<br />

limitations imposed by the Czech system,<br />

it would not primarily serve the foreign<br />

community.<br />

The other school would focus on<br />

meeting the needs of the city’s growing<br />

international community. As readers of<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> know, there<br />

are many issues specific to the international<br />

community that need to be addressed,<br />

including adaptation, student well-being,<br />

the curriculum, mother tongue support,<br />

and on and on. The purely international<br />

school would be fully accredited by the<br />

most recognised international accreditation<br />

agencies and deliver the entire <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Continuum.<br />

Tragically, both Iva and Jan died within<br />

a few years of the creation of the second<br />

school. From April 2012 until last year, I<br />

did my best to lead both of these schools<br />

as Executive Director and firmly establish<br />

their identities. In February 2020, I left the<br />

Czech gymnasium to entirely focus on the<br />

continued development of The Ostrava<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

What is your vision for The Ostrava<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>?<br />

For me, an international school is a place<br />

where everybody feels safe being who they<br />

are – however different that might be. As<br />

someone who came here 30 years ago with<br />

little knowledge of the language or culture,<br />

I can empathise with the children coming<br />

through our doors. We all need a safe place<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 14<br />

to encounter others. That is the first step to<br />

breaking down barriers, gaining respect for<br />

yourself and the people in your community,<br />

opening up to the wondrous possibilities out<br />

there, and developing resistance to a world<br />

where differences are increasingly used<br />

to spread fear and hatred and, ultimately,<br />

ignorance.<br />

The school celebrates the simple and<br />

fundamental idea that each of us has rights<br />

and responsibilities to enjoy freedom and<br />

equality. We can interpret things differently<br />

and follow different paths and belief<br />

systems. I would like our students to have<br />

the tools to move beyond pointing fingers<br />

and accusing “the other,” which seems to<br />

take up so much space in our public forums<br />

these days.<br />

As our Guiding Statement declares, we<br />

strive to create a caring community of<br />

lifelong learners, each equipped with the<br />

knowledge and skills to succeed in an everevolving<br />

world.<br />

How are these founding principles<br />

reflected in the curriculum? What does<br />

the school offer academically?<br />

As an <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate (IB)<br />

World <strong>School</strong>, we are part of an academic<br />

community that emphasises the balanced,<br />

holistic growth of the child. We strongly<br />

believe that when learners are in safe,<br />

respectful and supportive environments,<br />

they feel free to engage in a more<br />

meaningful way.<br />

I am a firm believer in learning<br />

through meaningful play and discovery

– essentially empowering a young person<br />

to be motivated in their learning, as an<br />

individual or as part of a group. One of<br />

the things that I love about the IB Diploma<br />

Programme for older students is the<br />

mandatory core subject called Theory of<br />

Knowledge. Students analyse how we know<br />

what we think we know and consider truth<br />

and fallacy. DP students also write a 4 000<br />

word essay on a topic of their interest that<br />

must be meticulously researched, using<br />

internationally recognised MLA citation<br />

guidelines.<br />

We’re very proud of the fact that<br />

TOIS is the only school in the Czech<br />

Republic authorised as an <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Continuum <strong>School</strong>, offering<br />

the Primary Years Programme (ages 3-10),<br />

the Middle Years Programme (ages 11-16)<br />

and the Diploma Programme (ages 17-19).<br />

Academically, the results of our IB<br />

Diploma Programme graduates are<br />

consistently above the world average.<br />

What makes TOIS so unique? What do<br />

your students and parents value most<br />

about the school?<br />

We asked the TOIS community of students,<br />

parents, staff and supporters to reflect on<br />

our Mission: Discover. Connect. Achieve.<br />

Across the board, our students, parents<br />

and staff said they feel the school provides a<br />

welcome and safe environment. Regardless<br />

of their English level, students reported that<br />

they feel little or no barriers to Discovery<br />

and are learning even to enjoy making<br />

mistakes, try new directions, re-build, and<br />

see what is out there.<br />

The idea of Connection resonates<br />

strongly with everyone; connecting<br />

discoveries with previous knowledge;<br />

connecting socially with people who<br />

are different from me; feeling a sense of<br />

belonging to the group or the wider world.<br />

We constantly hear from parents how<br />

impressed they are with their children’s<br />

progress in developing their ideas and<br />

opinions. <strong>Parent</strong>s also appreciate the<br />

school’s honest effort to keep the doors of<br />

communication open and bridge potential<br />

cultural and linguistic barriers.<br />

In terms of Achievement, students<br />

consistently bring up how refreshing it is<br />

not to be taught to the test and to have<br />

the opportunity to show what they know.<br />

We strive to empower students to make<br />

meaningful progress from whatever points<br />

they started from. Students and parents<br />

have told us that this is highly motivating<br />

and almost always leads to deeper<br />

understanding and more meaningful<br />

achievement than simply studying to get<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 15<br />

the highest possible number of points. The<br />

proudest moments for us are when we are<br />

told variations of “I see my child growing<br />

and learning and doing things in ways that<br />

I couldn’t do when I was my child’s age”<br />

and “I see a level of critical thinking and<br />

self-reflection that I didn’t grow up with.”<br />

It’s lovely to see our students’<br />

development and achievements, and our<br />

philosophy of learning within a safe,<br />

respectful and supportive environment<br />

brings about positive outcomes and strong<br />

academic results.<br />

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected<br />

your teaching methods?<br />

We have been impressed by the power<br />

and variety of online tools available to<br />

enhance learning, and I am sure that we<br />

will still be using many of them in the postpandemic<br />

teaching environment. We’re<br />

exploring how we might use the flexibility<br />

of concurrent teaching (simultaneously<br />

teaching to students in the classroom and<br />

online) as a permanent fixture of the TOIS<br />

Curriculum. This could be of great use<br />

to students at home ill for more extended<br />

periods or for our high-performing studentathletes<br />

who may be training or playing in<br />

tournaments outside of the Czech Republic<br />

regularly. It has been interesting to observe

the overall buy-in from the staff, as every<br />

one of us has had to improve our online<br />

skills quickly.<br />

That said, I think there has been a<br />

considerable increase in the awareness of<br />

how we as humans are social beings and the<br />

damage that isolation under the COVID<br />

restrictions has caused. We’re excited about<br />

integrating technology further as a school,<br />

but there is no comparison to face-to-face<br />

learning and connection.<br />

And in regular times, what sort of<br />

extracurricular activities do you offer?<br />

We think it’s essential to keep our students<br />

active and engaged in activities that are<br />

not directly linked to the curriculum<br />

but complement their learning and help<br />

develop new skills.<br />

We actively survey our students<br />

during regular times about the kind of<br />

extracurricular activities they would like<br />

to participate in. So the choice of clubs<br />

can differ from term to term and year to<br />

year. We regularly provide team sports like<br />

basketball and football, but there are all<br />

kinds of Clubs for Visual Arts, Performing<br />

Arts, Crafts, Chess, Lego, Robotics,<br />

Languages, etc.…<br />

During COVID, students from across<br />

the school established and published the<br />

bi-monthly student magazine, Crispy –<br />

and I think it’s actually better for having<br />

been established during COVID because<br />

everyone’s computer and graphics skills<br />

have improved dramatically.<br />

What are your hopes for students<br />

graduating from TOIS?<br />

They will say that TOIS gave them the<br />

tools, motivation, and conviction to<br />

follow their dreams and turn their goals<br />

into reality. I also want our students to<br />

find common ground with, and mutual<br />

respect for, the “others” of the world, see<br />

opportunities for greater collaboration, and<br />

stand up to those that would threaten it.<br />

What do you think the challenge is for<br />

education going into the future?<br />

To not allow the entire system to collapse<br />

from information overload. <strong>School</strong>s must<br />

be wise in choosing what can be thrown out<br />

of their curriculum to make way for what is<br />

needed. To allow children some quiet time<br />

for reflection and finding themselves. To<br />

continue to empower kids to be skilful and<br />

capable of dealing with the technological<br />

challenges coming up and still have a<br />

meaningful moral foundation or belief<br />

system about the kind of world they want<br />

to live in.<br />

Having lived in the Czech Republic for 30<br />

years now, what’s your take-away about<br />

the opportunities it has to offer?<br />

I am grateful for having been given a<br />

chance to give something of myself that has<br />

been meaningful to others. In some small<br />

way, I have been allowed to change some<br />

lives for the better and make a small corner<br />

of the Czech Republic a better place than<br />

when I first came here. Living here has<br />

given me the chance to be a better person,<br />

fight for what I believe is right, reflect on<br />

my mistakes, and move on.<br />

Most importantly, it has given me three<br />

beautiful boys and an extended family of<br />

beautiful people who love me and support<br />

the adventure of creating an inspirational<br />

international school in Ostrava.<br />

Find out more about the school on the<br />

internationalschoolparent.com website or<br />

here: tois.world

Barbara - SIS Mannedorf<br />

Colouring Competition Results!<br />

Treasured Alps, Threatened Alps<br />

Anwita - St. George’s<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

The results are out! Thank you so much to everyone who entered our Bergli Books<br />

colouring competition. Running a competition like this for the first time, we had<br />

no idea what to expect. We were completely blown away after receiving so many<br />

entries from all over Switzerland! We have spent the last few months going through<br />

each and every one, and we’ve found it incredibly difficult to pick only 8 winners.<br />

Each piece is so special, and we can see that a lot of time and passion has gone<br />

into them, so it was a very tough job for us to judge them!<br />

I would like to say a big thank you to Richard Harvell and his team from Bergli<br />

Books, who donated the beautiful colouring books for the competition. The quality<br />

of the book is wonderful and we are huge fans. Another thank you is to the great<br />

schools that we work with who have generously helped us promote this competition.<br />

Overall, this has been a great learning experience for us. We had so much fun<br />

that we would love to do another at some point in the future. Congratulations to the<br />

eight winners, whose artwork is displayed in the next 3 pages.<br />

Further entries can be seen online at www.internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Visit www.bergli.ch for bestselling and award-winning books about Switzerland<br />


Amelia -<br />

St. George’s<br />

<strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong><br />

Ioana Vlagea - SIS Basel<br />

Freya - <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> of Schaffhausen<br />


Eunse Ko - Grade 2 - Inter-<br />

Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich<br />

Giovanni Schuster<br />

- Grade 4 - Inter-<br />

Community<br />

<strong>School</strong> Zurich<br />

Baptiste T - Geneva<br />

English <strong>School</strong><br />


<strong>Parent</strong>s & Students exploring<br />

strengths & coaching<br />



How to Buffer, Bolster and Build Family<br />

Well-being in These Challenging Times<br />


Over the last year we’ve heard all about ‘what the<br />

science says’ with regards to how to treat, minimise the<br />

spread of, and vaccinate against the physical impact of<br />

the Covid-19 virus as it has rampaged across the world. Alongside<br />

this we have seen the corresponding calls to address the ever<br />

increasing levels of anxiety, stress, depression, psychological distress<br />

and post-traumatic stress that many adults, young people and<br />

children are experiencing.<br />

What we’ve heard much less about is ‘what the science says’<br />

about how some of us might have been able to protect and even<br />

enhance our own and our family’s mental health and well-being<br />

during the pandemic. This is despite facing the inevitable and<br />

understandable distress associated with the common adversity we’ve<br />

all faced, and resulting challenges, pressures and stresses brought<br />


about by sickness, bereavement, social distancing, isolation, home<br />

schooling, job loss and financial insecurity.<br />

Positive psychology – the ‘Science of Well-being’ suggests<br />

ways to both protect against the negative mental health impacts of<br />

Covid-19, and also to embrace the future and build our capacity<br />

to flourish in our school, work and personal lives as we slowly<br />

transition and adjust into the ‘new normal’.<br />

So I’d like to share with you a summary of very recent research<br />

(van Nieuwerburgh et al, <strong>2021</strong>; Waters et al, <strong>2021</strong>) and provide<br />

some practical action points to try for yourself and your family.<br />

The research, much of which was carried out during the pandemic<br />

itself, highlights 6 interventions that have been shown to:<br />

• Buffer against mental illness in adults and young people<br />

• Bolster capacity to navigate through and sustain our resilience in<br />

the face of adversity created by the pandemic.<br />

• Build our mental toughness and potential to learn, achieve,<br />

embrace opportunity and indeed strengthen and grow through<br />

their experience.<br />

1 Self-compassion<br />

I often ask my coaching clients ‘Who is the most important<br />

person for you to have a positive relationship with?’ Invariably the<br />

answer is either their partner or kids. I then say ‘Wrong! It’s you!’<br />

The reality is that we are often our own worst critic and say<br />

things to ourselves that we just wouldn’t say to others. If parents<br />

can learn to be more self-compassionate to themselves they can<br />

then show greater compassion to their children (and partners)<br />

and that has positive well-being outcomes for the family. People<br />

who practice self-compassion are less likely to experience self-pity,<br />

anxiety and depression.<br />

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness<br />

and care you would show to a good friend when they are struggling<br />

in some way. It also involves perspective taking and recognising<br />

everyone is suffering in one way or another and we are not alone.<br />

It also requires the ability to be mindful and accepting of difficult<br />

feelings and emotions, to acknowledge them as opposed to fighting<br />

or suppressing them.<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Check out a fantastic talk by leading researcher Kristin Neff about<br />

‘Self-compassion in Difficult Times’ on YouTube https://www.<br />

youtube.com/watch?v=HoqSvlakeSQ&t=2484s<br />

• Practice saying words of comfort to yourself when you notice the<br />

inner critic taking over.<br />

2Positive Emotions<br />

It’s only to be expected that a pandemic and all it entails would<br />

create worry, anxiety, anger, sadness, stress and fear for people.<br />

These arguably negative emotions have a place and act as warnings<br />

that we need to take care and take action to protect ourselves. But<br />

it’s important to know that mental health and positive emotions can<br />

co-exist with mental distress.<br />

The pandemic might be a scary and overwhelming time but it<br />

doesn’t mean we are unable to experience positivity. For example<br />

engaging in strategies to boost amusement doesn’t seek to ignore<br />

or minimise grief, but it does help to better manage and navigate<br />

through it.<br />

It is therefore vital to keep a balance of emotions and to try<br />

and avoid the trap of the negativity bias and the risk of mental<br />

illness. This requires making a concerted effort to invest in positive<br />

emotions such as joy, serenity, gratitude, pride, curiosity,<br />

hope, amusement, inspiration, awe, & love.<br />

The shared experience of these particular emotions has been<br />

shown to aid human survival because they broaden our capacity to<br />

think, see the bigger picture, retain perspective and allow for more<br />

information intake. This in turn builds our ability to find solutions,<br />

be creative, build social connections and builds the resulting<br />

resilience and resources to cope with adversity and life’s challenges<br />

and embrace the future. Positive emotions aren’t just the outcome<br />

of the good times, they help to create future good times too.<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Discuss with the family how you can generate more of the key<br />

positive emotions highlighted above?<br />

• Prioritise positivity each day ensuring it’s the top of your to do list,<br />

not left to last!<br />

3 Gratitude<br />

A great example of positivity is the emotion, practice and<br />

attitude of gratitude – to be able to recognise and affirm when<br />

good things happen or good things are received. Over 20 years of<br />

research has shown gratitude reduces stress and impacts on our<br />

physical and mental wellbeing, life satisfaction and resilience. It<br />

helps develop and sustain positive relationships and aids recovery<br />

from loss and trauma. It helps focus on the positive aspects of life,<br />

creates a better sense of what is really important and aids personal<br />

growth during a time of crisis and beyond.<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Keep a gratitude Journal and share 3 good things each day<br />

between family members,<br />

• Make a gratitude visit (or Zoom call) to someone you have never<br />

really thanked properly and read out a letter of thanks which you<br />

can pass on after.<br />

4<br />

Character Strengths<br />

Drawing upon our character strengths, has been shown<br />

through hundreds of studies to increase capacity to cope in hard<br />

times, enhance wellbeing and support performance, achievement<br />

and growth in school, work and life contexts.<br />

Our ‘Signature Strengths’ are those top character qualities that<br />

are core to who we are. Sadly we often only hear about or share<br />

them in eulogies when it’s a bit late! They contribute to positive<br />

outcomes for ourselves and others, and help us to add value to<br />

the world. Their use can help buffer against anxiety, depressive<br />

symptoms, work stress, and hopelessness. They have also been<br />

shown to build resilience in adults and young people and support<br />

post-traumatic growth by highlighting resources that are often<br />

unrecognised or taken for granted.<br />

Discovering your own and your family’s top character strengths,<br />

reflecting on how they show up already and finding new ways to<br />

use them, boosts energy, wellbeing and connectedness. It’s a fun<br />

and meaningful way to learn about each other and to help each<br />

other to maximise the resources we have available individually and<br />

collectively as a family.<br />


a ‘positive psychology coaching conversations’ approach for staff,<br />

students and parents as part of their well-being and positive<br />

education strategies.<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Check out the FREE Values in Action Character Strengths Survey<br />

