International School Parent Magazine - Spring 2023

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Teen<br />

mental health<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> time:<br />

Family friendly<br />

activities<br />

Navigating<br />

university<br />


We need summer,<br />

sun and views.<br />

Pilatus, Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region, © Michael Sidofsky<br />

I need<br />

Switzerland.<br />

Discover Switzerland now: MySwitzerland.com/expats<br />

Tell us about your favourite experiences using #IneedSwitzerland



Double degree with University of Plymouth (UK)<br />


• <strong>International</strong> Management<br />

• <strong>International</strong> Relations and Diplomacy<br />

• Digital Media<br />

• Business Analytics<br />

• Computer Science<br />


Naturally bilingual –<br />

from Pre-Kindergarten to <strong>International</strong> A Levels<br />

Academia <strong>School</strong>s supports people from Pre-Kindergarten through to the end<br />

of Secondary <strong>School</strong> and beyond. We assist children, young people and adults<br />

with their individual learning processes and do all we can to help them achieve<br />

their goals – in Basel and in Zurich.<br />

Find out more at www.academia-schools.ch

Contents<br />

07 Meet The Head – Interview With James Stenning, <strong>International</strong><br />

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

10 Finding The Right <strong>School</strong> For Your Child In Switzerland<br />

14 5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing An <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> For Your Child<br />

16 The Global Direction Of Travel Of Education<br />

20 Trust The Experts – How To Navigate University Application<br />

Processes As An <strong>International</strong> <strong>Parent</strong><br />

22 Why Study Business In London?<br />

24 More Than Just A Boarding <strong>School</strong>, A Family Heritage<br />

Dedicated To Student Development<br />

26 5 Reasons To Send Your Child To The Montana Summer<br />

Sessions<br />

28 The <strong>International</strong> Institute In Geneva (Iig) Offers Double<br />

Degrees With UK And US Universities<br />

30 Classrooms Without Walls, Outdoor Education: Changing The<br />

Landscape Of Education<br />

33 Red Zone/Green Zone: Understanding <strong>School</strong> Transition Stress<br />

36 Students At SIS Swiss <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Develop<br />

Sustainability Initiatives<br />

38 Moving <strong>School</strong>s – When’s The Right Time? The Five Principles<br />

That Will Help Make Your Decision<br />

42 Moving <strong>International</strong>ly With A Non-Binary Child<br />

45 The Curse And Blessing Of The Electronic Era: How To<br />

Safeguard Our Children And Set Healthy Boundaries<br />

50 Do You Want A Future-Proofed, High-Paying Career?<br />

52 Share The Dream With The Olympic Museum<br />

54 Family Friendly Activities To Do In Switzerland This <strong>Spring</strong><br />

56 Visit Mendrisiotto And Basso Ceresio And Discover A<br />

Destination Packed With Personality<br />

58 The Moral Purpose, Not The Material Product – Focusing On<br />

The Values, Not The Value<br />

60 Time - Will You Dispel My Dreams?<br />

62 How Can I Tell If My Teen Is Struggling With Their Mental<br />

Health?<br />

65 How To Ensure Your Child’s Success In The Classroom:<br />

Understanding Rosenshine’s Principles Of Instruction<br />

COVER PHOTOGRAPH: ©Marc-André Verpaelst for Ecolint, www.ecolint.ch<br />

Welcome to the <strong>Spring</strong><br />

Edition of <strong>International</strong><br />

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

<strong>Spring</strong> is such a reinvigorating time. The crisp, sunny days<br />

provide a wonderful reprieve from the long winter nights.<br />

We are thrilled to present to you a magazine bursting<br />

with interesting and informative articles and practical tips<br />

for parents.<br />

The spring edition of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> explores some of the amazing initiatives led by schools<br />

in our community both in Switzerland, wider Europe and for<br />

the first time, in Singapore.<br />

We recently interviewed James Stenning from <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> Zurich North as part of our ‘Meet the Headteacher’<br />

series. In this piece, James shares his passion for education<br />

and provides an insightful behind-the-scenes glimpse of<br />

life at ISZN.<br />

This spring we continue our discussion of children’s mental<br />

health, delve into the impacts of the digital era, consider what<br />

moving abroad means for a non-binary child and their family,<br />

and present many more interesting themes.<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> is a great time to spend time outdoors. Check out the<br />

article about family friendly spring activities in Switzerland<br />

and read up on the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. If you are<br />

not familiar with Mendrisiotto and Basso Ceresio, this article<br />

will see you planning a trip to this spectacular region!<br />

As always, we remain committed to helping parents and<br />

children make the most of their international school<br />

experience. Have a wonderful spring and we look forward to<br />

the sustainability-themed summer edition in June.<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<br />

Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com<br />

@isparentmag<br />


Contributors<br />

Cath Brew<br />

Cath is an LGBTQ+ inclusion consultant, mentor<br />

and artist who supports LGBTQ+ allies to step into<br />

confident active allyship. She works with international schools on<br />

whole-school LGBTQ+ inclusion and helps global companies to<br />

navigate sexual and gender inclusion cross culturally.<br />

Dr. Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge<br />

Dr. Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge, Msc, PhD,<br />

is a Developmental Psychologist with a background<br />

in Biopsychology and Neuropsychology. She provides therapy<br />

and psychological assessments for children and adolescents<br />

at KidsAbility in the Cayman Islands. Her practice is rooted<br />

in Positive Psychology, and she is certified in Neurolinguistic<br />

Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)<br />

amongst others.<br />

Lauren Wells<br />

Lauren Wells is the founder and CEO of TCK<br />

Training and author of Raising Up a Generation of<br />

Healthy Third Culture Kids, The Grief Tower, and Unstacking<br />

Your Grief Tower. She is an Adult TCK/MK who spent her<br />

teenage years in Tanzania. She sits on the board of the TCK Care<br />

Accreditation as Vice Chair and is part of the TCK Training<br />

Research Team focusing on preventive care research in the TCK<br />

population. She lives in Georgia, USA with her husband and two<br />

daughters.<br />

Sandra Passalacqua<br />

Sandra Passalacqua is an ICF trilingual certified<br />

Cross-Cultural and Personal Development Coach. Her<br />

experience of having lived in 5 different countries for a long time<br />

has given her a deep understanding of cultures. She is passionate<br />

about helping people adapt to a new country or society and to feel<br />

at home wherever they are. Sandra lives by the motto “Be your<br />

best, anytime anywhere!<br />

Fiona McKenzie<br />

Fiona McKenzie is Head of Education at Carfax<br />

Education, leading a team of consultants who expertly<br />

navigate the education landscape, guiding families through the<br />

complexities and demystifying the process to help every child to<br />

achieve their ambitions. With over 30 years’ experience, Fiona has<br />

helped hundreds of families access the very best education for their<br />

children.<br />

Dr Michelle Wright<br />

Dr Michelle Wright is a British-qualified General<br />

Practitioner. Before moving to Switzerland in 2004,<br />

she saw patients with physical and psychological problems and<br />

spent time in community psychiatry. She continues her patient<br />

contact and clinical practice work in the <strong>International</strong> Labour<br />