at www.viacharacter.org It is available in over 40 languages and<br />

there are both adult and youth versions. It will rank the 24 character<br />

strengths and identify your top 5 ‘Signature Strengths’.<br />

• Do a family ‘Strengths Spot’ and guess each others’ signature<br />

strengths before you share the results!<br />

Note: Many schools use this survey as part of their wellbeing and<br />

positive education programs so ask your kids as they may know their<br />

top strengths already! (See photos: <strong>Parent</strong>s and Students exploring<br />

strengths and coaching)<br />

5Positive Interpersonal Processes<br />

One of the most challenging impacts of the pandemic has been<br />

on relationships. On the one hand many of us have been physically<br />

distanced from much loved family and friends, whilst on the other<br />

hand adjusting to life in very close quarters with our ‘immediate’<br />

family which for some has brought great joy and others significant<br />

distress.<br />

Understanding positive interpersonal processes can be helpful<br />

whether we are trying to stay positively connected to people we can’t<br />

actually meet or making the best of the time we have with those we<br />

are with. Everyday experiences like sharing laughter, being kind,<br />

feeling admired and being loved are all good examples.<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Positive Interpersonal Processes emanate from the action points<br />

covered previously – being kind to yourself so you are better able<br />

to be kind to others, shared experiences of positive emotion, being<br />

grateful, sharing and using our strengths.<br />

• These actions can take just a few minutes and be carried out face<br />

to face or virtually but the moments created with other people build<br />

our resilience and help us to embrace the future with hope.<br />

6Coaching<br />

As a coach who draws heavily on positive psychology and wellbeing<br />

science I know how powerful coaching conversations can be<br />

to provide people with a safe space for reflection on the relationship<br />

between their well-being, engagement and performance in work,<br />

school and life domains. Coaching allows people to set goals,<br />

consider options, take action, evaluate progress, be accountable and<br />

ultimately make positive and sustained change for themselves and<br />

those around them.<br />

This is why in my own coaching and consulting practice<br />

supporting organisations and schools I encourage them to adopt<br />

Coaching for parents working from home<br />

Finally there is further indication of the potential for positive<br />

psychology coaching for parents working from home, which is<br />

likely to remain an ongoing challenge and opportunity for many<br />

people. A recent study (van Nieuwerburgh et al, <strong>2021</strong>) provides an<br />

insight into how positive psychology coaching can lead to 5 key<br />

positive outcomes for home-based employees which will inevitably<br />

impact on both their personal and family wellbeing alongside their<br />

professional productivity and performance:<br />

1. Valuing opportunity for safe reflection<br />

2. Increasing self-awareness<br />

3. Alleviation of negative emotions<br />

4. Re-energised by identifying a way forward<br />

5. Renewed confidence<br />

Action Points:<br />

• Check out your school’s well-being strategy and how coaching<br />

conversations might be playing a part, or add value to it’s objectives.<br />

• Consider investing in positive psychology coaching for yourself to<br />

ensure you look after your own well-being so you can support your<br />

family.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Regardless of Covid-19 the world is going to continue to present<br />

challenge, uncertainty and adversity. That’s life, and the associated<br />

distress that comes with it is normal, healthy and part of our<br />

common humanity. The science of positive psychology provides<br />

clues as to how we can recognise and avoid the negativity bias and<br />

the risks of spiralling into mental illness. It buffers, bolsters and<br />

builds by helping us to proactively focus on what is working even<br />

in dark times, to prioritise taking care of our own well-being so we<br />

can help others, and be bold enough to embrace opportunities for<br />

growth and positive change.<br />

References:<br />

Lea Waters, Sara B. Algoe, Jane Dutton, Robert Emmons, Barbara L. Fredrickson,<br />

Emily Heaphy, Judith T. Moskowitz, Kristin Neff, Ryan Niemiec, Cynthia Pury<br />

& Michael Steger (<strong>2021</strong>) Positive psychology in a pandemic: buffering,<br />

bolstering, and building mental health,.The Journal of Positive Psychology.<br />

DOI: 10.1080/17439760.<strong>2021</strong>.1871945<br />

Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Margaret Barr, Alexandra J. S. Fouracres, Tia Moin,<br />

Charlotte Brown, Corinne Holden, Cornelia Lucey & Philippa Thomas (<strong>2021</strong>)<br />

Experience of positive psychology coaching while working from home<br />

during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coaching: An <strong>International</strong> Journal of<br />

Theory, Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/17521882.<strong>2021</strong>.1897637<br />

Clive Leach is a positive psychology coach and<br />

workshop/webinar facilitator working widely across<br />

the corporate, education, public and NfP sectors.<br />

He provides executive, career & life coaching with a<br />

focus on well-being, and strengths assessment leading<br />

to positive outcomes for personal and professional development.<br />

For further information email: coach@cliveleach.com or visit:<br />

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliveleachconsultancy/<br />


Pre-IB advice<br />

from the experts<br />

What you need to know about Internal Assessments, Extended Essays and Theory of Knowledge.<br />


Working in an international<br />

school I help many students<br />

through their IB and they<br />

often get caught out on the big written<br />

assignments.<br />

So, in this article I want to break down<br />

these three elements of the IB core and<br />

help explain them for anyone new to the IB<br />

or to students about to start the programme<br />

next year.<br />

Before heading into acronym diversity<br />

(EE, IA, ToK), it’s important for future<br />

<strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate students to<br />

understand what these mean and what they<br />

entail in terms of written assignments.<br />

When students follow the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (or<br />

IBDP), they need to complete various<br />

important pieces of written work. It can<br />

sometimes be confusing for pre-IB students<br />

to grasp the distinction between each<br />

assignment, their characteristics and what is<br />

required for each.<br />

Internal vs External Assessment<br />

It is important to note that there are two<br />

types of assessment: internal and external.<br />

Both the Extended Essay and the Theory<br />

of Knowledge essay (also known as ToK)<br />

are external, since, just like final exams, they<br />

are sent directly to official IB examiners.<br />

Internal Assessments are on the other hand<br />

marked by the class teacher.<br />

The Extended Essay (or EE) – What is it?<br />

The Extended Essay is mandatory for all<br />

diploma students and is seen as the main<br />

written assessment, since it has deadlines<br />

throughout both 12th and 13th grades.<br />

In fact, 12th graders will already have<br />

developed their research question (i.e., the<br />

first step of the research process) in the IB1<br />

year.<br />

This 4’000-word independent piece of<br />

research is presented as a formal piece of<br />

academic writing. It demonstrates that the<br />

student has fully grasped the topic and helps<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 23<br />

prepare them for writing at a university<br />

level. Just like the other written assignments,<br />

it encourages students to use and develop<br />

their own critical thinking.<br />

Students must choose to their topic from<br />

one of the 6 following DP subjects, ideally<br />

one that is of interest to them personally:<br />

• Studies in language and literature<br />

• Language acquisition<br />

• Individuals and societies<br />

• Sciences<br />

• Mathematics<br />

• The arts<br />

Or students can also take an<br />

interdisciplinary approach and write<br />

a World Studies Extended Essay. This<br />

particular type of essay “must focus<br />

on a topic of global significance”. This<br />

encourages the student to reflect on the<br />

world today in relation to issues such as the<br />

global food crisis, climate change, terrorism,

energy security, migration, global health,<br />

technology, and cultural exchange.<br />

As the official Extended Essay Guide<br />

explains, a World Studies essay “gives<br />

students an opportunity to undertake an<br />

in-depth and independent investigation into<br />

a topic of their choice that considers the<br />

relationship between subjects and allows<br />

for meaningful connections to be made in<br />

relation to their chosen area of research.”<br />

The assessment process of the Extended<br />

Essay is based on 5 criteria:<br />

• Focus and method.<br />

• Knowledge and understanding<br />

• Critical thinking<br />

• Presentation<br />

• Engagement<br />

More and more IB students choose to<br />

write a World Studies essay, because links<br />

are created between the various IB courses<br />

and because these subjects tend to address<br />

current events that affect the 21st-century<br />

student.<br />

Internal Assessments (or IA)<br />

Throughout the IB Diploma, students<br />

are also asked to complete internal<br />

assessments for most courses. Common<br />

to both Standard Level and Higher-Level<br />

courses, the goal of this type of paper is<br />

to determine if students are capable of<br />

demonstrating the internal assessment<br />

criteria in relation to the research question.<br />

In parallel to the Extended Essay, teacher<br />

assessments are also used for most courses,<br />

which include:<br />

• Oral work in languages<br />

• Fieldwork in geography<br />

• Laboratory work in the sciences<br />

(chemistry, biology, physics)<br />

• Investigations in mathematics<br />

• Artistic performances<br />

Internal Assessments are marked by the<br />

subject teacher and externally moderated<br />

by the IB at the end of the course and<br />

count toward the student’s final IB score for<br />

the diploma. The criteria for evaluating this<br />

type of assignment are as follows:<br />

• Knowledge and understanding<br />

• Application and analysis<br />

• Synthesis and evaluation<br />

• Select, use and apply a variety of<br />

appropriate skills and techniques.<br />

The Theory of Knowledge essay (or ToK)<br />

The ToK essay plays an integral part of<br />

the IBDP and is mandatory for all Diploma<br />

students. It asks students to reflect on the<br />

general nature of knowledge, and on how<br />

we know what we claim to know. The<br />

evaluation of the ToK essay is completed<br />

through a 1,600 word essay and an oral<br />

presentation. While the essay requires the<br />

student to focus on the concept itself, the<br />

aim of the presentation is to evaluate how<br />

students apply the thinking of the Theory<br />

of Knowledge to real-life situations. This<br />

essay also aims to go beyond and link the<br />

subject areas taught in school.<br />

Both the ToK essay and the related<br />

presentation will draw on what the<br />

students have gained throughout their ToK<br />

classes. It encourages them to use their<br />

critical thinking skills. Both the essay and<br />

the presentation need to reflect who the<br />

student is as a knower, by putting forward<br />

and defending their own thoughts and<br />

views. Students will ultimately learn about<br />

dialogue and critical discussion, as well<br />

as analytical writing skills. Each of these<br />

will become increasingly important when<br />

having to understand knowledge-type of<br />

questions and create the student’s own<br />

accountability.<br />

So, what is critical thinking?<br />

Critical thinking contributes to the integrity<br />

of the student’s paper. It will give them a<br />

more disciplined approach, showing that<br />

they have understood the topic at hand.<br />

People who think critically will constantly<br />

improve the quality of their thinking,<br />

which shows that they can form judgement.<br />

Ultimately, the aim is that throughout the<br />

development of each academic piece of<br />

writing, students gain these skills which will<br />

become essential in their later studies.<br />

Why is academic honesty important?<br />

Academic honesty is an essential aspect<br />

of teaching and learning, where action is<br />

based on inquiry and reflection (“Academic<br />

honesty in the IB educational context”,<br />

<strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate Organization,<br />

2014) It plays a crucial role in all written<br />

examinations of the IBDP. Students should<br />

visit the school library when they have<br />

specific questions (for example about what<br />

makes a good research question), or more<br />

particular requests about referencing their<br />

sources. The most used bibliographic<br />


formats for all IB papers are MLA,<br />

Chicago, and ISO 690. The latter is used<br />

for students who choose to write their essay<br />

in French.<br />

Keep all deadlines to avoid last<br />

minute panic and stress.<br />

• At TutorsPlus we often get calls from<br />

desperate students who have left their work<br />

until the last minute and are suffering the<br />

strain of having many different deadlines<br />

arriving all at once. Listen to the advice<br />

from the IB Co-ordinator and follow the<br />

timings they have given you. They have<br />

planned the deadlines to make it easier for<br />

students to balance the heavy workload.<br />

It goes without saying that students need<br />

to adhere to all assignment deadlines set<br />

in advance by the IB organization, since<br />

these are there to help them with the<br />

various chronological phases related to each<br />

assignment.<br />

• It is crucial for all IB students to take<br />

all written examinations seriously, and<br />

therefore organization is key when taking<br />

on any scholarly piece of writing. As a<br />

secondary school librarian, I often see IB<br />

students in a stressful last-minute rush to<br />

finalize their written assignments. This can<br />

be avoided by being better prepared and<br />

organized. Plan your work and give yourself<br />

plenty of time to meet every deadline.<br />

• It can also be easy to fall behind, especially<br />

with the other classes and assignments<br />

taking place during the two IB years. To<br />

avoid this from happening, students should<br />

set themselves personal goals and deadlines<br />

to stick to, as best as possible. Not only does<br />

this help them in regard to planning their<br />

work, but also shows responsibility and<br />

commitment to their assignment.<br />

• Most importantly if you are stuck ask<br />

for help. Do not put it off. Your teacher,<br />

mentor and IB Co-ordinator are there to<br />

help, not to mention your librarian or the<br />

TutorsPlus tutoring team too!<br />

What is the role of Mentors?<br />

• All IB students are assigned a Mentor<br />

during their Extended Essay, and it is<br />

crucial that students should maintain<br />

regular contact with their own Mentor<br />

throughout the whole research and writing<br />

process and until the assignment is officially<br />

handed in.<br />

• Mentors are there to help students with<br />

any type of feedback and it is important<br />

“The ToK essay asks students to reflect on<br />

the general nature of knowledge, and on<br />

how we know what we claim to know.”<br />

that students take advantage of this<br />

opportunity.<br />

How should students record their<br />

sources?<br />

• Students should note down each source<br />

of information as they go, whether it is<br />

online or on paper. This is because the<br />

bibliography will need to cover all sources<br />

referenced throughout their assignment, the<br />

purpose being to avoid plagiarism.<br />

• This organizational aspect will become<br />

especially useful when it comes to online<br />

sources, so as not to forget where the<br />

information originally came from and when<br />

it was consulted.<br />

• If students forget to go this it can be a<br />

huge time drain to have to go back and try<br />

to locate all the sources later.<br />

Use the school library to help with<br />

research.<br />

• Students often rely on Google when<br />

researching online information for their<br />

assignments. It is highly recommended that<br />

students also use other evaluation criteria<br />

tools when doing so, such as the CRAP test<br />

(currency, reliability, authority, and purpose)<br />

that determines whether a website is<br />

credible or not. This tool will save students<br />

a lot of time and is sure to help them find<br />

great quality online resources.<br />

• IB students should remember to visit their<br />

school library to receive extra help and<br />

feedback. This can be about the general<br />

structure and writing style of their essay or<br />

about finding relevant online sources. In<br />

this respect, librarians are there to teach<br />

students how to differentiate between good<br />

and poor-quality web sources.<br />

• The role of librarians is essential. The<br />

purpose of their work, as well as that of<br />

the teachers, is to attain a common goal<br />

of helping the student achieve academic<br />

success.<br />

If English is not your mother tongue<br />

these are our top tips to help<br />

• For students whose mother tongue is not<br />

English but chose to write their assignments<br />

in this language, it can sometimes be<br />

difficult to find the right sentence structure<br />

and be understood throughout the entirety<br />

of their paper. For the non-English<br />

student to hand in the best possible written<br />

assignment, there are various points to be<br />

considered, such as:<br />

• Using online dictionaries and<br />

encyclopaedias (e.g. Britannica, or<br />

Universalis when writing in French) to<br />

check the meaning and spelling of specific<br />

words and terminology used within one’s<br />

assignment.<br />

• Depending on their availability, asking<br />

for help from at least one of the student’s<br />

language teachers, when revising the piece<br />

of writing and before handing it in.<br />

• Getting an appointment with the learning<br />

support department within the school,<br />

where professional staff can help the student<br />

with any difficulties, they may face related<br />

to language barriers.<br />

• Using the library resources to find any<br />

useful information that will guide the<br />

student towards success in academic<br />

writing (most likely all school libraries<br />

should have a section with this type of<br />

resources), as well as asking librarians for<br />

additional help.<br />

TutorsPlus offer pre-IB tuition in all<br />

subjects to help international students<br />

prepare for this demanding programme.<br />

Tutors are experienced IB teachers and<br />

examiners and tutor students in their<br />

Extended Essays, Internal Assessments and<br />

Theory of Knowledge.<br />

Get in touch with us on 022 731 8148, or<br />

info@tutorsplus.com to find out more about<br />

our pre-IB courses and information about<br />

our tuition.<br />

Louise Valentin is a TutorsPlus tutor and works for a Geneva <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>. She<br />

helps students prepare and organize themselves to successfully complete their ToK,<br />

Extended Essay and Internal Assessments for their IB Diploma. If you would like to have<br />

tuition with Louise, please visit https://tutorsplus.com/find-a-tutor/<br />



Princely Family<br />

Experiences<br />

The Principality of Liechtenstein<br />

nestles against Switzerland for<br />

27 kilometres and, thanks to<br />

the almost 100 year old customs treaty,<br />

has open borders with Switzerland.<br />

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a<br />

constitutional hereditary monarchy on<br />

a democratic-parliamentary basis. This<br />

means that the prince and the people share<br />

state authority. The head of state, Prince<br />

Hans-Adam II and his family live at Vaduz<br />

Castle, which towers 120 meters above the<br />

Liechtenstein capital, Vaduz. The small<br />

Alpine monarchy in the heart of Europe is<br />

the fourth smallest state in Europe with 160<br />

square kilometers. The principality unites<br />

everything your heart desires: an impressive<br />

mountain world, lively culture, charming<br />

villages and excellent gastronomy.<br />

Happy children, Relaxed <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

The idyllic mountain village of Malbun is<br />

1,600 metres above sea level, and with its<br />

wonderful alpine landscape is the perfect<br />

family destination. The resort, which has<br />

been awarded the “Family Destination” seal<br />

of approval, is geared towards the needs<br />

of children, parents and grandparents.<br />

Animal experiences such as a hike with<br />

llamas and alpacas or a golden eagle make<br />

children’s hearts beat faster. An excursion<br />

on the research trail in Malbun ensures<br />

action. Equipped with a backpack and<br />

magnifying glass, the little ones can master<br />

search games and stone table memory, for<br />

example. But also the WalserSagenWeg in<br />

Triesenberg, the detective trails in Malbun<br />

and Vaduz, the Gänglesee in Steg or the<br />

rope park in Triesen offer everything for<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 26<br />

a perfect family day in nature. The small<br />

Malbun ski area is between 1,600 and 2,000<br />

metres above sea level, in a romantic valley<br />

basin and awaits you with 23 kilometers of<br />

ski slopes for every level. The small size of<br />

the Malbun ski area in Liechtenstein has<br />

many advantages, especially for families<br />

with children: the hotels are perfectly<br />

tailored to the needs of families, are located<br />

directly on the slopes and thus enable<br />

perfect skiing fun.<br />

Unique in the world - The<br />

Liechtenstein Trail<br />

The best way to get to know the Principality<br />

is on the Liechtenstein Trail. 75 kilometres<br />

full of exciting stories, sights, wonderful<br />

views, idyllic resting places and much more<br />

await the explorer. The Liechtenstein Trail


leads through all eleven municipalities in<br />

the country. The path not only connects<br />

the most beautiful and exciting places in<br />

the country, but also tells the story of the<br />

principality with the help of the LIstory<br />

app. It leads the user from one adventure<br />

station to the next and thus indicates the<br />

course of the hike. But even without the<br />

app, the sights and natural beauties along<br />

the way can be enjoyed thanks to good,<br />

conventional signage. Depending on the<br />

level of sport, the Liechtenstein Trail can<br />

be explored in two, three or more days.<br />

Luggage transport provides the extra<br />

amount of relaxation you need.<br />

Lively main town<br />

Liechtenstein is not only worth a visit<br />

for its natural beauty. In addition to<br />

excellent gastronomy, there are numerous<br />

museums and sights to explore in Vaduz.<br />

A detour to the new Fürstenkino, The<br />

Treasure Chamber of the Principality<br />

of Liechtenstein, the Kunstmuseum<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 27<br />

Liechtenstein with Hilti Art Foundation,The<br />

Prince of Liechtenstein Winery or a<br />

tour with the Citytrain are particularly<br />

worthwhile.<br />



Swinging<br />

in nature,<br />

Blenio Valley<br />

Sunset with a view,<br />

Monte Generoso<br />

© Swingtheworld - Fabio Balassi<br />

© Ticino Turismo - Foto Loreta Daulte<br />

Discover<br />

the<br />

Discover<br />

Magic<br />

the<br />

sunny side of<br />

Ticino<br />

Switzerland<br />

Discover the magic,<br />

Brissago Islands<br />

© Ticino Turismo - Foto Alessio Pizzicannella<br />

Ticino is a very special Swiss canton: it is the only one<br />

located entirely in the southern side of the Alps, benefiting<br />

from a Mediterranean climate. This favourable condition<br />

greatly enhances the pleasure of visiting the territory in every<br />

season. Ticino is known as a sunny and welcoming canton that<br />

offers various activities in all its regions. Starting from Lugano, the<br />

largest city in the canton, cycling along the lakeshore and mountain<br />

biking are certainly among the favourite activities. Along Lake<br />

Maggiore or in the valleys near Ascona and Locarno you will find<br />

wonderful places to relax, hike or have a delicious meal in one of<br />

ours typical grotto. Eventually, in the regions of Bellinzonese and<br />

Mendrisiotto, UNESCO World Heritage Sites await to be visited,<br />

such as the castles of Bellinzona and the Monte San Giorgio.<br />

Sustainable mobility<br />

The territory is quite vast but it is possible to get around efficiently<br />

and sustainably. The construction of the New Railway Link<br />

through the Alps has created a fast and efficient rail connection<br />

between Ticino and the rest of Switzerland. A milestone was<br />

the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in 2016, the longest<br />

railway tunnel in the world (57 kilometres). The Alpine Transversal<br />

was completed with the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel in<br />

December 2020. Since then, a train journey from Zurich to Lugano<br />

takes less than two hours, bringing Italian-speaking Switzerland<br />

closer to the north.<br />

Well-deserved relaxation<br />

The Ceneri Base Tunnel even shortens the distances in the regional<br />

transport system and brings the different areas of Ticino closer.<br />

Rewarded by effort,<br />

Monte Bar<br />

For instance, you can sleep in a hotel in Lugano and freely move<br />

around the entire canton. Speaking of hotels in Lugano, take a<br />

look at Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola and Resort Collina d’Oro.<br />

On one hand, Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, set on the shores of<br />

Lake Lugano, is a magnificent 5-star resort of immense charm,<br />

nestled within a private, subtropical park. On the other, Resort<br />

Collina d’Oro is an elegant location, only a few minutes away from<br />

Lugano city centre, that offers privacy and quality, surrounded by<br />

an enchanting landscape with panoramic views over the Alps and<br />

the lake.<br />

Ticino Ticket<br />

Furthermore, in Ticino you can travel for free! With the “Ticino<br />

Ticket”, tourists can use public transport freely throughout Ticino<br />

during their stay. Find out more at ticino.ch/getaway.<br />

© Switzerland Tourism<br />


07.05 a.m<br />

Commute on Lake Zurich<br />

08.58 a.m<br />

Cruise on Lake Lugano<br />

You can now travel to Ticino faster thanks to the Ceneri tunnel. For example, Zurich to the Lugano takes<br />

just 113 minutes. And Lugano to Locarno takes less than 30 minutes. You can even travel for free<br />

with the Ticino Ticket, which you receive when staying at a hotel, youth hostel or campsite.<br />

Book now and experience more #ticinomoments: ticino.ch/ceneri<br />



action, deep insights and a fantastic view. It<br />

is marked off into three areas of increasing<br />

difficulty. The fixed rope route is ideal for<br />

families with children up from the age 10.<br />

The route can be climbed with or without<br />

a guide.<br />

Gorner Gorge<br />

The wooden walkways leading between<br />

the towering cliffs provide a dramatic<br />

insight into the power of nature. It is in the<br />

immediate vicinity of the Blatten hamlet<br />

and was first opened in 1886/87. There are<br />

two ways of crossing the gorge: the upper<br />

part of the Gornerschlucht can be crossed<br />

in 3 - 4 hours with a mountain guide, as a<br />

breath-taking adventure, or the lower part<br />

of the gorge can be crossed without special<br />

equipment using the wooden installation.<br />

– Matterhorn family<br />

destination” – This Seal of<br />

“Zermatt<br />

Quality promises delights for<br />

mascot Wolli, young guests and families<br />

alike, promising a whole variety of fun,<br />

entertainment and outdoor activities in the<br />

fresh Alpine air.<br />

Children Are Our Vips<br />

Thanks to the Wolli Card children up to the<br />

age of 9 years enjoy free holidays all year<br />

round.<br />

Funventure<br />

A choice of Funventure outdoor activities:<br />

Wolli’s adventure park at Sunnegga<br />

At Leisee lake, families can enjoy an<br />

adventure and fun playground with<br />

attractive barbecue areas and a water<br />

feature. All with amazing views of the<br />

Matterhorn!<br />


The Matterhorn<br />

Family Destination<br />

Have you never seen the Matterhorn? Not seen it in ages?<br />

Now is the time. Nature holidays in the Alps at the foot of<br />

Switzerland’s iconic landmark.<br />

Forest Fun Park<br />

The Forest Fun Park promises fun and<br />

adventure for the whole family, for all age<br />

groups. Secured by safety lines, you can<br />

step, swing and climb from tree to tree. In<br />

this way, you can get a feel for the sport of<br />

climbing from the Tyrolean traverses and<br />

suspended bridges with different levels of<br />

difficulty and at different heights.<br />

Mountain Biking<br />

Whether you’re looking for flow or steep<br />

and technically demanding, the mountains<br />

surrounding Zermatt offer a wide range<br />

of the trail. When combined with the<br />

unique mountain vistas, these guarantee an<br />

unforgettable mountain bike experience for<br />

families as well.<br />

Via Ferrata<br />

The “Schweifinen” fixed rope route high<br />

above the roofs of Zermatt guarantees<br />

Peaks<br />

Zermatt’s mountain world makes travelling<br />

to the top of a mountain a fascinating<br />

experience. The viewing points do not just<br />

give one a view of the Matterhorn and 37<br />

four-thousanders.<br />

Matterhorn glacier paradise<br />

Touch the snow, all year round on<br />

Matterhorn glacier paradise. The<br />

Matterhorn glacier ride will carry<br />

you to Matterhorn glacier paradise at<br />

3883m/12,739 ft. A world of snow and ice<br />

awaits you.<br />

Gornergrat<br />

With its sunny viewing platform that<br />

can be reached throughout the year, the<br />

Gornergrat (3,089 m) has been the top<br />

tourist destination in Switzerland. The<br />

Monte Rosa Massif with the highest Swiss<br />

mountain and a view over the secondlargest<br />

glacier in the Alps.<br />

Rothorn<br />

From the Rothorn, you can see the<br />

Matterhorn from its most beautiful side.<br />

There’s plenty to see here: the mountains<br />

stretch before you, from the Dufourspitze to<br />

the Weisshorn, and, right in the middle, the<br />

Matterhorn.<br />

Culinary Experiences<br />

It is not a secret that guests in Zermatt are<br />

spoiled around the clock. Zermatt has the<br />

greatest density of gourmet and mountain<br />

restaurants as confirmed by international<br />

restaurant guides each year.<br />



Destination Gstaad:<br />

An Adventure for all the family<br />

Destination Gstaad offers various activities for families<br />

with small children to youths. After the opening of two<br />

adventure playgrounds in 2019 and the STATION in<br />

2020, the whole family experience “Saaniland” will be officially<br />

launched in summer <strong>2021</strong> with two new themed trails.<br />

Adventure playground Wispile (Gstaad): Kids have the<br />

opportunity to romp around and climb as much as they want.<br />

Slides, climbing elements, water games and even a petting zoo with<br />

goats are integrated into this special playground. For some extra<br />

fun we recommend a descent by scooter (from 12 years)<br />

Adventure playground Rinderberg (Zweisimmen): There<br />

is a great playground on the Rinderberg. A nice end after the<br />

panoramic hike from Horneggli to Rinderberg. Along the hiking<br />

path you will discover surprises and highlights such as a wakeboard<br />

lift, mountain restaurants and BBQ areas.<br />

STATION: Are you up for a really special adventure?<br />

The STATION is a world for working and<br />

trying things out. Here you will find an<br />

exciting engine room with a fascinating<br />

mix of ropes, gears, cranks and marble<br />

runs. At the different work stations,<br />

kids can let their imaginations run<br />

wild while working and making<br />

handicrafts. Outside they can climb<br />

around in the rope garden and play<br />

in the playground. The best part of<br />

all is that even if it rains, you won’t<br />

be bored. STATION is perfect for<br />

families with kids between 6 and 14<br />

years.<br />

A lot of kids don’t like hiking. If this<br />

is the case with your family, you should try<br />

the new adventure trails in Destination Gstaad!<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 31<br />

On “Sanni’s Klangerlebnisse“ trail you will hear different sounds<br />

and noises. Listen closely, maybe you will hear animal voices or<br />

music coming from tree trunks. On the “Saani’s Bergerlebnis“ trail<br />

you work on your mountain climbing skills and coordination at<br />

17 stations. You practice balancing and climbing. At the different<br />

stations you will also learn interesting things about plants, animals<br />

or the moor.<br />

Sports Centre and outdoor swimming pools: Do you<br />

love water? Then, the outdoor swimming pools in Saanen and<br />

Zweisimmen are the place for you. The Sportzentrum Gstaad has<br />

an outdoor pool as well as an indoor pool, plus a mini-golf course,<br />

a playground and you can even play tennis here.<br />

Beside cows, the white Saanen-goats are another trademark<br />

within the region. That’s why “Saani” the mascot from “Saaniland”<br />

is a small, sassy goat. In spite of its wealth of tourist facilities, the<br />

Destination Gstaad has retained its Alpine authenticity. There<br />

are 200 farms, 80 working Alpine pastures and around 7,000<br />

cows! Alpine traditions are lived and breathed and<br />

local produce as well as craftsmanship are very<br />

popular. Local farmers appreciate people<br />

taking an interest in their work, which<br />

is essential in ensuring that nature<br />

remains intact.<br />

Our tip: rent a fondue backpack and<br />

enjoy a delicious cheese fondue at<br />

your favourite place.<br />

Rope park Zweisimmen:<br />

extremely fun for older kids!<br />

Five courses, which include funny<br />

rope ladders, crazy zip-wires (up<br />

to 150 m long) and daring jumps up<br />

to 20 metres off the ground. But even<br />

the smallest children can have a special<br />

climbing adventure, thanks to a children’s<br />

course and a children’s playground.