Organization, Geneva.<br />

Michelle helped bring the validated ensa Mental Health First<br />

Aid training in English to Switzerland which HealthFirst delivers to<br />

companies, schools, and organisations.<br />

She broadcasts a weekly show, Health Matters, for World Radio<br />

Switzerland.<br />

Dr Mecky McNeil<br />

Dr Mecky McNeil is a British-qualified General<br />

Practitioner, experienced in looking after adults and<br />

children with psychiatric illnesses, including anxiety, depression,<br />

eating disorders and schizophrenia, and caring for suicidal and<br />

acutely psychotic patients.<br />

She is a qualified health coach and helped to develop the ensa<br />

Mental Health First Aid English courses in Switzerland.<br />

Mecky currently collaborates with UNICEF and Z Zurich<br />

Foundation on a global project aimed at supporting young people’s<br />

mental health.<br />

Dr Conrad Hughes<br />

Dr Conrad Hughes is currently Campus and<br />

Secondary Principal at Ecolint’s La Grande Boissière<br />

campus, and will take up his duties as Director General in July<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. He has previously held positions as Director of Education,<br />

IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, and interim Principal for<br />

Primary and Middle <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Conrad is a senior fellow of UNESCO’s <strong>International</strong> Bureau of<br />

Education, a research assistant with the University of Geneva, and<br />

a board member for the University of the People.<br />

Chris Seal<br />

Chris graduated from Loughborough University<br />

with Joint Honours in English, Physical Education<br />

and Sports Science. He then went on to complete a PGCE in<br />

Physical Education and History. Chris began his career at Dartford<br />

Grammar <strong>School</strong>. He then taught at Woodbridge <strong>School</strong> in Suffolk<br />

and at Trent College in Nottingham. Chris joined the senior<br />

management team at the Licensed Victuallers’ <strong>School</strong> in Ascot in<br />

2008, where he was Director of Boarding and later Deputy Head<br />

(Pastoral). He joined Millfield <strong>School</strong> in Somerset in 2011 and<br />

led the pastoral care there for six years before being appointed<br />

as Principal of Shrewsbury <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> in Bangkok,<br />

Thailand. Chris is now Head of the Senior <strong>School</strong> at Tanglin Trust<br />

<strong>School</strong> in Singapore.<br />

Matthew Williams<br />

Matthew is currently headteacher of the Geneva<br />

English <strong>School</strong>, an age 3 to 18 international school<br />

based on two sites in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. Before<br />

taking up the position of Headteacher of GES, Matthew was the<br />

Principal of Chelsea Academy, an Ofsted outstanding academy just<br />

off the King’s Road in London. Matthew is committed to ‘excellent<br />

with a heart’ - ensuring that every child achieves their academic<br />

potential whilst attending a caring and child focussed school.<br />



Interview with James Stenning,<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North<br />