Exploring<br />

Switzerland<br />

this <strong>Summer</strong><br />

Switzerland is blessed with beauty,<br />

history and spectacular landscapes for<br />

all the family to enjoy, and summer<br />

is the perfect season to step outside and<br />

explore. There’s nothing quite like a sunny<br />

summer’s day In Switzerland, when the sky<br />

is deep blue, the lakes are shimmering and<br />

you feel the cool breeze blow past as you<br />

and your family immerse in laughter and<br />

fun whilst uncovering new adventures.<br />

After the year we have had, now is the<br />

time for an unforgettable summer holiday<br />

in Switzerland and we have the ultimate<br />

guide to help plan your trip.<br />

Aletsch-Arena: Guided glacier tours<br />

When you look out onto the Great Aletsch<br />

Glacier for the first time we guarantee the<br />

view will take your breathe away. Through a<br />

guided family tour you will learn fascinating<br />

facts about the Swiss UNESCO World<br />

Heritage site and experience the longest<br />

stream of ice in the Swiss Alps. A number<br />

of one- and two-day glacier tours take place<br />

every day from June to October.<br />

UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch /<br />

Sörenberg<br />

Located in the foot of the Alps is Entlebuch,<br />

the first UNESCO biosphere reserve<br />

in Switzerland. Adorned with unspoilt<br />

moorlands, a relaxing atmosphere and<br />

multiple offerings for all the family.<br />

Including energy and fairytale trails, mud<br />

baths, satellite-guided hiking and field trips.<br />

The focus is on the mystical moor<br />

landscapes. Visitors of all ages will learn<br />

how a moor is formed, get to know<br />

the moorland inhabitants and will be<br />

encouraged to experience the moor with all<br />

of their senses.<br />

Climbing with the family in Pontresina<br />

Pontresina is a romantic alpine village<br />

renowned for it’s various sports activities<br />

which include climbing gardens, high<br />

alpine tours and adventure parks. The<br />



mountaineering school is a popular<br />

attraction which aims to teach children<br />

aged 8 - 14 to experience the rock as a<br />

challenge that they can meet and tackle. All<br />

safety equipment is provided.<br />

Hasliberg: Step into a fairytale<br />

The adventure of Hasliberg begins on the<br />

journey there by cable car, and once you<br />

reach the Mägisalp upper station the dwarf<br />

trail begins. This charming trail has play<br />

stations that align with the Muggestutz<br />

storybook, which tells about the fairytale<br />

dwarfs that live in the Hasliberg area.<br />

We recommend reading the Muggestutz<br />

storybook before you arrive to really bring<br />

this magical adventure to life.<br />

In addition to the dwarf trail and a<br />

butterfly path, the surrounding areas of<br />

Hasliberg offer modern bike parks and<br />

several adventurous mountain bike trails<br />

where paraglider’s can be spotted soaring<br />

through the skies. Your family can also<br />

rent scooters to explore the mountainous<br />

landscapes and lakeside views.<br />

Braunwald<br />

Bartli the dwarf with his long beard, red<br />

trousers and green jumper emerges from his<br />

hut from mid-June to October to welcome<br />

families and show them around his magical<br />

forest at Braunwald. Follow along his 4km<br />

path and discover some wonderful places<br />

such as the dwarf ’s castle, the dwarf ’s tower<br />

and the dwarf ’s bathing spot.<br />

Grächen<br />

The Ravensburger Games Trail boasts<br />

a fun alternative to hiking, with exciting<br />

challenges for the whole family. There is<br />

something for everyone in the six games<br />

cabins and seven activity stations including<br />

a tricky escape puzzle for you to crack.<br />

As well as enjoying the games trail, this<br />

is a great opportunity to expand your own<br />

knowledge of local plants and animals with<br />

everything you need provided in a pack at<br />

the local tourist office.<br />

Nendaz<br />

Raclette cheese is a Swiss staple that was<br />

invented as a way to warm up after a long<br />

day on the slopes, with a rich history that<br />

begins in the heart of the Alps. Guests of<br />

Nendaz can learn how to make this famous<br />

cheese with a cheesemaker at the Balavaux<br />

alpine pastures and find out their culinary<br />

secrets!<br />

Toggenburg<br />

With codes to crack and clues to uncover,<br />

the Foxtrail creative team and the<br />

Toggenburg holiday region have created a<br />

scavenger hunt for families to discover. Can<br />

you solve the riddles? It all comes down to<br />

sharp ears and team work.<br />

Ascona-Locarno<br />

Children that love an adventure will be<br />

thrilled with the treasure hunts offered<br />

by Ascona-Locarno Tourism. The four<br />

hidden treasures are a fun and stimulating<br />

way to discover the area as well as expand<br />

map reading skills and use tactical quick<br />

thinking. Top explorers can expect prizes<br />

for their courage.<br />

Savognin (Autumn)<br />

Join spectators at Savognin who every<br />

year wait for the Cotti family to take a<br />

4 hour ride down into the village with<br />

their livestock. 300 sheep are shorn each<br />

Saturday in October and local market<br />

stalls offer a range of regional products,<br />

including a variety of treasures made<br />

from soft sheep’s wool. This is a unique<br />

experience that immerses you in a Swiss<br />

tradition.<br />



Saas Valley, put your skills to the test and<br />

reveal the secret code. After a fine meal in a<br />

mountain restaurant, you will receive your<br />

reward at the valley station. The family<br />

day can be planned individually and lasts<br />

around 2 to 4 hours.<br />

Enjoy the<br />

summer in<br />

the cool<br />

mountain air<br />

The family paradise of Kreuzboden / Hohsaas introduces itself<br />

Whether hiking, climbing, biking or<br />

relaxing on the panoramic terrace of the<br />

mountain restaurants: become part of an<br />

unforgettable nature experience!<br />

Monster scooter<br />

Our monster scooters are just the thing for<br />

the adventurous. After a short introduction,<br />

the wild ride begins with small jumps and<br />

a great driving experience and extends into<br />

an 11km descent into the valley.<br />

Bike trails Hohsaas<br />

The Valais is an absolute treasure of the<br />

mountain bike scene. The Kreuzboden-<br />

Hohsaas area is perfect for scenic and<br />

varied tours thanks to its high-alpine<br />

topography. The view of the towering<br />

peaks and the 1700 metres of altitude<br />

that have to be overcome between<br />

Hohsaas and Saas-Grund are unique.<br />

on the Kreuzboden. The 3 routes are<br />

each around 380m long and the children<br />

can easily get to the start of these routes<br />

using the conveyor belt. But don’t go<br />

thinking these routes can’t be challenging!<br />

Guaranteed fun for the whole family!<br />

Family day<br />

Experience an exciting day with<br />

us in the Kreuzboden - Hohsaas<br />

area. Together with your family,<br />

you will decipher puzzles about the<br />

Culinary delight<br />

There is nothing more romantic than a<br />

candlelight dinner under the full moon,<br />

2,400 metres above sea level. After an<br />

aperitif in the sunset, we will entice your<br />

senses with a 4-course meal by candlelight.<br />

Afterwards you can enjoy a magical view<br />

in the moonlight with a fine digestive and a<br />

cozy blanket on the terrace.<br />

Or treat yourself to something very<br />

special with our exclusive Wine & Dine<br />

experience. A 5-course menu in the middle<br />

of a breathtaking mountain panorama<br />

and the best wines from an exquisite Valais<br />

winery. Let us pamper you with culinary<br />

delights.<br />

5% discount on all mountain experiences<br />

with the promo code “SunnySide” until<br />

the end of June <strong>2021</strong>: https://shop.eguma.ch/bergbahnen-hohsaas/en/<br />

gift-vouchers?promocode=SunnySide. By<br />

using the promo code, you agree to receive<br />

the Berbahnen Hohsaas newsletter. This<br />

informs you about great promotions and<br />

excursion opportunities.<br />

Contact and further information:<br />

Bergbahnen Hohsaas AG,<br />

3910 Saas-Grund, +41 (0) 27 958 15 80,<br />

www.hohsaas.ch<br />

Bike Park Kreuzboden<br />

Kreuzboden is for the whole family, not<br />

just experienced bikers. This summer from<br />

July <strong>2021</strong>, 3 new trails will be expanded<br />



Discover the Hoher<br />

Kasten in Appenzell<br />

The Hoher Kasten is a mountain located in the Appenzell Alps<br />

with a 360 degree unlimited panoramic view over six countries.<br />

It offers an incredibly diverse selection of hiking opportunities.<br />

Is there a better way to start a journey of discovery than with<br />

an adventure in itself ? The Hoher Kasten cable car rides up<br />

to the summit within eight minutes. The journey takes you<br />

across green meadows from 900 to almost 1800 metres above sea<br />

level. Once arrived you will want to discover the surroundings<br />

immediately. On the summit there are resting benches, free<br />

telescopes and various panoramic platforms, where you can admire<br />

the view to the fullest.<br />

Unlimited panoramic views on the Europa-Rundweg<br />

circular trail<br />

The Europa Rundweg Circular Trail circles the striking silhouette<br />

of Hoher Kasten and offers exceptional views in all directions. It is<br />

wheelchair-accessible and therefore also accessible for families with<br />

prams and people with mobility issues. With good visibility, you will<br />

have the opportunity to view six neighboring countries: Germany,<br />

France, Liechtenstein, Austria as well as the summit of the Monte<br />

di Zocca in Italy. Switzerland counts too, obviously.<br />

Along this summit trail, a unique alpine garden features up to<br />

300 alpine plants for you to see. With 15 information boards, adults<br />

and children can learn a lot about native plants and animals. The<br />

Hoher Kasten alpine garden association breeds seeds with care,<br />

resettling endangered alpine plants. Every spring when the snow<br />

has melted, the plants awake from their hibernation.<br />

The only Revolving Restaurant in Eastern Switzerland<br />

The only revolving restaurant near and far is located on top of<br />

Hoher Kasten. The restaurant revolves around its own axis within<br />

an hour, allowing for stunning panoramic views. Whether you are<br />

deciding to have lunch at the restaurant or simply a cup of coffee,<br />

try to spend some time inside the restaurant to feel the rotating<br />

effect! Needless to say, local Appenzell delicacies, friendly hosts and<br />

just all-around a great atmosphere complete this experience.<br />

Hiking Opportunities<br />

for everyone<br />

The Hoher Kasten is the perfect<br />

starting point for a variety of hikes<br />

Top tip<br />

for families<br />

Exploring the Appenzell Alps has<br />

never been easier or more affordable.<br />

Children up to 15 years of age can<br />

travel free of charge on the Hoher<br />

Kasten cable car throughout <strong>2021</strong> as<br />

long as they are accompanied by<br />

at least one adult. And the<br />

offer is open to school<br />

groups too!<br />

across the entire Alpstein region - for all levels. From families<br />

with children to experienced hikers – there is a suitable hike for<br />

everyone.<br />

The best walking option for families is the family trail Hoher<br />

Kasten – Kamor – Forstseeli - Brülisau, which begins at the cable<br />

car and takes hikers along the mountain ridge Kamor before<br />

descending through a peaceful pine forest, where you can either<br />

continue to the idyllic Forstseeli Lake for a waterside picnic or to<br />

the mountain inn Ruhesitz where it’s possible to rent scooters to<br />

ride back into Brülisau for a slightly more energetic end to the trail.<br />

Another option is to hike to the dreamy Sämtisersee lake. Either<br />

you hike from Brülisau up to the lake or you start your hiking<br />

journey from Hoher Kasten. This one is a little trickier but it’s still<br />

accessible for families.<br />

If you want a bit of a challenge you can try the Geological<br />

Trail from Hoher Kasten – Staubern – Saxerlücke – Bollenwees<br />

(Fählensee lake) – Plattenbögeli (Sämtisersee lake) – Brülisau. It<br />

takes around four to five hours. With panoramic views over the<br />

Rhine Valley and the rolling Appenzell hills, as well as over the<br />

surrounding mountains, this trail is a must for everyone who wants<br />

to go beyond his limits.<br />

Season starts in May <strong>2021</strong><br />

Due to construction work, the cable car and the revolving<br />

restaurant will be open from may <strong>2021</strong>. Since November 2020,<br />