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

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

North (ISZN),<br />

currently the<br />

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

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

which combines the best<br />

of the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate and<br />

British National curriculum, is headed by<br />

James Stenning, a man with a long and<br />

comprehensive career in teaching in schools<br />

in the UK before coming to Switzerland as<br />

the Head of ISZN.<br />

We sat down with James to find out more<br />

about who he is, what he plans for the<br />

school, and how he sees the future of ISZN<br />

as they continue to grow and develop the<br />

adults of tomorrow.<br />

What initially inspired you to pursue a<br />

career in education? Tell us a bit about<br />

your personal history.<br />

When I was at school, it was never cool to<br />

say you wanted to become a teacher, but it<br />

was something I’d always been interested in,<br />

even when I was at school.<br />

Someone who was quite inspirational to<br />

me was my old History teacher – he was not<br />

only a great historian, but really bought the<br />

subject to life and inspired a love of history<br />

in me.<br />

He was the person that really got me<br />

thinking about, and becoming interested<br />

in, education beyond the classroom. He<br />

also led kayaking trips and walking trips,<br />

and all that stuff – I think it’s because of<br />

him that the co-curricular life of the school<br />

has always been something that’s been<br />

important to me in the schools that I’ve led.<br />

I started my academic career in a<br />

grammar school in Kent, I worked there<br />

for four years teaching economics to some<br />

really bright children, who were going off<br />

to top universities. It kept me on my toes<br />

in terms of subject knowledge, and I got<br />

very involved in programs like the Duke<br />

of Edinburgh award and World Challenge<br />

Expeditions.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 7<br />

Then I moved to an independent school<br />

and went as Head of the Department,<br />

and for seven years I led the economics<br />

department, and was also the Director of<br />

Co-Curricular Activities, I even led a great<br />

expedition to Uganda, where the children<br />

worked on a joint project with a school out<br />

there.<br />

From there, I moved on to a brand-new<br />

school as the Deputy Head; it was a smaller<br />

school and I got stuck into all sorts of<br />

projects. After three years I became Head<br />

of a Prep <strong>School</strong> and had a slight change in<br />

direction with the ages of the children I was<br />

working with – teaching ages 7 to 13, and<br />

the children were just so full of energy and<br />

enthusiasm, and it was fantastic.<br />

After four years with them, I was offered<br />

the job at ISZN, and here I am now.<br />

What have you learnt from your time in<br />

education, and how are you bringing that<br />

to ISZN?<br />

I’ve always felt that if children can

find a passion in something outside the<br />

classroom, they develop really important<br />

skills – confidence, communication, teamworking<br />

– which leads to better academic<br />

performance, because they’re more willing<br />

to put up a hand and answer questions.<br />

It’s important to involve all stakeholders<br />

in the school in any decisions and changes<br />

that you’re going to bring in. I’m keen<br />

to involve the parents and staff, and the<br />

children, in working on the direction that<br />

we want the school to go in in terms of<br />

revisiting our vision, mission, and values.<br />

I think it’s very important that you take<br />

everyone who’s a part of our community on<br />

the journey with you.<br />

How would you characterise the students<br />

graduating from ISZN?<br />

Often schools measure their success by the<br />

university destinations of their students, and<br />

whilst I think this is a good measure, many<br />

children these days don’t make it through<br />

university. So, I think some schools are good<br />

at getting children to university but aren’t<br />

great at preparing them to survive through<br />

their time there.<br />

Our students are very internationally<br />

minded, and we want to equip them with<br />

the skills to thrive in university and beyond.<br />

What would you say makes the learning<br />

environment at ISZN extra special?<br />

We are a relatively small school at the<br />

moment, with around 250 children, and<br />

one of the real benefits of that is small<br />

classes. I think what makes us unique is<br />

that pretty much every teacher knows every<br />

child really well – even if they don’t teach<br />

them, because you might come across<br />

them in the library, or the dining hall, or<br />

somewhere else.<br />

ISZN has a very welcoming, warm<br />

environment, that is a real strength to the<br />

school.<br />

What features of the school do parents<br />

value the most?<br />

When new children join the school, we<br />

often have them joining at non-natural<br />

entry points throughout the school year, and<br />

the children here welcome any new child<br />

with open arms into their classrooms and<br />

are very keen to know where the child has<br />

come from, if they can be their buddy, and<br />

if they can be their best friend.<br />

I think it’s important to foster a sense of<br />

community in a school, particularly when<br />


“I think it’s very important to involve the parents and make them feel that they’re<br />

part of the community and are involved in their child’s academic journey.”<br />

there are parents who might be new to the<br />

area. What I say to parents who join us, is<br />

it’s not just your children joining our school<br />

community – you’re joining our school<br />

community too.<br />

I want parents to feel part of it, to be<br />

involved. I find that actually, they’re really<br />

willing to help out with the clubs as one<br />

thing, but also in terms of organising class<br />

parties and wrapping presents, doing gift<br />

drives, and getting involved – we’re never<br />

short of volunteers.<br />

I think it’s very important to involve the<br />

parents and make them feel that they’re<br />

part of the community and are involved in<br />

their child’s academic journey.<br />

What areas of education and<br />

extracurricular activities would you like<br />

to develop?<br />

English is our language of instruction, but<br />

everyone here learns German. Most of<br />

our pupils end up bilingual in English and<br />

German. We are going to be launching a<br />

full bilingual program to our primary school<br />

next year, so we’ll have two pathways that<br />

our families can choose from – either our<br />

English language pathway, or our bilingual<br />

pathway, where the curriculum will be<br />

delivered 50/50 in each language.<br />

We are going to be working on a real<br />

broad co-curricular program for next year;<br />

we have several key appointments we’re<br />

going to make in terms of people to lead.<br />

We’re also looking at developing our<br />

sports provision, a much wider range of<br />

after-school clubs and activities to make<br />

better use of our natural environment,<br />

ensuring the children have the opportunity<br />

to explore some of the great areas on our<br />

doorstep. For example, we’re looking at<br />

forest school for the younger ones, and<br />

camp provision.<br />

I want every child in the school to have<br />

the opportunity to camp once a year, but for<br />

the program to get increasingly tougher and<br />

require more skills as they develop.<br />

On the academic side, we do get fantastic<br />

A-Level results as it is, 48% of our A-Levels<br />

were graded at either A or A* last summer<br />

so we’re really building on the strength of<br />

our academic program and ensuring that<br />

the quality of our teaching is fantastic.<br />

We have some exciting building<br />

development projects in the pipeline, which<br />

will allow us to grow as a school too.<br />

What excites you most about the<br />

prospect of leading an international<br />

school in Switzerland?<br />

The initial attraction for me was to<br />

work at an all-through school, a two to<br />

eighteen school – rather than a primary<br />

or secondary. The fact that the school<br />

offers a combination of IB, and the British<br />

curriculum was also attraction, and the<br />

fact that this school has so much fantastic<br />

potential – I look forward to helping<br />

them grow and becoming one of the top<br />

destination schools in Zurich.<br />

What are the main trends in education<br />

that you see now’?<br />

I think one of the main trends in<br />

international education is that there are<br />

fewer expat families than there once were.<br />

I think that’s a really interesting trend in<br />

terms of international education.<br />

I think from a teaching and learning<br />

perspective, there’s a bit of a divide perhaps<br />

in education in terms of progressive<br />

education, and in terms of teaching<br />

methods. I think it tends to mirror what is<br />

happening politically in terms of traditional<br />

and progressive, but I don’t think it needs to<br />

be quite like that. I think you can draw on<br />

some great elements from both those wings<br />

of education.<br />

How do you make the most of<br />

Switzerland, and what hobbies do you<br />

personally enjoy?<br />

Switzerland is a place I’ve been to many<br />

times in the past, I love the mountains –<br />

walking, hiking – I’m a keen marathon<br />

runner, and very (very) amateur triathlete.<br />

So, the attraction of Switzerland is<br />

having access to incredible scenery and<br />

environments - I’m in training at the<br />

moment for the Thun Swiss Ironman.<br />


Located in Wallisellen, the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North has a dedicated focus on<br />

asking members of their community to become lifelong learners, acting with open-minds<br />

and a respect and willingness to change, and achieving creative, intellectual, and physical<br />

success as they challenge themselves to become the best versions of themselves.<br />

With learning available from early years though to A-Levels and beyond, the school<br />

offers support, a healthy learning and life balance, and encourages their students at every<br />

stage of their journey into adulthood.<br />


Finding the Right <strong>School</strong> for<br />

your Child in Switzerland<br />

The educational system in<br />

Switzerland is diverse, offering a<br />

wide selection of programmes to<br />

choose from. Families often need help to<br />

understand these different paths and where<br />

they lead.<br />

More than six years ago, Nicole<br />

Rieffel and Diane Bauer founded<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS as a neutral point of<br />

contact to advise local families, as well as<br />

families coming from abroad, on finding<br />

the best schools in Switzerland, including<br />

public, private, and boarding schools<br />

that follow both Swiss and international<br />

curricula.<br />

They believe that identifying the right<br />

educational path depends on a thorough<br />

understanding of each child’s abilities and<br />

potential as well as the family’s situation<br />

and goals. By working closely with families,<br />

they help find the best environment for<br />

the student. We had the pleasure of<br />

interviewing Nicole and Diane and learning<br />

more about their approach.<br />

What are the advantages of a<br />

Swiss education?<br />

A Swiss education has a very good<br />

reputation and is highly recognised around<br />

the world. The system is also complex,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 10<br />

offering many paths and diplomas based on<br />

both Swiss and international curricula. It’s<br />

worth noting that the structure of the<br />

Swiss curriculum is different to that of most<br />

other countries.<br />

Another strength of a Swiss education<br />

stems from the country’s four national<br />

languages. In effect, students are used to<br />

learning foreign languages from an early<br />

age. By the end of primary school, they<br />

know German, French and English. Later,<br />

they may pick up another language, such as<br />

Italian or Spanish, as part of their studies<br />

at a Gymnasium (a more competitive<br />

secondary school). A clear benefit of the


“We have also heard families say that they appreciate how safe<br />

the country and schools generally are. Children learn how to be<br />

independent and enjoy their freedom at an earlier age.”<br />

Gymnasium is that the Matura degree<br />

automatically qualifies the graduate for<br />

most Swiss state universities, which are<br />

highly regarded and significantly lower in<br />

cost than many comparable options.<br />

We have also heard families say that they<br />

appreciate how safe the country and schools<br />

generally are. Children learn how to be<br />

independent and enjoy their freedom at<br />

an earlier age. Having a safe and relatively<br />

carefree childhood has immense value –<br />

and the school system is set up to allow<br />

every student to find an optimal path at his/<br />

her own pace.<br />

Given the number of options,<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS always takes great<br />

care to explain the requirements and<br />

expectations for each grade, step by step,<br />

and the differences in curriculum compared<br />

with what the student has known. Even<br />

more important is understanding the<br />

decisive transition years: when they will<br />

come, how to prepare, what to expect, and<br />

why there are better times than others to<br />

consider making a change.<br />

When is boarding school the<br />

right choice?<br />

This depends very much on the family’s<br />

situation and sometimes even the<br />

nationality. For some families, it is simply<br />

tradition to have their child go to a good<br />

boarding school. In other cases, it is the<br />

child who at some point expresses interest<br />

in the boarding school experience –<br />

connecting with students from all over the<br />

world, making friends for life, and being<br />

active and supported all day long.<br />

We have seen that some families look into<br />

boarding school because they believe the<br />

change in environment or curriculum would<br />

be beneficial. Some students do find it<br />

difficult to manage school, sports, activities,<br />

homework, tutoring and basically their daily<br />

schedules. Boarding schools do a fantastic<br />

job of bringing together all these needs<br />

and interests under one roof, and helping<br />

students learn to organise their lives.<br />

Most of our families decide on boarding<br />

school for the high school years when<br />

the child might feel physically and<br />

mentally ready to go. If this is the case, we<br />

recommend starting in 9th grade to be fully<br />

settled in and ready for the Diploma years,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 11<br />

which are more academically challenging.<br />

There is also enough time to get used to the<br />

school and its expectations – and, of course,<br />

enjoy the full boarding school experience<br />

and all it has to offer.<br />

Another advantage is that because the<br />

teachers and university counsellors have<br />

more time to get to know the students,<br />

along with their strengths and interests,<br />

they can provide better support when<br />

the students start making choices about<br />

universities. We can say that the last two<br />

years tend to be intense, full of studying and<br />

exams. Students may be very motivated yet<br />

also feel more pressure, which is normal for<br />

this time.<br />

If a student would like to have a ‘sneak<br />

peek’ of the boarding school experience –<br />

or is having a hard time choosing between<br />

boarding schools – we have found that a<br />

summer camp can be very helpful. We have<br />

known students who were undecided until<br />

they spent two to three weeks at a boarding<br />

school over the holiday. While the summer<br />

camps may be less rigorous and academic<br />

than the school year, the student can still<br />

get a taste of the experience and figure out,<br />

even on an instinctive level, if boarding<br />

school is a good match. Given the range of<br />

camps available, we are always happy to<br />

offer guidance to interested families.


What questions do you ask parents<br />

when you are starting the search for a<br />

new school?<br />

The questions will depend on whether<br />

the family is moving to Switzerland or<br />

already here. If the family is coming from<br />

abroad, it’s important to ask about the<br />

child’s current school and curriculum,<br />

which languages have been studied so<br />

far, and which languages are spoken at<br />

home.<br />

It’s also helpful to get a sense of the<br />

learning approach the child is used to,<br />

and how that might create advantages or<br />

challenges. Some students, for example,<br />

cope better when they are given a certain<br />

amount of creative space while others<br />

need clear structure. In the same way,<br />

some students benefit from diving deep<br />

into the subject matter and doing projectbased<br />

work in small groups. Others prefer<br />

learning material by heart.<br />

Another area we like to explore is the<br />

amount of activity the child is used to<br />

– or ultimately needs – and the kind of<br />

atmosphere in which the student remains<br />

most balanced and can develop best. For<br />

older students, their level of independence<br />

is key to assess, especially when determining<br />

how much support might be needed to<br />

achieve long-term goals.<br />

On a more practical note, we ask about<br />

where the parents want or need to be given<br />

their personal or professional situation. This<br />

helps us gauge how free the family is to<br />

consider schools that are further away from<br />

the new family home.<br />

As for local families, they are often<br />

interested in having a ‘Plan B’ if, for<br />

example, a certain entrance exam does<br />

not work out. They tend to approach us at<br />

the end of primary or secondary school.<br />

Sometimes, they just want to learn about<br />

the options in Switzerland to see if a<br />

different educational path might in fact be<br />

better or more realistic.<br />

No matter where the family is from, we<br />

have learned that knowing the student’s<br />

background and situation is essential. This<br />

is why we take the time to understand it.<br />

Asking the right questions at the outset<br />

helps us find a good match for the student<br />

and the school. And even after the new<br />

start, we stay in touch to make sure the<br />

choice continues to feel right.<br />

Based on our experience, we are sure<br />

there are no ‘bad’ or ‘best’ schools – but<br />

certain schools definitely meet some<br />

people’s needs better than others. Because<br />

we visit the schools regularly in person,<br />

we can get direct feedback on the positive<br />

aspects as well as the daily concerns of<br />

both teachers and students – things that are<br />

usually not found online.<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS is dedicated to helping students<br />

develop a lifelong joy of learning. Unlike other agencies,<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS keeps the focus on Switzerland due to<br />

their profound knowledge of schools across the country.<br />

Because they regularly visit the schools in person, they<br />

are well-placed to offer continuing professional support<br />

to families committed to an education in Switzerland.<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS is a fantastic choice because of their<br />

personal commitment to each of the families they work<br />

with. They remain in contact with each school and family<br />

long after the student has begun their classes, ensuring<br />

valuable, long-lasting relationships are formed. When<br />

additional help is required, they are happy to help, drawing on their extensive network of<br />

professional partners.<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS is proud to be recommended by schools, relocation agencies,<br />