the connecting tunnel of the top station and the catering area has<br />

been renewed. A comfortable inclined lift was realized and new<br />

animation in the tunnel will make the trip even more of a unique<br />

experience. Please refer to our website for the exact opening date.<br />



Immerse yourself<br />

in a world of<br />

experience on a<br />

family break in the<br />

Holiday Region<br />

Interlaken<br />

@ Interlaken Tourism<br />

With its dazzling array of<br />

activities, an unforgettable<br />

family holiday is guaranteed,<br />

whatever the season in the Holiday Region<br />

Interlaken. Tear down the mountain on<br />

a scooter with your loved ones or take a<br />

kayak out onto Lake Brienz. Climb high<br />

up into the treetops at the rope park, go<br />

on a treasure hunt or explore the Alpine<br />

landscape on family hikes and themed<br />

paths.<br />

Biking fun and views of the Bernese<br />

Oberland mountain peaks<br />

During the summer season you can hire<br />

scooter bikes at the Niederhornbahn’s<br />

middle station in Vorsass. The staff will<br />

equip you with the necessary equipment<br />

and helmet before you set off. The cable<br />

car takes you straight to Vorsass. Two<br />

@ Interlaken Tourism<br />

different routes take you along unsurfaced<br />

and asphalt roads to the railway station in<br />

Beatenberg. It’s an unforgettable experience<br />

offering plenty of fun and action. Choose<br />

your own pace – leisurely or fast. The<br />

routes wind their way through verdant<br />

forests, passing lush meadows and gushing<br />

mountain streams on the way. If you feel<br />

like taking a break, you can stop at one<br />

of the well laid out barbecue areas, so it’s<br />

worth bringing a nice picnic with you.<br />

Kayak across Lake Brienz<br />

Learn the basics while you enjoy a fun-filled<br />

day with the whole family on Lake Brienz.<br />

Be the captain of your own ship and spend<br />

two action-packed hours on the water whilst<br />

you tackle various sporting challenges.<br />

If you love swimming and water-based<br />

activities this experience<br />

guarantees fun and a challenge<br />

to test your sea legs!<br />

River rafting in Interlaken –<br />

feel the power of water<br />

An easily accessible launching<br />

area on the lower reaches of<br />

the Lütschine river means<br />

that families can also book<br />

an adventurous river rafting<br />

trip on the famous whitewater<br />

river with our expert<br />

guides. The smaller waves<br />

and splashes ensure fun for<br />

all ages whilst a plunge into<br />

Lake Brienz at the end<br />

of the tour is the perfect<br />

way to round off this fun<br />

family experience.<br />

Freshen up in the cooling waters of<br />

open-air pools by Lakes Thun and Brienz<br />

Around lakes Thun and Brienz you will find<br />

tranquil bathing spots and open-air pools<br />

whilst a spacious lawn awaits visitors to the<br />

Brienz Lido. At the lido on Lake Thun,<br />

you can swim lengths of several pools, race<br />

down the wide wavy slide or simply drink<br />

in breathtaking views of the Eiger, Mönch<br />

and Jungfrau from your lakeside vantage<br />

point. Alternatively, rent a canoe or standup<br />

paddle at various points on the southern<br />

bank of Lake Thun and ride the sparkling<br />

waters.<br />

Nature and tradition at Ballenberg:<br />

An adventure for the whole family<br />

Immerse yourself in the past and enjoy<br />

a stunning natural idyll at the Ballenberg<br />

Open-Air Museum. Experience the culture<br />

and customs of Switzerland at close hand<br />

and visit all of Switzerland in just one day.<br />

Unpaved roads and stone paths lead from<br />

the entrance of the Ballenberg Open-Air<br />

Museum to various centuries-old buildings<br />

representing every part of Switzerland.<br />

The St. Beatus caves: A natural wonder<br />

by Lake Thun<br />

Take a tour of discovery in the magical<br />

world of St. Beatus caves. Prepare to<br />

be fascinated by the incredible shapes<br />

and colours of impressive stalactite and<br />

stalagmite formations, and hear the rush<br />

and drip of the bubbling waters. The St.<br />

Beatus caves are one of the most popular<br />

day-trip destinations around Lake Thun,<br />

and it is possible to explore a kilometre of<br />

this on your own when you visit.<br />



THIS IS IT<br />

This is Engelberg-Titlis<br />

@ Engelberg-Titlis Tourismus<br />

Crisp, clean mountain air fills your lungs, your gaze sweeps<br />

across majestic mountain peaks, your nose takes in the<br />

delicate scent of soil and Alpine flowers, and the silence<br />

is broken only by the harmonious ringing of cowbells. This is<br />

precisely what you have been seeking. You give a whoop of joy:<br />

This is it!<br />

Rustic character and culture since 1120<br />

Engelberg is located 25 km south of Lake Lucerne in a wide<br />

mountain valley at an altitude of around 1000 metres. At 3,239<br />

metres, Titlis mountain with its glacier, and Hahnen mountain<br />

at 2,600 metres, are towering over the surrounding peaks. The<br />

Benedictine monastery was founded in 1120 and has a big impact<br />

on the life of the village, even today. Monks still live, work and<br />

teach there. In combination with the pleasant Swiss flair, the special<br />

architecture lends the village its very own charm.<br />

5 reasons for spending family holidays in Engelberg?<br />

During the holidays, the whole family hopes to have a great time<br />

and return home with wonderful memories. In Engelberg, that’s<br />

easy. As one of the sportiest family destinations in Switzerland, we<br />

offer a whole range of activities and experiences that add up to an<br />

unforgettable family holiday.<br />

1Easy accessibility<br />

In one hour’s drive from Zurich to Engelberg and only 30<br />

minutes later you are on Mount Titlis.<br />

2<br />

Family destination label since 1998<br />

The “Family Destination” label is only awarded to holiday<br />

destinations that streamline their offers to the needs and<br />

wishes of children. With family-friendly facilities and loads of<br />

enjoyable activities, these destinations (such as Engelberg) offer<br />

children and their parents plenty of fun, action, variety and<br />

relaxation.<br />

3<br />

Family programme<br />

Every day there’s a new adventure awaiting you in<br />

Engelberg. There’s an attractive family programme of<br />

activities being offered once again.<br />

4<br />

Playgrounds and picnic areas<br />

Engelberg has a range of adventure playgrounds that ensure<br />

excitement for the little ones. Also, Engelberg has numerous<br />

picnic spots, many alongside these playgrounds.<br />

5<br />

Hiking adventures for small and big alpinists<br />

For your family you will find plenty of themed hiking trails<br />

in Engelberg. There are a total of 11 varied walking and<br />

hiking trails that are designed to be suitable for pushchairs.<br />

Are you convinced? Or do you need more inspiration? Discover<br />

more: www.engelberg.ch/en/summer. See you soon in Engelberg!<br />

@ Engelberg-Titlis Tourismus<br />



Région Dents<br />

du Midi:<br />

The possibilities are endless<br />

Région Dents du Midi<br />

The Région Dents du Midi encompasses<br />

6 charming villages perched high in the<br />

Swiss Alps near the south eastern end of<br />

Lake Geneva. Nestled in the spectacular Val<br />

d’Illiez, these villages are part of Les Portes<br />

du Soleil, the world’s largest international<br />

ski & bike area and one of the most<br />

beautiful places in the world.<br />

In the summer, some 800 km of hiking<br />

trails and 600 km of mountain bike trails<br />

await outside your front door, with quaint<br />

alpine restaurants and sunny terraces at<br />

strategic intervals along the way. In the<br />

winter, the snowy landscape is a study in<br />

stark contrasts, from the hushed mystery of<br />

the frozen back country to the invigorating<br />

hustle and bustle of the state-of-the-art<br />

groomed ski slopes.<br />

No matter the season, this is a place of<br />

exhilarating peaks and inspiring views,<br />

where the border between France and<br />

Switzerland has all but disappeared and<br />

your garden stretches as far as the eye can<br />

see.<br />

In a land with no boundaries the<br />

possibilities are endless. At the risk of<br />

sounding cliché, there really IS something<br />

for everyone in the Région Dents du Midi!<br />

Multi Pass<br />

Rediscover the Alps this summer with the<br />

Portes du Soleil Multi Pass, your golden<br />

ticket to over 100 free and discounted<br />

activities! Staying overnight in the Région<br />

Dents du Midi? The Multi Pass is free of<br />

charge. Alternatively, you can purchase a<br />

one-day Multi Pass for CHF 11 at the ski lift<br />

ticket window in Champéry and Morgins.<br />

Free activities : Portes du Soleil Multi<br />

Pass: The all inclusive concept!<br />

Chair lift: With 22 mountain lifts<br />

throughout the Swiss and France resort, you<br />

can explore the peaks and jump from one<br />

country to another!<br />

Swimming pool: Swimming in the Région<br />

Dents du Midi! Whether you want to relax,<br />

play or do a bit more sport, entrance is free<br />

with your Multi Pass at swimming pools in<br />

Champéry and Morgins.<br />

Tourist train: Want to just enjoy<br />

wonderful mountain views? Simply use the<br />

inter-resort shuttles that will take you on a<br />

panoramic journey across the heart of our<br />

valley.<br />

Discounted activities<br />

Trott’in Herbe: Trott en Stock’s fleet of<br />

24 adult scooters and 8 junior scooters are<br />

an easy way to experience thrills in the<br />

mountains, with fat tyres and suspension<br />

to absorb the shocks of the rugged terrain<br />

and brake discs to stop on a dime. 10 km of<br />

trails with a 1000 m descent wind through<br />

alpine pastures and forests, making the Alps<br />

your personal playground.<br />

Déval’Kart: Hurtle down the ski slopes<br />

in summertime on a 4x4 go-cart rigged<br />

especially for the rugged mountain terrain.<br />

At the bottom, just hook your cart onto the<br />

ski lift and head back up for endless hours<br />

of fun.<br />

Via Ferrata: Part hiking, part<br />

mountaineering, a Via Ferrata allows hikers<br />

to safely navigate treacherous alpine terrain.<br />

With the proper equipment, adults and<br />

children alike can clip safely to a series of<br />

cables and iron rungs fixed to the valley’s<br />

rock walls. The Tière Via Ferrata is 460<br />

m long and has an altitude gain of 125 m,<br />

skimming up sheer rock walls. The route<br />

crosses over the River Tière in three places,<br />

offering spectacular views of the rushing<br />

cascades below.<br />

For more information visit www.rddm.ch<br />



A night under the stars<br />

@Fabiano Mancesti –fabxplore<br />

Who hasn’t dreamt of spending<br />

a night out in the open<br />

air under the stars? It’s an<br />

experience that’s now available with family<br />

or friends in the Vaud Alps, the Jura, and<br />

the Vaud Plateau. Organised with the<br />

environment and the current regulations in<br />

mind, these bivouacs are supervised by an<br />

accompanying guide with a wealth of local<br />

knowledge to share with the participants.<br />

There are six experiences on offer in<br />

total, each one addressing a different theme:<br />

from spotting wildlife to forest<br />

legends and marvelling<br />

at the splendour of the<br />

night sky. This product is<br />

in response to the current<br />

demand for outdoor<br />

activities and a desire on<br />

the part of many visitors to<br />

reconnect with nature. Each<br />

night is a genuine microadventure<br />

beneath the starry<br />

skies and an invitation to<br />

enjoy an experience that’s as<br />

exceptional as it is out of the<br />

ordinary.<br />

@PackedAgain<br />

the time to discover some other summer<br />

activities in the canton of Vaud.<br />

• A hike around the pristine waters of Lake<br />

Lioson, followed by relaxing sunbathing on<br />

the lakeshores<br />

• A family hike to the Ramaclé waterfall<br />

combined with the discovery of the famous<br />

Turrian Bridge<br />

• A walk in the terraced<br />

vineyards of Lavaux offering<br />

an outstanding view of<br />

Lake Geneva<br />

• Excursion up the mountains to Rochersde-Naye<br />

aboard a cogwheel train<br />

• Easy mountain bike route that is ideal for<br />

the family around the beautiful village of<br />

Les Diablerets<br />

• A day out on the picturesque shores of<br />

Lake Joux, combined with a dip in Lake<br />

Brenet for those who love cold water!<br />

@Fabiano Mancesti –fabxplore<br />

If you come to enjoy a “Night<br />

under the stars”, why not take<br />



Explore the<br />

Secrets of<br />

Schilthorn<br />

It only takes 30 minutes by cable car to the summit<br />

of the 2970 m high Schilthorn. In front of<br />

the impressive panorama atop the 3km high<br />

Schilthorn, with Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, where the<br />

secret agent James Bond chased the bad guys there’s<br />

plenty to discover. The jewel in the crowd is the Bond<br />

World exhibit, which takes you into a world of its own<br />

and provides exciting details about “On Her Majesty’s<br />

Secret Service” starring 007 actor George Lazenby. On the<br />

world’s first 007 Walk of Fame, stars from in front and behind the<br />

camera leave their mark on the legendary Bond filming location.<br />

After these exciting espionage experiences, the James Bond<br />

Brunch in the 360° restaurant Piz Gloria will taste even better. The<br />

restaurant rotates around its own axis during the meal, passing<br />

more than 200 mountain peaks. Afterwards, the cable car takes<br />

you down to Birg. Once there, you have the opportunity for two<br />

more amazing walks. First, the Skyline Walk platform leads you<br />

over the vertical abyss and provides a beautiful panoramic view<br />

across the whole mountain range. Secondly, for those who have<br />

not experienced enough thrills can dare to venture onto the Thrill<br />

Walk. Featuring crawl spaces, glass bottom floors, cattle-grids and<br />

more, this 200m walk is sure to get the spine tingling as you travel<br />

along the imposing rock massif and get an unrestricted view into<br />

the bottomless pit.<br />

GOOD<br />

TO KNOW<br />

● The cows are in Gimmelwald until about<br />

mid-June and then live on the alp for the summer<br />

before returning in September. The young animals<br />

spend the whole year around the barn.<br />

● Thomas Rubin is personally on site whenever he<br />

has time.<br />

● The altitude and the visit to the stables require<br />

suitable clothing and good shoes. Don’t forget<br />

sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.<br />

● Offer, resp. price is also available<br />

without brunch in the 360°-<br />

Restaurant Piz Gloria<br />

The Schilthorn<br />

Cableway Ltd also<br />

offers a guided visit to<br />

a farm in Gimmelwald<br />

afterwards. Gimmelwald<br />

is a traditional mountain<br />

farming village with just<br />

under 100 inhabitants,<br />

situated at 1367m above sea<br />

level between Stechelberg and<br />

Mürren. Immerse yourself in the<br />

everyday life of a Gimmelwald farmer and<br />

gain an authentic impression of traditional alpine farming.<br />

Thomas Rubin, a farmer from Gimmelwald, opens his byre doors<br />

personally whenever possible and gives an insight into his varied<br />

everyday working life. He provides exciting details about his own<br />

milk, cheese and sausage production, his animal husbandry and<br />

a lot of interesting facts about the cultivation of the surrounding<br />

mountain meadows.<br />

Make sure to take advantage of the 30 percent discount on the<br />

Stechelberg - Schilthorn return, valid until 14th November <strong>2021</strong><br />

and includes the exclusive James Bond Brunch. Children under 6<br />

eat and travel for free, making this a trip for all the family.<br />

Book online at schilthorn.ch/reservation.<br />


C<br />


M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

MY<br />



HOW DO<br />



CHILD?<br />



“Greeting every child, allowing them<br />

to share their ideas, facilitating a group<br />

activity, and providing a thoughtful<br />

morning message, shows our students<br />

that they are heard and known.”<br />

If the pandemic has shown educators<br />

anything, it is that our most<br />

fundamental responsibility is to care<br />

for those in our school community. If<br />

students do not feel genuinely safe, no<br />

achievement – academic or otherwise – is<br />

realistically possible. That some teachers<br />

and schools have been able to maintain<br />

achievement in the face of such disruption<br />

is testament to an unshakable truth;<br />

everything they have been doing has been<br />

based on care.<br />

Such a principle, however, cannot only<br />

be seen in moments of crisis – it must be<br />

ever-present and ever-evolving to meet<br />

the needs of a school community. We<br />

must always evaluate the meaning of<br />

‘pastoral care’ and look to build learning<br />

environments that are supportive,<br />

productive, and positive. This does not<br />

mean being ‘permissive’ or unrealistic; it<br />

means having the systems, strategies, and<br />

communication in place to forge strong<br />

relationships on which outstanding learning<br />

can be based.<br />

Knowing Every Child<br />

Embedded in our school’s philosophy is<br />

the idea that, “…students learn effectively,<br />

feel safe, welcome and respected within<br />

the community…”, but we are always<br />

looking to improve. To do this, it’s often<br />

best to start at the simplest point - asking<br />

young people what they need from us. The<br />

answer, invariably, is simple. To be able to<br />

help them organise their learning – which<br />

is important, but ‘functional’ - and to know<br />

who they are, which is fundamental.<br />

Truly knowing our students is not<br />

achieved simply by wanting to, it is done<br />

through deliberate processes. One such<br />

example is the ‘Morning Meeting’ in<br />

Primary <strong>School</strong>. Greeting every child,<br />

allowing them to share their ideas,<br />

facilitating a group activity, and providing<br />

a thoughtful morning message, shows our<br />

students that they are heard and known.<br />

This may seem simplistic, but such<br />

research-driven ideas give direction to<br />

knowing our students better.<br />

Managing Difficult Situations<br />

It holds that if we better know our<br />

students, we are better placed to build<br />

resilience within them. Resilience – the<br />

ability to ‘manage’ difficult situations – is<br />

highly individual but can be ‘worked on’.<br />

The more positive the environment, the<br />

more the scales ‘tip’ in favour of positive<br />

experiences in the mindset of the child,<br />

meaning they are better equipped to<br />

handle difficult times that might threaten<br />

to ‘unbalance’ them. We have seen our<br />

resilience pushed in recent months, but we<br />

have also seen it shine.<br />

Respecting Digital Spaces<br />

We are all ‘digital citizens’ in the modern<br />

world. Our children – their parents or<br />

teachers – are ‘digital natives’, and may<br />

take features of the digital world for<br />

granted. It is our responsibility to extend<br />

the idea of ‘pastoral care’ to this space.<br />

Our core messaging to students is based on<br />

‘respect’ – respect for others, for oneself,<br />

for data, and for intellectual property.<br />

Anything that impacts our students’ welfare<br />

is important to us.<br />

Seeing the Invisible<br />

<strong>School</strong>s must empower their teachers to be<br />

entirely committed to ‘see every child’. To<br />

further improve this commitment, however,<br />

staff must go beyond the superficial and<br />

attempt to see the invisible. With the<br />

right support system in place teachers can<br />

develop their expertise to better identify<br />

the features of every child’s background,<br />

interests, and character. With better<br />

knowledge, we can offer better care.<br />

At the Inter-Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich<br />

(ICS), we ask about your child(ren) before<br />

we tell you how we can serve their specific<br />

needs. Contact us at contact@icsz.ch to<br />

find out more about the international<br />

school of first choice in Zurich and we will<br />

arrange an appointment for you with our<br />

Admissions team. www.icsz.ch<br />


sleep<br />

THE<br />


OF GOOD<br />

HEALTH<br />

Sleep is the one single (in)action that<br />

we can take to reset our physical<br />

and mental health every day: a<br />

nightly rinse and repair of our brain and<br />

body. Humans are the only species that<br />

deliberately deprive themselves of sleep.<br />

Most of us need 7-9 hours every night,<br />

and sleep cannot be banked. Losing just<br />

one hour a night impacts our memory, our<br />

ability to learn and our overall health and<br />

has been associated with heart disease,<br />

stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.<br />

Since the onset of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic, many of us are finding it<br />

difficult to sleep, with anxiety and stress<br />

being the main causes of insomnia. The<br />

problem is that poor sleep worsens the<br />

symptoms of mental distress, so we find<br />

ourselves in a spiralling cycle of deficient<br />

sleep and increasing stress.<br />

The resulting tiredness leads many<br />

of us to turn to caffeine to help us focus<br />

and alcohol to help us get to sleep.<br />

Unfortunately, both have a disastrous<br />

impact on our sleep. Caffeine, which<br />

blocks our natural sleep-onset hormone,<br />

hangs around in our body for up to 12<br />

hours, meaning that the coffee we had<br />

at lunchtime can prevent us from falling<br />

asleep at bedtime. Alcohol induces<br />

anaesthesia, not sleep, and both liquid<br />

stressors impact sleep quality, so we awake<br />

unrefreshed the next day.<br />

Blue light from screens at night-time<br />

blocks our natural sleep cycle by turning off<br />

the important sleep hormone melatonin,<br />



vital for communicating the message to our<br />

brain that sleep should start.<br />

A good night’s sleep starts in the morning<br />

by getting good light: just 20 minutes of<br />

daylight sends a strong message to the<br />

brain to wake up and sets up our 24-hour<br />

clock for the day ahead. To keep this clock<br />

well calibrated, we should ensure a regular<br />

bedtime routine 7 days a week. Setting<br />

an alarm in the evening to begin the<br />

night-time wind down can help fine-tune<br />

the accuracy of our internal clocks. Dim<br />

the lights an hour before bed, lower the<br />

temperature in your room to 18 degrees<br />

and take a nice hot bath, both to relax and<br />

to cool your core temperature down. Our<br />

body temperature naturally falls as we go to<br />

sleep, along with our heart rate and blood<br />

pressure, so anything that drives these up,<br />

hampers our sleep.<br />

And if you wake up in the night and<br />

cannot get back to sleep, the best thing to<br />

do is to get up: retrain your brain that your<br />

bed is for sleeping in.<br />

How about you? How is your sleep right<br />

now? Are you awaking refreshed in the<br />

morning or do you need a coffee to get<br />

started? What do you do to help get to<br />

sleep each night?<br />

Our HealthFirst Sleep Well, Live Well<br />

Checklist provides tips to improve your<br />

sleep - mother nature’s built-in repair and<br />

replenish system.<br />

Dr Mecky McNeil and Dr Michelle Wright<br />

from HealthFirst (www.healthfirst.ch)<br />

offer physical and mental well-being<br />

services and First Aid training online<br />

and face-to-face to individuals and<br />

organisations throughout Switzerland<br />

and globally.<br />

Start the day with a dose of bright daylight: go<br />

1 outside for 20-30 minutes in the morning, ideally<br />

before beginning your working day, to stimulate your 24-<br />

hour clock.<br />

Set your evening sleep routine alarm clock to start<br />

2 your evening wind down to get ready for sleep. Aim<br />

for the same 7-days a week bedtime and wake-up time to<br />

help stabilise your 24-hour clock.<br />

Avoid bright light in the evening: tone down your evening lighting<br />

3 to softer yellow shades to help stimulate the night-time release of<br />

melatonin. Gradually toning this down will mimic the setting sun and send a<br />