companies, educational specialists, and families across Switzerland.<br />

You can find out more about<br />

SCHOOLFINDERS via their website (www.<br />

schoolfinders.ch/), by emailing findschool@<br />

schoolfinders.ch or by calling their office on<br />

+41 79 961 16 15 / +41 79 437 61 11.<br />



5 questions to ask yourself<br />

when choosing an<br />

international school<br />

for your child<br />

You have accepted a new and<br />

exciting role in a country where<br />

you may never have lived or<br />

worked before. Neither you nor your<br />

children speak the local language (yet),<br />

and you are looking for a school which will<br />

support your children’s ongoing education.<br />

Here are a few important questions to ask<br />

yourself when selecting such a school.<br />

How does the school prepare my<br />

1 child for the next stages of their<br />

education?<br />

The first consideration should be the<br />

expected length of your posting. Consider<br />

what, and when, the next steps may<br />

be for your family after this move. An<br />

international school must ensure that their<br />

programme prepares students for the next<br />

year, whether it be at the current school,<br />

a different school in the same city, a new<br />

posting in a new city or country or a return<br />

to your home country.<br />

Ask the school leaders to articulate how<br />

this preparation is done. The discussion<br />

should include how the school will<br />

develop life skills with and in your child.<br />

They should be able to demonstrate how<br />

communication, social and emotional skills,<br />

personal organisation, and research skills<br />

are developed in each child. The school<br />

should be able to demonstrate how learning<br />



can be transferred from one school to the<br />

next and to the wider world.<br />

It is wise to seek out schools who offer the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate (IB), one of the<br />

fastest growing educational programmes in<br />

the world. The common language, themes,<br />

and curriculum outcomes in IB schools<br />

make transitions between schools seamless<br />

for the learner.<br />

Does the school offer a caring and<br />

2 supportive learning environment<br />

for my child?<br />

Most schools are able to demonstrate<br />

academic excellence by producing scores<br />

that measure results. <strong>School</strong>s can evaluate<br />

themselves against standardised norms and<br />

should be catering to the academic needs<br />

of individual learners. Whilst this is an<br />

important part of any school programme,<br />

even more important is how the school<br />

caters for the wellbeing of all students.<br />

This is more difficult to quantify, but great<br />

schools can clearly articulate how they<br />

support the wellbeing of every child.<br />

When selecting a school, ask about the<br />

school’s counselling and psychological<br />

support. Find out if the school has a<br />

clearly developed wellbeing programme<br />

and how involved students are in the<br />

daily organisation of the school and their<br />

own learning. Students who are given<br />

agency and voice at school are more likely<br />

to engage with their own learning. For<br />

those schools that do have an articulated<br />

wellbeing programme, find out how this<br />

is embedded and lived in the school, as<br />

evidenced by interactions. The best way<br />

of gauging this is to visit the school; walk<br />

around and observe students and teachers<br />

and how they interact. There should be an<br />

observable respect between all members of<br />

the school community.<br />

How does the school help my child<br />

3 learn the local language?<br />

Find out if the school offers a<br />

comprehensive language learning<br />

programme that does the following: i)<br />

focuses on skill development in the language<br />

of instruction; ii) provides substantial time<br />

and resources towards language instruction<br />

in the local language; and iii) supports<br />

your child in developing their own home<br />

language(s) or first language.<br />

There should be a real commitment to<br />

language learning and the school should<br />

offer at least one language lesson a day.<br />

Bilingual or not bilingual?<br />

4<br />

All too often international schools<br />

claim either to provide instruction in the<br />

local language or offer bilingual education<br />

but fail to really deliver either. In many<br />

cases, adding a new language of learning,<br />

with equal expectations to the child’s first<br />

language, initially results in slower or lower<br />

development in both languages.<br />

While the ultimate goal of a bilingual<br />

programme is to enable students to equally<br />

operate proficiently in both languages, this<br />

cannot be assumed or forced when children<br />

first start learning the second language.<br />

Development of your child’s first language<br />

skills should continue as they develop and<br />

grow an understanding of and vocabulary<br />

in a second language, especially in the<br />

younger years.<br />

Select a school that acknowledges the<br />

importance of skill development in your<br />

child’s first language, as a first priority,<br />

and then supplements and connects this<br />

with developing the second language. Be<br />

wary of schools promising early and easy<br />

bilingualism.<br />

Does the school offer<br />

5 opportunities for familial<br />

connections?<br />

Find out about community groups<br />

and parent involvement in the school<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 15<br />

Scan to discover<br />

ISB Dual Language<br />

Programme<br />

community. More open schools often offer<br />

guided tours delivered by students and<br />

parents who are able to give an honest and<br />

open account of life at the school. As an<br />

expat parent, it will be important for you to<br />

connect to the community. This will allow<br />

you to better support your child in finding<br />

their own place in this new community,<br />

enabling your family to feel at home and<br />

settle as quickly as possible.<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Basel offers<br />

three <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate<br />

programmes in English for children<br />

3-19 years old. In addition, our Senior<br />

<strong>School</strong> now offers a new Dual Language<br />

Programme (German and English). Find<br />

out more at www.isbasel.ch.<br />

Michelle Phillips is an<br />

international educator with a<br />

MEd in <strong>School</strong> Leadership and<br />

Management, working as Junior<br />

<strong>School</strong> Principal at the <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> Basel. With a long experience in<br />

teaching and leadership at all levels of<br />

education, she now specialises in working<br />

with teams to develop data-driven<br />

programs that are student-outcome<br />


The Global<br />

Direction of Travel<br />

of Education<br />

In this article,<br />

Dr Conrad<br />

Hughes, Director<br />

General Designate<br />

of the world’s oldest<br />

international school, the<br />

Ecole <strong>International</strong>e de Genève (Ecolint<br />

for short), sets out his beliefs on the most<br />

salient trends which will be important for<br />

education in the years ahead:<br />

From fragmentation to unity<br />

About 90 years ago, education was<br />

essentially a national endeavour. There<br />

was little international agreement about<br />

what educational standards or educational<br />

philosophy should entail. UNESCO’s<br />

<strong>International</strong> Bureau of Education and<br />

Ecolint, both founded in the mid 1920s,<br />

were two of few organisations that looked<br />

to inter-state agreement on educational<br />

priorities.<br />

With the creation of the League of<br />

Nations and, later, the United Nations<br />

came the birth of affiliated educational<br />

organisations such as UNICEF and<br />

UNESCO with a global focus on<br />

education. In the 1960s, the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate and the United World<br />

Colleges movements were formed,<br />

federating ever more schools around<br />

common objectives.<br />

However, the idea that all educational<br />

systems were working to similar imperatives<br />

was not yet consolidated: international<br />

cooperation was something done either<br />

at the level of a circuit of private schools<br />

or through nation state agreements that<br />

were much more focused on understanding<br />

and accepting each other’s positions than<br />

agreeing to unite around two or three<br />

planetary goals.<br />

With globalisation came the gradual<br />

understanding that our planet’s resources<br />

are finite and interdependent, although<br />

it is broadly accepted that this knowledge<br />

has not yet translated into the type of<br />

economic and inter-governmental actions<br />

that are needed to show that we understand<br />

the fragility and immediacy of this reality.<br />

However, the worldwide discussion on<br />

educational development, brokered<br />

essentially by UNESCO, has responded to<br />

these questions forcibly and intentionally,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 16<br />

most especially in the period of the last<br />

thirty years.<br />

Two important white papers that would<br />

influence a greater harmonisation of<br />

educational practice across the planet<br />

were the Delors Report (1996), calling for<br />

educational practices to focus on four pillars<br />

(learning to know, learning to do, learning<br />

to live together, and learning to be) and<br />

the Incheon Declaration (2015), which<br />

set out a road map to achieve Sustainable<br />

Development Goal 4 by 2030: to ensure<br />

inclusive and equitable quality education<br />

and promote lifelong learning opportunities<br />

for all.<br />

In 2021, a foundational white paper<br />

was produced by UNESCO: the Futures<br />

of Education New Social Contract. The<br />

global themes evoked, as areas of focus<br />

for educational institutions worldwide,<br />

were: inclusion and equity, cooperation,<br />

solidarity, collective responsibility and<br />

interconnectedness. These themes are<br />

governed by two foundational principles:<br />

ensuring the right to quality education<br />

throughout life and the strengthening of<br />

education as a public common good.