message to your brain to start preparing for sleep.<br />

Avoid eating your evening meal too late so your body can have a chance<br />

4 to digest before sleep.<br />

5<br />

Avoid exercise in the 3 hours before sleep to help calm your heart rate<br />

and body before bed.<br />

Avoid afternoon naps post 3pm. They can interfere with your night-time<br />

6 sleep pattern.<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

Take a hot bath before bed, not only to relax but also to help lower your<br />

body temperature before sleep.<br />

Lower the temperature of your bedroom to 18 degrees; a cooler room<br />

helps the onset of sleep.<br />

Avoid screens and devices before going to sleep, not only to reduce the<br />

blue LED light stimulation that impairs melatonin release, but also to<br />

help calm the mind before sleep. Those last-minute emails may also lead to<br />

a spike in stress that can counteract the onset of sleep.<br />

10<br />

11<br />

12<br />

Keep your bedroom dark when you are asleep.<br />

Avoid clock faces in your room. If you do wake up in the night, do not<br />

look at the clock.<br />

Bedrooms are for sleeping in: if you wake up in the night, get up.<br />

Move to another room and sit quietly in a darkened place, listen to<br />

music, or read a book until you feel tired and ready for sleep. Prevent your<br />

brain from associating bed with being awake.<br />

13<br />

Avoid liquid stressors: no caffeine after lunchtime and beware of the<br />

alcoholic nightcap.<br />

Keep a journal and a pen beside your bed and write down your<br />

14 worries if they wake you at night. Putting your ‘to do’ list, worrying<br />

thoughts, or even 3 things you are grateful for on paper can really help to<br />

quiet your mind.<br />

15<br />




Switch off your snooze button. If you must set an alarm to wake you<br />

in the morning, you do not need to relive the stress impact more<br />

than once!<br />


Enjoy a full or half<br />

day of invigorating<br />

sports and activities<br />

A Maximum Ratio of<br />

4 or 6 campers to<br />

each camp leader<br />




Web: www.awesomesummercampzermatt.com<br />

Phone: +41 79 709 00 06<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> Day Camps<br />

We offer campers an exciting range of invigorating<br />

activities whilst developing key skills required to safely<br />

enjoy the outdoors. Each day we try to ensure that the<br />

children are making the most of the environment<br />

surrounding us and having fun, but also learning a bit<br />

about the outdoors!<br />

Age specific groups<br />

helping the children<br />

to make new friends.<br />

From 3-17 years.<br />

Email: info@awesomesummercampzermatt.com<br />

Phone: +41 79 709 00 06

Stop and smell<br />

the roses!<br />


Roses are some of the oldest flowering plants, appearing in<br />

the fossil record around 70 million years ago. The original<br />

wild roses were not so different to some of our wild roses<br />

today, with 5 petals, and some fragrance, and can be found in most<br />

regions of the world. The beauty of the flower and the perfume<br />

made the rose a very popular plant. The Romans used it as confetti<br />

for celebrations, as well as for medicinal purposes and perfume.<br />

The Greeks believed that the rose was created by Aphrodite,<br />

the Goddess of love, when running to save her lover Adonis, her<br />

tears fell on his blood, and thereby created a fragrant red rose.<br />

The Ancient Egyptians, too, used roses as a cosmetic ingredient,<br />

and they also appear in tombs as funerary wreaths. The cultural<br />

and social meaning of roses is very broad, from the red roses that<br />

represent love in many cultures, to the white rose representing the<br />

Virgin Mary in Christian imagery. Did you know that a bouquet of<br />

roses has different meanings depending on the colour of the roses<br />

in it? Blue is for mystery, yellow is for friendship and orange is for<br />

passion.<br />

Rose flowers<br />

Roses can be found in almost any colour, from the darkest purples,<br />

to the purest white. The two colours that are hardest to produce<br />

in roses are blue and black. Black flowers, of any type, are quite<br />

unusual, and black roses are no exception. You will see roses<br />

with the word “black” in their names, like “Black Baccara”, for<br />

example, but they are actually very dark red. Blue roses are even<br />

harder to find. The Japanese company, Suntory , bred pansy genes<br />

into a red rose, and used an enzyme to “switch off” the red colour.<br />

The resulting rose is more a purple colour than blue, as the red<br />

colour could not be entirely subdued. It’s called “Applause” and<br />

you can read about this lengthy project on Suntory’s website www.<br />

suntory.com<br />

The earliest breeding of roses has been documented in the<br />

Han Dynasty (141-87 BC) in China, where gardeners started to<br />

experiment with improving on the wild rose forms, that has just 5<br />

petals. Later, the China rose, or Rosa chinensis appeared in Europe<br />

in the middle of the 18th century, and is the parent for many<br />

modern garden roses. It is multi-petalled and flowers more than<br />

once in the season, a feature known as “repeat flowering.” Rose<br />

breeding is a big business today, with hundreds of new cultivars<br />

appearing on the market every year.<br />

Rose breeders are looking for plants that have a long flowering<br />

period, are fragrant, disease-resistant, with lots of healthy, glossy<br />

foliage. The <strong>International</strong> Rose Trial in Nyon, in the Canton of<br />


Vaud in Switzerland, is the first trial worldwide to assess all these<br />

things, without spraying or treating the roses in any way. You<br />

can see the results so far on the website of the Rose Trial www.<br />

rosenouvelledenyon.ch and if the COVID restrictions permit, visit<br />

them during the open days in summer.<br />

Rose fragrance<br />

Roses are described as the “cornerstone of perfumery” and are<br />

said to feature in 80% of womens’ perfumes. The roses most<br />

used in perfumery are Damascene roses, Turkish roses and Rosa<br />

centifolia that is principally grown around the French perfumemaking<br />

town, Grasse. Roses didn’t evolve their fragrance to make<br />

perfume, however, they evolved it to attract pollinators like bees.<br />

Human rose breeders later on refined and developed those fragrant<br />

roses so that today we can smell dozens of different elements in one<br />

rose – vanilla, citrus, nasturtium, apples and cloves, for example.<br />

You may also smell more unusual fragrances when you take a good<br />

sniff – honeysuckle, hyacinths, moss, peppers and even raspberry!<br />

Over 300 compounds are known to produce fragrance in roses,<br />

and these can vary by time of day, and where the flower is in the<br />

development cycle. The compounds are produced by hundreds<br />

of volatile molecules, including some called monoterpenes. Rose<br />

oxide is a monoterpene, and you find it in in Damask roses, as well<br />

as in lychees, and some wines, like Gewurtztraminer.<br />

Fragrance perception is a tricky thing in humans, as it depends<br />

on what you’ve been eating and drinking recently, as well as<br />

whether you are able to recognise the smell, so it’s no surprise that<br />

“noses”, professional people who smell things for a living, are in<br />

such high demand for many industries, including rose breeding.<br />

One of the most common complaints about some modern roses<br />

is that they don’t smell, and the reason for this was only recently<br />

discovered. The analysis of the decoding of the genes for the<br />

China Rose “Old Blush” revealed that when some of the genes<br />

for flower colour were switched “on”, they switched off the gene<br />

for fragrance. This would explain why some roses, with very pretty<br />

flower colours, have no smell.<br />

“Roses are described as the<br />

“cornerstone of perfumery”<br />

and are said to feature in 80% of<br />

womens’ perfumes.”<br />

Rose “fruit”<br />

Roses are related to several popular fruit, including apples and<br />

pears, and produce fruit in a similar way, developing after the<br />

fertilisation of the flower. They are called “hips”, “heps” or “haws”<br />

and come in a wide variety of colours and shapes, adding to the<br />

attractiveness of the plant, long after the flowers have finished,<br />

Inside the fruit, a large number of hairy seeds , called “achenes”<br />

develop, and on the outside, a fleshy fruit, called the “pericarp”<br />

is produced. The pericarp is the part that is used to make jams<br />

or tea, and is very high in Vitamin C, containing 50% more than<br />

is found in oranges. The hips are attractive to wildlife, as well as<br />

people, and you will see thrushes and blackbirds nibbling the hips<br />

in the depths of winter, and finches enjoying the seeds.<br />

Why are roses prickly?<br />

Rose stems have “prickles”, which are outgrowths of the<br />

epidermis, mostly as sickle-shaped barbs, that help them to climb.<br />

This way the rose can get more sunshine, and is more likely to<br />

survive. The prickles also help to deter browsing animals like deer,<br />

and are used an adaptation in sandy areas to trap sand at the base<br />

of the plant, helping to anchor it.<br />


“Roses are immensely adaptable plants, managing to survive<br />

in deserts as well as the far north, and as a result, are very useful<br />

garden plants.”<br />

Cooking with roses<br />

Roses have been used as an ingredient in cookery for millennia,<br />

and you can easily learn to make your own rose mixes for sweet<br />

and savoury dishes. First of all, find a rose that you like the smell<br />

of. It’s important that it has been grown with a no-spray regime, as<br />

you are going to eat it. Most pink and yellow roses smell and taste<br />

nice, and some white varieties will work too. The best time to pick<br />

them is early in the morning, before 10:00, when the dew is still<br />

on them. Take the petals off the rose and snip off the white part at<br />

the base of each petal. This tastes bitter and needs to be removed.<br />

Wash the petals in clean water and lay them out on a tea towel or<br />

kitchen paper to dry. If you want fresh petals, you will need to use<br />

them that day, but you can keep them for other recipes for up to a<br />

week in the fridge, or dry them for use later on.<br />

Easy recipes<br />

Rose tea – put a handful of petals in hot water, let them brew for<br />

a few minutes and enjoy<br />

Rose sugar – put a handful of clean dry petals in a jar of sugar<br />

in a dark place for a week then sieve out the petals. You can use the<br />

sugar in cakes, as decoration or to flavour other desserts<br />

Rose syrup – mix equal volumes of water and sugar in a<br />

saucepan, bring to the boil. Take off the heat and drop in a handful<br />

of petals and leave to soak for half an hour. Sieve out the petals<br />

and decant into a clean jar or bottle. This is delicious in desserts as<br />

well as soft and alcoholic drinks.<br />

A rose for every situation<br />

Roses are immensely adaptable plants, managing to survive in<br />

deserts as well as the far north, and as a result, are very useful<br />

garden plants. There are roses for ground cover, for walls, for pots<br />

and tiny miniatures for when you’ve run out of space for any more<br />

roses! And if you don’t have any space at home, you can enjoy<br />

them in rose gardens and botanical gardens across Switzerland.<br />

My book, “Gardens Switzerland” published by Bergli Books,<br />

available in all good bookshops, has lots of suggestions.<br />

Hester Macdonald is a garden designer, writer, journalist and<br />

consultant. Her book “Gardens Switzerland” is printed by Bergli<br />

Books and is available in all good bookshops.<br />


CULTURE &<br />



A<br />

few years ago, I was asked by<br />

some students if I wanted to help<br />

them with a club called “fight<br />

for rights”. It was initially made to address<br />

what they felt were inequalities within our<br />

school community and culture. At first, I<br />

was reluctant. I didn’t want to be tagged<br />

or labelled as an “activist”. After reflection<br />

I saw that this was a naïve move, as I had<br />

written about these ideas for years and<br />

as a teacher, I feel it is my duty to help to<br />

empower others. This group of students felt<br />

they were being left out of conversations<br />

due, what should be, unfathomable factors<br />

such as their sexual organs, their skin tone,<br />

how they walked, how they studied, or how<br />

much cash was in their pocket. It wasn’t<br />

right. Furthermore, teachers, students and<br />

staff in all the schools I have worked in have<br />

discussed the idea of culture and inequality.<br />

We have all experienced what it is like<br />

having baseless judgments against us, but<br />

some have had to deal with it more than<br />

others. We all judge each other, but the<br />

judgments regarding the aforementioned<br />

list are the tip of the iceberg when it comes<br />

to what makes us, us. They undermine<br />

what is really important: our physical &<br />

mental wellbeing with cultural appreciation<br />

at the centre. The main reservation that I<br />

had was: how could we address this theme<br />

in such a polarised world, which seems to<br />

favour the loudest in the room during the<br />

Internet Age?<br />

I recommended that they should realise<br />

that “fighting” isn’t the only answer,<br />

nor is it apparently, the most suitable<br />

way to get their point across in a centre<br />

of learning. Theoretically, my “teacher<br />

response” seemed to make sense, but<br />

what happens when stakeholders do not<br />

feel comfortable or safe to state their<br />

opinion or ideas in open dialogue? In all<br />

the schools I have worked in verbal abuse<br />

seems to be commonplace, from the casual<br />

homophobic or racial slur masked as banter<br />

or locker room talk. In a way this subtle<br />

and sometimes not so subtle discourse<br />

managed to subdue those deemed to be<br />

the subaltern . In my experience when<br />

this issue has been raised teachers throw<br />

up a number of things to blame from the<br />

media to parents. The real issue is a lack<br />

of awareness of oneself and those around<br />

us. Breakdowns in healthy conversations<br />

usually stem from ignorance. How can we<br />

create spaces where people feel that they<br />

can express themselves freely, but at the<br />

same time respect the people around them<br />

and have culture awareness regarding what<br />


and exposing injustices , but more often<br />

than not social media companies thrive<br />

from content that promotes outrage,<br />

deception and conspiracy. The more<br />

polarised we are, the better it is for them.<br />

These extreme attitudes can bleed into<br />

classrooms, beyond virtual life and beyond<br />

veils of computer screens. There have<br />

been incidences of teachers controlling<br />

political views , students verbally attacking<br />

those that oppose them and teachers<br />

being physically attacked for questioning<br />

cultural practices; even killed. Has there<br />

been an increase in this kind of behaviour,<br />

or are we just seeing it more in the news?<br />

Nevertheless, clearly what needs to<br />

happen is a development of spaces where<br />

conversations in schools allow freedom<br />

of expression (or the closest we can get<br />

to it). <strong>School</strong> classrooms should not be<br />

battlegrounds for culture wars, rather<br />

there should be a space where there is a<br />

search for identity rather than a “double<br />

down mentality” of one’s own identity or<br />

perspective. When I first introduced the<br />

idea of being prepared to be offended<br />

during debates in my class, I asked the<br />

following questions:<br />

● Have you ever felt degraded or<br />

disrespected by someone? Why? What did<br />

you learn from that moment?<br />

● Where is the line of what you can say and<br />

what you can’t say? Should there be a limit<br />

in class?<br />

● Should it be a crime to hurt someone’s<br />

feelings? What if that person isn’t around<br />

to be hurt?<br />

they say?<br />

It seems natural that cultures and<br />

communities have tensions built within<br />

them. How we manage our diversity and<br />

learn from our differences is the key. Open<br />

debate should be viewed as healthy as it<br />

creates innovation and understanding.<br />

Debates are some of our oldest practices.<br />

That should be an international school’s<br />

focus: to embrace the variety in front of us<br />

and within ourselves, to promote positive<br />

change and also to be proud of what we<br />

have currently. There is, however, a battle<br />

between real-life and online experiences.<br />

According to Cinelli, social media has<br />

closed our open-mindedness, creating<br />

homophily and echo-chambers. The<br />

monetary-minded coders at numerous<br />

internet companies have composed<br />

algorithms that champion monothought,<br />

not heteroglossia. The world of social<br />

media is a behemoth for educators to battle<br />

against and we need to expose it for what<br />

it is. In some lessons we have educated<br />

students on the pros and cons of social<br />

media and looked at how it can affect<br />

our mindset when it comes to freedom<br />

of thought and freedom of expression .<br />

Of course, there are positives to online<br />

engagement, such as encouraging activism<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 52<br />