António Guterres’ presentation at the<br />

United Nations Headquarters in New York<br />

in September 2022 underpinned these<br />

themes in a stirring call to action for all<br />

educational systems and operators to focus<br />

on five action tracks that operationalise the<br />

New Social Contract. These are:<br />

1: Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy<br />

schools<br />

2: Learning and skills for life work<br />

3: Teachers, teaching and the teaching<br />

profession<br />

4: Digital learning and transformation<br />

5: Financing of education<br />

Three core themes emerge from these<br />

foundational documents that speak to the<br />

work educators and leaders must focus on as<br />

we move to the middle of the 21st Century.<br />

Inclusion<br />

The need to transform educational systems<br />

so that students feel that their cultural<br />

backgrounds, identities and narratives can<br />

be heard and are reflected in a curriculum<br />

that is student-friendly and responds to the<br />

local and global contexts that frame it.<br />

Inclusion encapsulates several vital<br />

themes: decolonising the curriculum;<br />

understanding and teaching for<br />

neurodivergence; ensuring that school<br />

and university ecosystems respond to the<br />

needs of inclusion; child protection; antidiscrimination;<br />

diverse staffing; knowing<br />

how to onboard and support individuals<br />

bringing diversity to the community;<br />

designing professional development on<br />

culturally-responsive pedagogies and<br />

ensuring that educators are equipped to<br />

respect diversity.<br />

Another essential dimension of inclusion<br />

is relevance and student-centred curriculum<br />

design. Including learners in the journey<br />

of their own education means designing<br />

assessments that include a richer palette<br />

of human flourishing than abstract,<br />

academic high-stakes assessments alone.<br />

A truly inclusive school or university will<br />

give students agency to express their needs,<br />

dreams and desires through their learning.<br />

It is in this manner that an education for life<br />

and professional skills rises to the surface<br />

of imperatives for transformation: we can<br />

no longer produce a 19th Century styled<br />

abstract curriculum as an answer to the<br />

multitude of questions surrounding a young<br />

person looking for a school and university<br />

experience that will equip them to thrive<br />

in the world professionally and socially.<br />

Inclusion goes beyond feeling included in<br />

school, it’s about feeling included in the world<br />

through the education one has been given.<br />

Sustainability<br />

This theme includes environmental<br />

sustainability, meaning that schools and<br />

universities should operate as examples of<br />

carbon-neutral entities but also ensure that<br />

curriculum enhances an understanding of<br />

environmental custodianship.<br />

However, it also speaks to financial<br />

sustainability. For education to be sustainable,<br />

“A truly inclusive school or university will give students agency to<br />

express their needs, dreams and desires through their learning.”<br />



the teaching profession must be resourced<br />

and sustained properly. There is little point<br />

talking about education reform without<br />

focusing on the people carrying out the<br />

mission in the classroom. This level of<br />

sustainability is all the more pressing as<br />

teacher pipelines are increasingly broken<br />

and teacher shortages become chronic in<br />

many parts of the world.<br />

At the level of access, an essential driver<br />

of sustainability is technology. Hybrid<br />

systems include more learners and can<br />

reduce the cost of education. In times<br />

of crisis, ensuring that the digital divide<br />

is not exacerbated when learning has<br />

to shift online means that educational<br />

designers must have technology sit sideby-side<br />

with face-to-face instruction as a<br />

viable alternative that can be used quickly<br />

if needed but also allowing blended and<br />

hybrid solutions to complex learning<br />

scenarios.<br />

Peace<br />

This is the most important theme, which<br />

is the bedrock for the first two. Sustainable<br />

“For education to be sustainable, the teaching profession must<br />

be resourced and sustained properly. There is little point talking<br />

about education reform without focusing on the people carrying<br />

out the mission in the classroom.”<br />

Development Goal 17, partnerships for<br />

the goals, is in many ways the most salient<br />

of the SDGs because it evokes the need<br />

for collaboration and teamwork to achieve<br />

them.<br />

Efforts to achieve sustainable<br />

development have been thwarted by<br />

ultra liberalism, which encourages each<br />

individual to view the world as a platform<br />

for their own advancement; education is<br />

commodified and understood as a means to<br />

a material end; the rights to a comfortable<br />

life stand in the way of the necessary<br />

collective efforts needed to save our planet,<br />

which imply personal and collective<br />

sacrifices. Peace is not just the absence of<br />

war, it is an agreement to work together on<br />

the public good of education.<br />

At another level, the polarising of<br />

opinions on questions of social justice;<br />

escalating conflict in the Middle East<br />

and Eastern Europe, to mention just two<br />

war-affected regions; and an increase in<br />

xenophobia across the world, all stand in<br />

the way of a harmonious, inclusive and<br />

sustainable future for education. Educating<br />

for peace is teaching young people the<br />

importance of remaining open-minded,<br />

being good listeners, developing the skills<br />

of diplomacy and negotiation necessary to<br />

work across frontiers for a better tomorrow.<br />

None of this should compromise the<br />

extraordinary depth and quality that<br />

hundreds of years of education reform<br />

have brought into being; it’s not about<br />

dumbing down education or damaging its<br />

intellectual and cultural backbone, it’s about<br />

reconceptualising it, renewing it and making<br />

it stronger for the needs of learners, society<br />

and the planet.<br />



– how to navigate university<br />

application processes as an<br />

international parent<br />


<strong>Parent</strong>ing isn’t<br />

easy, and as time<br />

passes only seems<br />

to get harder. Subjects<br />

we once thought we could<br />

help support our children with become<br />

inaccessible to the point where we think<br />

they are being conducted in a new<br />

language, and teaching methods seem so<br />

far removed from our own experience that<br />

we wonder if we actually went to a decent<br />

school at all. Then comes the next step, life<br />

after school.<br />

For the international parent the choices<br />

and prospects can be salivating, bewildering,<br />

troublesome and almost always expensive.<br />

With two daughters now at university here<br />

are a few thoughts from that perspective<br />

and as an educational leader.<br />

‘Just because you went to university<br />

doesn’t make you an expert’ isn’t the most<br />

delicate way of introducing the notion of<br />

trusting the experts but that is exactly what<br />

you need to do. The university landscape is<br />

huge, complex and constantly changing. It<br />

is common for schools to have four or more<br />

full time university guidance counsellors<br />

who spend any time away from the students<br />

researching the myriad offerings. Courses,<br />

campuses and admissions require an expert<br />

eye. Use it and trust it.<br />

For most parents their university days<br />

are now well behind them. <strong>Parent</strong>s aged<br />

40 were at university in the late 1990s<br />

before the iPhone existed, when IBM<br />

were still making home computers and the<br />

Toyota Prius was in the process of being<br />

launched. Universities have changed, and<br />

have been part of the social changes that<br />

have so impacted us all. Facebook wasn’t<br />

founded until 2004 at Harvard and it and<br />

many other things have changed the way<br />

educators and students view the world. As<br />

a consequence, try to avoid the ‘my day’<br />

conversation at all costs. Useful perspective<br />

it may be, but as advice upon which to build<br />

applications it is not great.<br />

Just one example of this is the way<br />

in which over the last twenty years,<br />

and especially through COVID, some<br />

universities have really improved (or not…).<br />

In the US this is often in reference to the US<br />

News rankings, and Northeastern University<br />

enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 20<br />

recent years putting it firmly on the map<br />

for the discerning counsellor. Rankings are<br />

another article in themselves but they are a<br />

useful guide as long as reinforced by inside<br />

knowledge often gained only by visiting the<br />

institutions. As a Head I have been doing<br />

this since 2017, and all great counselling<br />

teams will have a well organised routine<br />

of visits to keep abreast of the movers and<br />

shakers.<br />

Mentions of the US sends many parents<br />

scurrying for cover as the fees can be<br />

excruciating, but I would also argue that<br />

ruling out countries other than your own<br />

can be a mistake. Counsellors will have<br />

good knowledge of financial aid and<br />

scholarship programmes, and my visits have<br />

reinforced to me that the quality of the<br />

institutions is broadly remarkable. The UK<br />

is often a safe destination for many families,

and I can see why, as the application process<br />

is rather more streamlined and funding<br />

though not cheap, is at least presently<br />

common in structure. However, also be<br />

brave enough to look at the growth of<br />

international courses in the Netherlands or<br />

Sweden. Great institutions are broadening<br />

their appeal.<br />

There is much more nuance that can be<br />

brought to all the points above, and put<br />

simply this will only be gained by building<br />

a trusting and timely relationship with the<br />

school counselling team. Your own research<br />

is helpful too, but perhaps even more helpful<br />

is to gently guide children to keep as many<br />

options open as you can along the way. As<br />

students cross transition moments in all<br />

schools (to iGCSE, A Level or IBDP in our<br />

case) there is a great deal of information<br />

to explore and here it is useful to read the<br />

small print to ensure that possible pathways<br />

are not cut off. <strong>School</strong>s will guide you at<br />

this point but maybe don’t have sight of a<br />

possible specialism that might have been<br />

a childhood dream and something that<br />

needs to be taken account of when selecting<br />

pathways. To be clear both IBDP and A<br />

Level are excellent pathways for almost all<br />

countries, but making sure that each child<br />

is set up for selecting the right subjects is<br />

important.<br />

At the ‘keeping options open’ stage,<br />

parental influence is mightily useful,<br />

but then once you’ve achieved that, the<br />

following choices should be the students’.<br />

By all means guide, gently suggest maybe<br />

even offer conversations and experiences<br />

through friends or colleagues but please<br />

resist mapping out a future that your child<br />

has no say in. The turmoil this causes is one<br />

thing, but rather more prosaically, students<br />

on this path make uniquely disappointing<br />

interviewees for the top universities as they<br />

are unable to speak with the passion of a<br />

genuinely passionate applicant, and the<br />

effort in forcing a pathway is thus wasted.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>ing is hard. Teenagers change<br />