These three questions seem to open up<br />

a huge amount of critical thinking and<br />

debate in themselves before we even began<br />

discussions regarding identity, politics and<br />

culture or otherwise. Prior to debate, we<br />

must think about what we say and how we<br />

say it. This is different from censorship,<br />

this is developing our interpersonal skills<br />

and learning how to manage different<br />

situations. Some may see this as shrewd<br />

or political correctness, but I see it as<br />

surviving in a chaotic environment. The<br />

term political correctness has had its own<br />

evolution both on the right and left of<br />

the political spectrum. Initially seen as a<br />

satirical term but left it was used in the<br />

1980s by the right as a weapon against<br />

inclusive language. Now perhaps it has<br />

an amalgamation of both stances. If

“There is a battle between real-life and online experiences. According to<br />

Cinelli, social media has closed our open-mindedness, creating homophily<br />

and echo-chambers.”<br />

people want to say what they want to<br />

say in any manner they see fit in spite<br />

of the situation, they must be prepared<br />

for the consequences: good or bad. This<br />

preparation and handling of situations and<br />

being prepared to speak our mind takes<br />

considerable emotional intelligence (skills<br />

that need to be taught more in school).<br />

Students should also be open to hearing<br />

other opinions different to their own and<br />

reconsider their points of view in a sensitive<br />

and thoughtful manner. This will avoid<br />

“cancelling” people unnecessarily and an<br />

abuse of “woke culture”.<br />

As educators we can facilitate discussion<br />

by possibly incorporating roleplay, or<br />

using other methods such as De Bono’s<br />

thinking hats. In Theory of Knowledge,<br />

IB students are sometimes restricted to<br />

certain Ways of Knowing in debates. From<br />

a teacher’s perspective we need to raise<br />

awareness prior to discussions about the<br />

stages for those who have been historically<br />

marginalised and the process it took for<br />

them to even have a ‘seat at the table’.<br />

The three stages could be observed as so:<br />


– realising that<br />

we all have<br />

implicit bias.<br />


– the dominant power may<br />

perhaps recognise the rights<br />

of these marginalised people and<br />

may allow concessions.<br />


– the dominant power recognises those<br />

marginalised as humans but doesn’t necessarily<br />

recognise their views.<br />

In unmoderated debates on social media<br />

young people are interacting with users at<br />

various stages of the pyramid. The last step<br />

of recognition will be the hardest, for those<br />

who feel they are marginalised and also for<br />

those who feel they are in power, as we have<br />

varying backgrounds and experiences in the<br />

classroom. The classroom should be a level<br />

playing field and this can only happen with<br />

equity rather than equality. To navigate<br />

these “risky” cultural conversations<br />

successfully it will take empathy, humility,<br />

guidance and accountability. These aspects<br />

need to be modelled by the teacher and<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 53<br />

other members of the school community.<br />

I have been passionate about the meeting<br />

of cultures for most of my life. It’s one<br />

of the reasons I am an international<br />

teacher. We should be glad more people<br />

are becoming more aware of themselves<br />

and others and I know a lot of colleagues<br />

and students are hopeful that these<br />

conversations become something that<br />

comes naturally, enhancing an appreciation<br />

of each other and a willingness to accept<br />

our differences.<br />

<strong>School</strong>s have spoken a lot about<br />

diversity recently and we do need to<br />

have conversations about culture at the<br />

various points where they meet. Some<br />

stakeholders, including staff and teachers<br />

can be defensive when they hear that<br />

word. If that’s you: try not to be triggered;<br />

be hopeful. Diversity is nothing new. If<br />

you don’t like the way the word is being<br />

interpreted or used, take ownership of it.<br />

Celebrate culture in the way that it reflects<br />

you, but doesn’t harm others. Diversity is<br />

part of you, it’s part of all of us. It’s what<br />

makes us who we are and it’s good to talk.

Dealing with<br />

bullying as an Expat<br />


“It started with pulling out my hairbands, then<br />

progressed to name-calling. The incidents became<br />

more and more frequent. I found excuses to spend<br />

recreation inside, but this just gave them fuel to call<br />

me a geek and a swot. One day, a group of them<br />

pushed me to the ground and threw grass and mud<br />

on me. One slapped my face. My friends were too<br />

scared to help as they didn’t want the bullies to start<br />

on them.”<br />

The above situation resulted in months<br />

of fear and anxiety. A feeling of dread in<br />

the pit of the stomach at the thought of<br />

going to school, lousy sleep, nightmares and<br />

withdrawal from social activities.<br />

How do I know how bad this feels?<br />

This person was me.<br />

Thirty years have since gone by, I<br />

am now a mother myself and work in<br />

education. When a friend approached me<br />

about a bullying situation it got me thinking<br />

about how I should advise her. More<br />

specifically, how it can be extra challenging<br />

for expats who may feel isolated, and who<br />

lack the support or language skills necessary<br />

to deal with the situation.<br />

My friend confided that she didn’t know<br />

how to help, that she didn’t understand<br />

her school’s approach to bullying, and she<br />

didn’t feel comfortable approaching her<br />

child’s teacher as her French isn’t good<br />

enough.<br />

This article offers advice on recognising<br />


ullying, practical tips, and even a template<br />

letter you can use to approach your child’s<br />

teacher.<br />

I hope it helps you feel more empowered<br />

and confident in approaching this topic<br />

after reading it.<br />

Bullying or teasing?<br />

Bullying exists on a ‘spectrum’ from ‘light<br />

teasing’ (not to be belittled) right through<br />

to verbal and sometimes physical abuse.<br />

Before taking action, it pays to get the facts<br />

straight about what exactly is going on.<br />

It’s essential to keep the lines of<br />

communication open and make sure<br />

your child knows that you are there for<br />

them. Children often choose bedtime to<br />

offload their worries – a time when us<br />

parents are tired and looking forward to<br />

an evening of Netflix! Remind yourself<br />

how important this is and try your best<br />

to offer a sympathetic ear whenever your<br />

child chooses to talk – even if it’s not a<br />

convenient time for you.<br />

Rather than jumping in and trying to<br />

solve the issue, your child can be more<br />

helpful to have their feelings validated. Try<br />

these responses:<br />

“That sounds tough” “I totally understand why<br />

that makes you feel sad.”<br />

“I would feel the same in this situation.”<br />

The STOP acronym can also be helpful to<br />

identify bullying.<br />

S - Several<br />

T – Times<br />

O - On<br />

P - Purpose<br />

It sounds like teasing.<br />

Teasing isn’t fun for anyone. However, it<br />

is something that is usually best resolved<br />

by giving your child the necessary tools<br />

rather than intervening directly. Plus, by<br />

doing this, you will be helping them build<br />

assertiveness and social skills, which will<br />

help them through adolescence and adult<br />

life.<br />


Visualisation.<br />

Children respond well to visualising words<br />

“bouncing off” of them. It can help them<br />

to realise that they don’t have to accept<br />

or believe what is said. This image can be<br />

demonstrated by showing how balloons<br />

bounce off a person.<br />

“My daughter and I had a giggle practising this. I<br />

bounced a balloon at her whilst calling her ‘tragic’<br />

(this seems to be the current teasing word of choice).<br />

As the balloon bounced off her, I could see the effect<br />

of the word diminishing.”<br />

Practise your confident voice.<br />

Why not rehearse some quick and effective<br />

responses with your child? It’s very<br />

empowering for them, and responses like<br />

these can disarm the ‘teaser’.<br />

“That makes me feel really uncomfortable.”<br />

“Sorry you feel you have to make comments like<br />

that.”<br />

Or perhaps a disinterested voice:<br />

“If you say so.”<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 55<br />

It sounds like bullying.<br />

Reassure your child that you support them,<br />

that this will stop and that they have the<br />

right to feel safe and protected at school,<br />

and no one has the right to bully them.<br />

Find out as many facts as you can.<br />

Anything involving physical abuse, racial,<br />

sexist or discriminatory slurs needs<br />

reporting to the teacher immediately. An<br />

email followed by a follow-up face to face<br />

or phone conversation is usually best.<br />

Often children don’t want their parents<br />

to get involved for fear it will make things<br />

worse. There are some situations where<br />

immediate intervention may not be the<br />

correct approach, but in more severe cases,<br />

informing someone at the school is essential<br />

even if that means going against your<br />

child’s wishes.<br />

If you usually communicate with your<br />

child’s teacher in another language, it’s<br />

best to write the email and prepare for the<br />

meeting in this language. Our TutorsPlus<br />

language experts have prepared some<br />

useful phrases for those based in French<br />

and German speaking countries.<br />

Here is an example of how you might<br />

communicate about a bullying situation in<br />

French:<br />

Je me permets de vous écrire concernant une<br />

situation à l’école qui touche beaucoup à Sarah en<br />

ce moment. Il s’agit d’un cas d’harcèlement……<br />

Many schools have an anti-bullying<br />

programme in place. KIVA, an anti<br />

bullying campaign launched in 2009<br />

in Finland, is used in over 19 countries<br />

worldwide, including many schools<br />

in Switzerland. Some schools have a<br />

playground buddy system or offer regular<br />

workshops for students.<br />

“My daughter’s school has a ‘worry box. Children<br />

can write down an issue that is affecting them<br />

(anonymously if they wish) and post it to the school<br />

counsellor.”<br />

<strong>School</strong>s with a structure in place will<br />

usually set the wheels in motion straight<br />

away. However in other schools, you may<br />

have to work a little harder to get your<br />

voice heard. Don’t be put off – you have a<br />

right to seek support and advice when your<br />

child is being bullied.<br />

Ask for a meeting with school staff.<br />

Rather than heading straight to the top,

“With the hashtag #bekind trending at the<br />

moment, there has never been a better time for<br />

your child to learn that the cool kids are the kind<br />

ones, not the bullies.”<br />

approach your child’s classroom teacher<br />

first and ask for a meeting to discuss the<br />

issue.<br />

Jot down in advance the points you want<br />

to make. Perhaps have a list of the bullying<br />

incidents to refer to, also include the steps<br />

you have already taken with your child to<br />

overcome this, and then the action you<br />

would like to see taken.<br />

It’s seldom a good idea to approach the<br />

perpetrator or his / her parents unless you<br />

know them personally (and even then, it’s<br />

not usually a good idea). <strong>Parent</strong>s tend to<br />

jump to the defence of their child, so you<br />

risk creating a conflict that won’t help the<br />

situation. Moreover, unless you are 100%<br />

sure what’s going on at school (and let’s<br />

face it, most of us aren’t), then you risk<br />

falsely accusing someone which will lead<br />

to, you guessed it, more conflict. Bullying<br />

is an emotional topic, and the thought of<br />

a child experiencing it can make parents,<br />

understandably, very upset. It’s essential<br />

to keep your cool so that you can have<br />

constructive conversations with everyone<br />

involved.<br />

Finally, remind your child and yourself<br />

that ‘this too shall pass.’ Thirty years on<br />

from my own experience of bullying, I can<br />

see that the situation, horrible as it was at<br />

the time, has ultimately enabled me to grow<br />

emotionally and helped me decide that I<br />

want to be a caring person.<br />

With the hashtag #bekind trending at the<br />

moment, there has never been a better time<br />

for your child to learn that the cool kids are<br />

the kind ones, not the bullies.<br />

The TutorsPlus Team support parents<br />

and children with a range of education<br />

issues. Our team are here should you need<br />

advice on a bullying issue. Don’t hesitate to<br />

reach out to us on 022 731 81 48, email us<br />

at info@tutorsplus.com or visit our website<br />

www.tutorsplus.com.<br />

Helpful phrases<br />

She is clearly being bullied…..<br />

C’est évident qu’elle est harcelée<br />

Es ist offensichtlich, dass sie belästigt /<br />

gemobbt wird…<br />

I believe the perpetrators to be…..<br />

Il me semble que les personnes<br />

responsables seraient….<br />

Es scheint mir, dass die verantwortlichen<br />

Personen………………sind<br />

We have tried to resolve this together<br />

but I feel it’s now time to ask for your<br />

support.<br />

Nous avons essayé de gérer cette<br />

situation en famille mais il me semble<br />

que votre intervention est désormais<br />

nécessaire …<br />

Wir haben versucht, mit dieser Situation<br />

in der Familie klarzukommen, aber<br />

nun habe das Gefühl, dass wir Ihre<br />

Unterstützung brauchen…<br />

Based in Geneva, Liz is a student advisor,<br />

ex-teacher and Client Manager for<br />

TutorsPlus, she is also a mum of 2 and<br />

writes about education, ex-pat life and<br />

parenting.<br />


Your Swiss summer<br />

Family<br />

vacation<br />

With its stunning peaks and gently<br />

rolling hills, picturesque lakes and<br />

idyllic streams, mysterious caves and<br />

dramatic gorges, Switzerland provides<br />

a unique and alluring backdrop for<br />

unforgettable family holidays.<br />

Family destinations.<br />

Children want to let off steam, to explore new things and<br />

to be adventurous – especially on holidays. <strong>Parent</strong>s and<br />

other accompanying persons would like to enjoy a<br />

moment without the kids from time to time – but they<br />

need to be sure that the children are in a group of peers<br />

and well looked after. The Family Destination label is<br />

awarded to holiday places and destinations which know<br />

all about these wishes and needs and shape their<br />

services accordingly.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/family<br />

Family accommodation.<br />

The “Swiss Family Hotel & Lodging” accommodation label<br />

stands for stress-free family holidays. Whether it’s a simple<br />

mountain guesthouse, a comfortable holiday apartment<br />

or a luxurious hotel – all have one thing in common, namely<br />

family-friendly appeal and an approach that makes both<br />

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MySwitzerland.com/familyhotels<br />

City experiences.<br />

Swiss cities are very family-friendly and offer numerous experiences for<br />

families. For example outdoor raclette. Raclette is one of THE Swiss<br />

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Here visitors will find everything they need to enjoy an outdoor raclette.<br />

The restaurant is also the starting point for numerous hikes. A hiking<br />

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or contact expats@switzerland.com or phone 0800 100 200.

Widening<br />

Gaps<br />


The Coronavirus that first appeared<br />

in Wuhan and then rapidly<br />

became a global health crisis<br />

has disrupted schools and universities in<br />

unprecedented ways. Successive lockdowns<br />

across the planet have led to a cumulative<br />

deficit of about one year’s schooling and,<br />

according to some studies, this educational<br />

loss might have adverse effects on the<br />

economy for more than 60 years to come<br />

(Coughlin, 2020).<br />

The pandemic has widened gaps<br />

between countries, systems and schools.<br />

This is essentially related to differences in<br />

infrastructure. Some countries have wide<br />

scale broadband access, well-developed<br />

online learning capacity and, therefore,<br />

have been able to adapt to the challenges<br />

of Covid relatively quickly. Others, on<br />

the other hand, do not, and have been<br />

living through Covid with patchy solutions<br />

such as using social media platforms or<br />

highly asynchronous, minimally scaffolded<br />

educational strategies.<br />

These gaps, related to access and<br />

infrastructure, exist within countries<br />

among different sectors of the population.<br />

In the United States, for example, the<br />

racial socioeconomic divide has become<br />

increasingly exacerbated because of<br />

educational gaps caused by Covid (Francis<br />

& Weller, 2020). In England, some argue<br />

that the educational gaps caused by Covid<br />

have caused a widening of almost 50%<br />

between rich and poor, affecting mainly<br />

BAME and disadvantaged students (Adams,<br />

2020).<br />

The Covid learning gap has widened<br />

between students already boosted by<br />

privileged learning conditions, who have<br />

been able to flip to online schooling<br />

seamlessly; and those from less advantaged<br />

backgrounds, already struggling to gain<br />

access to quality education. This has<br />

meant that those already predisposed to<br />

learning through technology have stripped<br />

further ahead, innovating with increasingly<br />

forward-looking expressions of online<br />

learning while those left behind have<br />

fallen and will continue to fall even further<br />

behind.<br />

There is another dimension to this<br />

widening gap: it has increased between<br />

students at ease with their academic<br />

programmes and those struggling to access<br />

the curriculum: students with special<br />

learning needs will not receive the type of<br />

scaffolding and support they need when<br />

online and in environments that have been<br />

heavily disrupted by Covid, they will fall<br />


even further behind.<br />

This is called “the Matthew effect”, it<br />

is when the rich get richer by capitalising<br />

on their pre-existing wealth whereas the<br />

poor get poorer as they fall further and<br />

further into debt. In education, it means<br />

that consolidated knowledge and strong<br />

pre-existing access to knowledge can be<br />

capitalised upon and will create even<br />

greater dividends for the learner whereas<br />

gaps in learning will cause students to fall<br />

even further behind as the curriculum<br />

moves ahead and they become increasingly<br />

lost.<br />

The fact that different institutions have<br />

dealt with Coronavirus in different ways has<br />

created further disparities. In the United<br />

States, in some states, private schools<br />

have continued teaching face to face<br />

whereas state schools have not. This has<br />

led parents to opt out of the state system,<br />

despite the cost factor (Dickler, 2020).<br />

If this trend continues, there will be an<br />

increased disparity between costlier private<br />

educational provision and state-run schools,<br />

leading to more division and ever-widening<br />

gaps.<br />

It should be added that this is against<br />

a backdrop where the gap between the<br />

poorest and the richest worldwide has<br />

never been higher (Picketty, 2017), there<br />

is much heated debate in the UK about<br />

the future of private schools (Ryan, 2019)<br />

and the integrity of many elite US colleges<br />

has suffered due to the “Varsity Blues”<br />

corruption scandals that have exposed<br />

parents buying places for their children.<br />

It is important to strive for an educational<br />

system that is inclusive and broad-based,<br />

as envisioned in UNSDG4. This is because<br />

societal renewal, public goods and a healthy<br />

economy all require high literacy rates<br />

and high quality education across as many<br />

sectors of the population as possible.<br />

So what should governments, ministries,<br />

examination boards and schools be doing<br />

to lessen these widening gaps? There are a<br />

number of steps that can be considered:<br />

● State-private mergers whereby elements<br />

of privilege and high quality are shared<br />

across systems<br />

● More impactful and wide scale<br />

scholarship programmes<br />

● More varied and inclusive criteria for<br />

higher education admission, allowing<br />

students to short-circuit the “gilded path”<br />


“There is a battle between real-life and online experiences. According to Cinelli, social<br />

media has closed our open-mindedness, creating homophily and echo-chambers.”<br />

and gain entry on the quality of their<br />

character and thirst for lifelong learning<br />

● More developed high quality, certifying<br />

and free access online learning<br />

The state system in Switzerland is<br />

an excellent example of how quality<br />

and access can be married successfully.<br />

In Switzerland there is an outstanding<br />

standard of high school education, a high<br />

quality professional stream that is not seen<br />

as inferior to the academic stream in any<br />

way (in fact, most students in the national<br />

system take up the professional stream)<br />

and some of the globally highest ranked<br />

and yet cheapest universities. As a result,<br />

Switzerland’s educational system has led<br />

to one of the least educationally divided<br />

societies in the world.<br />

Works Cited<br />

Adams, R. (2020). Gap between rich and poor pupils<br />

in England ‘grows by 46% in a year’. The Guardian.<br />

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/<br />

sep/01/disadvantaged-and-bame-pupils-lost-morelearning-study-finds<br />

Coughlin, S. (2020). Coronavirus: Lost school<br />

time ‘will hurt economy for 65 years’ - study. BBC.<br />

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-53514564<br />

Dickler, J. (2020). Families jump to private schools<br />

as coronavirus drags on. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.<br />

com/2020/11/08/coronavirus-why-families-arejumping-to-private-schools.html<br />

Francis, D.; & Weller, C.D. (2020).<br />

The Black-White Wealth Gap Will Widen<br />

Educational Disparities During the Coronavirus<br />

Pandemic. Centre for American Progress. https://<br />

www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/<br />

news/2020/08/12/489260/black-white-wealthgap-will-widen-educational-disparities-coronaviruspandemic/<br />

Picketty, F. (2017). Capital in the Twenty-<br />

First Century. Trans. A Goldhammer. Cambridge,<br />

Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.<br />

Ryan, F. (2019). There is no longer any<br />

justification for private schools in Britain. The<br />

Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/<br />

commentisfree/2019/sep/19/private-schoolsbritain-labour-unjust<br />

Whistle, W. (2020). The Varsity Blues College<br />

Admissions Scandal Continues. Forbes. https://www.<br />

forbes.com/sites/wesleywhistle/2020/09/03/<br />

the-varsity-blues-college-admissions-scandalcontinues/?sh=63d2686771cb<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 60<br />

Conrad Hughes is campus and secondary<br />

school principal at the <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> of Geneva’s La Grande Boissière<br />

where he teaches philosophy. Conrad,<br />

who holds two doctorates, is also a<br />

research assistant at the University of<br />

Geneva. He has published widely on<br />

education.<br />

Conrad recently published Education<br />

and Elitism, which discusses polemical<br />

debates around privilege, private schools,<br />

elitist universities, equal access to<br />

education and underlying notions of<br />

fairness. The<br />

overarching<br />

question that<br />

runs through<br />

the book is<br />

about the future<br />

of education<br />

worldwide: how<br />

can schools and<br />

universities<br />

tread the<br />

tightrope<br />

between access<br />

and quality?

Reinventing High<br />

<strong>School</strong> Transcripts:<br />

the Learner Passport<br />

At the Ecole <strong>International</strong>e de Genève - or Ecolint - our<br />

aim is to educate students to be “global citizens with the<br />

courage and capacity to create a just and joyful tomorrow<br />

together”. But what does it mean to be a global citizen and what<br />

do we mean by a just and joyful tomorrow?<br />

Our work with our historical partners, UNESCO’s <strong>International</strong><br />

Bureau of Education, has led us to describe seven global<br />

competences that encapsulate the knowledge, skills and attitudes<br />

necessary to flourish as a global citizen and to contribute to a better<br />

world. These are the competences that we look to nurture in every<br />

student, and which go well beyond test scores or grades :<br />

1Lifelong learning: learning how to learn, curiosity,<br />

creativity, critical thinking, communication skills, problem<br />

solving, reflection and innovation.<br />

2Self-agency: initiative, drive/motivation, endurance/grit/<br />

resilience, responsibility, entrepreneurship, accountability, selfmanagement,<br />

exercising rights and responsibilities, self-value.<br />


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2021</strong> | 61<br />

3Interactively using diverse tools and resources:<br />

impactful and efficient use of resources, responsible<br />

consumption, interfacing with tools.<br />

4Interacting with others: teamwork, collaboration,<br />

negotiation, leadership, followership, conflict management,<br />

respect for others.<br />

5Interacting with the world: balancing rights with<br />

responsibilities, balancing freedom with respect, balancing<br />

power with restraint, being local and global, environmental<br />

custodianship, global awareness.<br />

6Multi-literateness: reading and writing, numeracy, digital<br />

literacy, data literacy, technological literacy, coding, media<br />

literacy, financial literacy, cultural literacy, health literacy.<br />

7Transdisciplinarity: mastery within and across STEM<br />

(sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the<br />

arts, the humanities, social sciences, religions, languages and<br />

vocations.<br />

There are many ways that we make these competences

flourish in our students: through our unique Universal Learning<br />

Programme with its character, passion and mastery projects,<br />

which develop initiative, drive and endurance; through a<br />

transdisciplinary “Mission to Mars” project, which stimulates<br />

critical and creative thinking; through our Student League of<br />

Nations, which enhances global awareness and respect for others,<br />

and in myriad other ways.<br />

We are not unique in our desire to educate the whole child,<br />

with many schools across the world aiming to develop similar<br />

competences, though when we invented the IB Diploma here<br />

at Ecolint in the 1960s, the approach was pioneering. All the<br />

IB programmes now do this, for example the Primary Years<br />

Programme Student Exhibition, with its emphasis on responsible<br />

action, the Middle Years programme with its emphasis on<br />

interdisciplinary study and the Diploma Programme, with its broad<br />

and balanced curriculum, core of Theory of Knowledge, the<br />

Extended Essay and CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). All of these<br />

programmes are designed with much more than academic scores in<br />

mind as an outcome.<br />

However, when it comes to admitting students to tertiary<br />

education, most universities only ask for a grade transcript and<br />

personal statement along with recommendations. All the work on<br />

creativity, thinking across subjects, developing responsibility and<br />

citizenship that has been a core part of every child’s education is<br />

not looked at. The time has come to present universities with a<br />

much fuller story, one that truly reflects the breadth and depth of a<br />

quality education.<br />

This is why we have designed our Ecolint Learner Passport:<br />

to take the story of learning all the way to the end of Secondary<br />

<strong>School</strong> so that universities accept students on a broader range of<br />

criteria.<br />

The Ecolint Learner Passport allows students to gain credit for<br />

areas of competence development in the curriculum (academic<br />

subjects and class projects) and outside the curriculum (extra<br />

curriculars, vocational work, hobbies and passion). Each credit<br />

area, in describing a global competence, tells the story of how<br />

students have grown, who they are and what makes them stand<br />

out.<br />

Working with other like-minded schools across the globe, we<br />

have created the Coalition to Honour All Learning, which is federating<br />

other schools and universities to join this movement, which<br />

recognises that students are so much more than a number or a<br />

grade. The Ecolint Learner Passport is a movement to celebrate<br />

the whole child.<br />

To find out more about the Ecolint Learner Passport or to join<br />

the Coalition, contact conrad.hughes@ecolint.ch.<br />



When Should I<br />

Worry About My Child’s<br />

Stress Levels?<br />

Tips for Recognizing When “Life Stress” Has Become Concerning Anxiety<br />

Stressed out. Strung Out. Tentative. Shy. Obsessive.<br />

Worried. Anxious. Panicked. These are all ways that your<br />

child or teen may feel sometimes. Each of these is a normal<br />

part of life. In fact, they can be an especially typical part of life<br />

in an expat family. I say this because change, newness and having<br />

to navigate unexpected things are common triggers for anxiety.<br />

Additionally, friendship changes, as well as attending schools with<br />

different learning approaches are known to evoke stress in many<br />

young people. We ask our globally nomadic kids to be flexible<br />

and handle a significant amount of change. In the long run, this<br />

lifestyle has huge benefits for kids and teens. At the same time, it is<br />

reasonable to expect that they may experience a fair share of stress<br />

or worries that are distinct to third-culture-kid living.<br />

Yet, there is clearly a point at which too much anxiety causes<br />

problems for kids and teens.<br />

After more than twenty years of working with kids, teens and<br />

parents I have worked with my fair share of kids and teens who<br />

needed specific support to help feel calmer and more at ease. There<br />

is a point at which healthy motivating stress becomes debilitating or<br />

maladaptive anxiety.<br />

Today my hope is to give parents an inside look at when your<br />

child may need specialist help to feel better. In a nutshell it<br />

comes down to an issue of moderation and the ways in which the<br />

symptoms of anxiety are impacting a child’s daily life, sense of self,<br />

schoolwork, family relationships, friendships and safety.<br />

Here are 5 key signs that anxiety is impacting your child in a way<br />

that isn’t helpful for them.<br />

1) They are worrying so much they cannot enjoy<br />

things they used to do.<br />

2) They have habit behaviors (like skin<br />

picking, hair pulling, or frequent use of<br />

alcohol or other substances to reduce<br />

stress).<br />

3) Their eating and sleeping change.<br />

Really anxious people often eat a<br />

lot less or a lot more than usual.<br />

And anxiety often leads to trouble<br />

falling or staying asleep.<br />

If your child is experiencing any of the<br />

above, it makes sense to reach out to a school<br />

counselor and/or therapist for support. This<br />


Fun fact<br />

A little bit of anxiety can be good for<br />

kids and teens. Anxiety helps them get<br />

motivated to do well in school, sports,<br />

theater or any of their pursuits. It can<br />

add a competitive edge - and keeps<br />

them productive and crossing things off<br />

their lists. It makes them conscientious<br />

friends. It helps them anticipate,<br />

organize and plan.<br />

is especially true if your child experiences more than one of the<br />

above.<br />

4) They are experiencing panic attacks (racing heart, racing<br />

thoughts, chest pain, uncontrollable crying or upset) that<br />

mean they miss out on social time or other enjoyable activities<br />

because they are worried that more panic attacks will happen.<br />

5) Sometimes mounting anxiety can lead to young people<br />

engaging in self-harming behaviors like scratching or cutting<br />

themselves. Occasionally, teens feel so overwhelmed by their<br />

stress and worries that they think about escaping the stress<br />

permanently.<br />

These last two indicators of anxiety can be more disruptive for<br />

kids or teens, and worrying for parents. If your child is having<br />

panic attacks or is engaging in self-harm, or having thoughts about<br />

death or dying, it is recommended that you reach out swiftly to a<br />

therapist to do an assessment for you. It isn’t your job to determine<br />

how serious your kid’s anxiety is. When in doubt, this is a great<br />

time to call in an expert to help set up a safe space to talk to your<br />

child and to help the family make decisions about ways to support<br />

your child in feeling better.<br />

It can be helpful to ask yourself these questions:<br />

Is my child missing out on activities and people they used to enjoy?<br />

Are they spending tons of time talking about worrying about<br />

things they cannot control? In a wat that feels really obsessive?<br />

Have they lost a lot, or gained a lot of weight?<br />

Is my child complaining of trouble falling asleep, or<br />

frequent bad dreams?<br />

Do they have nervous habits that seem to be<br />

getting worse?<br />

Is my child extra tearful and irritable<br />

lately?<br />

Are they drinking or using other<br />

substances frequently as a way “to take<br />

the edge off”?<br />

Have you seen or heard that they have<br />

been scraping, scratching or cutting their<br />

arms or legs?<br />

Has my child talked about not wanting to<br />

be here, or about dying, because they are so<br />

stressed out?<br />


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2021</strong> | 65<br />

“There is a point at which<br />

healthy motivating stress<br />

becomes debilitating or<br />

maladaptive anxiety.”

“Talk therapy with specific goals and strategies (depending on some elements<br />

of the anxiety) can make a huge difference in a young person’s well-being.”<br />

Although some of the things on this list are scary for parents,<br />

the really good news about anxiety is that it is highly treatable.<br />

Talk therapy with specific goals and strategies (depending on<br />

some elements of the anxiety) can make a huge difference in a<br />

young person’s well-being. Good therapists will do a combination<br />

of individual therapy, parent sessions, and family sessions. This<br />

combination helps parents and their children develop specific<br />

coping and support strategies so that the young person returns to a<br />

more balanced, calm, hopeful state. Don’t we all want that for our<br />

children?<br />

The good news is that there are an increasing number of<br />

therapists who specialize in supporting expatriate kids and families.<br />

I always recommend that parents “Shop around” some and ask for<br />

introductory meetings with potential therapists. A talented and<br />

committed therapist will appreciate that you are taking the time to<br />

ensure that they are a good match for your child and your family.<br />

It is also important that in addition to a personality match, you will<br />

want to find a therapist who has specific expertise working with<br />

children or teens of the same age as your child. Finally it helps to<br />

make sure that the therapist has experience helping families assess<br />

for, and treat, anxiety.<br />

In closing, remember that a little bit of anxiety is often a good<br />

thing. If you are unsure if “little bit” line has been crossed, that’s<br />

a great time to reach out for clarity and support. Take care and be<br />

well.<br />


Potential<br />

Passion<br />

Responsibility<br />

Exceptional academic results and top university<br />

admissions<br />

Inspirational teachers committed to students’<br />

success<br />

<strong>International</strong>ly accredited IB school for<br />

ages 18 months to 18 years<br />

Preschool and Kindergarten programmes include<br />

German lessons approved by Bildungsdirektion<br />

Kanton Zürich<br />

Minutes to<br />

Zurich<br />

city centre<br />

Visit us!<br />

One school<br />

campus<br />

www.icsz.ch<br />

Strubenacher 3, 8126 Zumikon, Switzerland

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