their mind, can be capricious and deeply<br />

frustrating. They need you and your<br />

experience as parents. They need the<br />

unconditional love that supports them<br />

through the ordeal and allows last minute<br />

swerves. They need you to trust the experts<br />

to support those professionals so that they<br />

can superbly do for your family what they<br />

have been doing each day through long and<br />

distinguished careers. So, your children<br />

need you, but not in the way you might be<br />

thinking.<br />

Good luck.<br />



Why study<br />

Business ın<br />

London?<br />

Get the lowdown from Regent’s University London<br />

Studying business at university is a<br />

great way for your child to kick-start<br />

their career – and, with the chance<br />

to gain valuable work experiences, develop<br />

a range of skills in different industries<br />

and build a powerful network of contacts,<br />

London offers unrivalled opportunities<br />

during and after their studies.<br />

What’s more, they’ll be able to take<br />

advantage of the government’s Graduate<br />

Visa – enabling them to stay and work<br />

in the UK for up to two years after they<br />

graduate.<br />

Based in the heart of the city, Regent’s<br />

University London is a solid choice for<br />

budding entrepreneurs and future leaders,<br />

with opportunities for them to engage with<br />

all aspects of the business arena.<br />

Experience a wealth of opportunities<br />

Whether your child sees themselves<br />

launching a new product, pioneering a<br />

start-up or leading an international brand,<br />

London is the place to be to see their<br />

career soar – with a strong reputation and<br />

influence around the globe. Studying in<br />

the heart of the city, Regent’s students take<br />

advantage of all that London offers – from<br />

museums and archives to networking events,<br />

business headquarters and financial hubs.<br />

While they study, they’ll learn from<br />

our vast network of experts – academics,<br />

alumni, leaders and entrepreneurs – and<br />

discover the importance of building and<br />

maintaining business relationships, as<br />

well as developing their academic skills.<br />

Our ongoing partnership with Walpole<br />

(the official sector body of UK luxury) gives<br />

them access to lectures and masterclasses<br />

with CEOs and senior leaders of global<br />

businesses like Harrods, McLaren<br />

Automotive and dunhill – and enables<br />

them to pitch ideas, work on live industry<br />

projects and learn to think like a<br />

leader and changemaker.<br />

They’ll soon create a business network<br />

that they can lean on in the future –<br />

building their own little black book, mapped<br />

to their career path.<br />

Study in the world’s largest business hub<br />

London is home to some of the world’s<br />

most important economic hubs – from the<br />

financial district in Canary Wharf and legal<br />

firms in Holborn, to creative businesses<br />

in the West End and Parliament in<br />

Westminster. It’s home to over 250 foreign<br />

banks, more than any financial district in<br />

the world, and its investors funnel over<br />

£200K above the global average into its<br />

start-ups – so your child will be in a prime<br />

position for starting their own business, or<br />

joining one of the world’s most successful.<br />

The UK’s largest sector, making up 79%<br />

of our total GDP, is the services industry<br />

– an entire sector existing exclusively to<br />



support businesses. Although your child<br />

will be able to work in practically any<br />

sector after they graduate, the strength<br />

of London’s services industry means that<br />

there’s a special need for graduates with<br />

business and entrepreneurial skills.<br />

In fact, Regent’s is the university<br />

that develops the highest percentage of<br />

business founders in the UK, according<br />

to Resume.io. The study also found that<br />

over 12% of our graduates go on to form<br />

their own companies, proving the odds<br />

are high for students to leave Regent’s<br />

with the knowledge, skills and contacts to<br />

become successful business leaders and<br />

entrepreneurs.<br />

Learn English – the language of business<br />

English is known the ‘lingua franca’ (or<br />

‘bridge language’) of global business, and<br />

a good grasp of it is essential if your child<br />

wants to work overseas. If their native<br />

“With Regent’s attracting students from over 140 nationalities,<br />

your child will not only make international friends, but also gain<br />

valuable business insights into their cultures.”<br />

tongue isn’t English, we offer a range of<br />

English language courses that will help to<br />

improve their vocabulary and boost their<br />

confidence, including a pre-sessional course<br />

designed specifically for those about to join<br />

university. And with the city right on their<br />

doorstep, they’ll be ordering coffee with<br />

friends and chatting stocks, growth and<br />

margins in no time!<br />

Become a global citizen<br />

The world of business is an international<br />

one and it’s important to start connecting<br />

with people all around the world, as well<br />

as in the UK. With Regent’s attracting<br />

students from over 140 nationalities, your<br />

child will not only make international<br />

friends, but also gain valuable business<br />

insights into their cultures, including what<br />

does and doesn’t work internationally. Plus,<br />

they’ll have the chance to learn a wide<br />

variety of languages and, if they choose,<br />

study abroad in one of our 60+ partner<br />

universities around the world.<br />

Our students develop such deep<br />

connections, they often join forces –<br />

finding future co-founders on campus and<br />

launching brands and business ventures<br />

together, in London and around the world.<br />

Your child will never get tired of the<br />

experiences we offer. Discover more<br />

at www.regents.ac.uk.<br />



Caroline Gademann -<br />

Academic Director, and<br />

Alexandre Gademann -<br />

Managing Director<br />

More than just a boarding school,<br />

a family heritage dedicated to<br />

student development<br />


‘In Labore Virtus’: Virtue resides in hard work.<br />

This has always been Institut<br />

Monte Rosa’s motto ever since<br />

my grandfather took ownership<br />

of the school premises. His vision was for<br />

a co-educational boarding school based in<br />

Montreux.<br />

Choosing the right education programme<br />

is one of the most important decisions<br />

parents and children must make. When<br />

my sister and I took over the management<br />

of Monte Rosa, we wanted to continue<br />

building on our father and grandfather’s<br />

legacy by creating a safe space where<br />

students can pursue their dreams and<br />

passions, develop their personal skills, and<br />

ultimately find their true selves.<br />

In today’s world, plenty of established<br />

schools will help children achieve their<br />

goals. However, with the development<br />

of educational tools and plethora of<br />

programmes available to students, it is<br />

easy to become overwhelmed with the<br />

number of possibilities offered throughout<br />

the world. Finding the right education<br />



“Monte Rosa provides a dedicated and individualised academic education,<br />

adapted for each student both inside and outside of the classroom.”<br />

programme based on a child’s capabilities<br />

and their aspirations is a challenge. As<br />

parents, we want the best for our children<br />

and therefore it is important to see “the big<br />

picture”.<br />

Monte Rosa provides a dedicated and<br />

individualised academic education, adapted<br />

for each student both inside and outside<br />

of the classroom. To us, this is the key to<br />

success:<br />

• A well-balanced education programme<br />

• A solid foundation on which students<br />

can continue to build throughout their<br />

academic path<br />

• A feeling of safety and security<br />

• An emphasis on social and emotional<br />

learning.<br />

Often referred as a ‘boutique’ boarding<br />

school, keeping a limited number of<br />

students on campus and being able to offer<br />

a genuine family-like atmosphere has always<br />

been a priority at Monte Rosa. Maintaining<br />

this structure is very important to us as it<br />

is what makes the school so unique. We<br />

treat our staff, teachers, and educators as<br />

artists, and they are a key ingredient in the<br />

students’ journey<br />

to success.<br />

Our family-owned<br />

boarding school has<br />

nurtured thousands of<br />

students over the years<br />

and today is no exception.<br />

Whether students join<br />

our academic year<br />

programme, follow winter<br />

and summer camps,<br />

advance through our<br />

individualised education<br />

programme, they will<br />

always be warmly<br />

welcomed and will quickly<br />

feel part of our big family.<br />

I am personally so<br />

proud of what we have<br />

achieved over the years. We are entitled to<br />

provide exclusive tutoring, with a wide array<br />

of activities, and have succeeded in creating<br />

an environment in which our students can<br />

and do reach their personal goals. Helping<br />

students to overcome their challenges makes<br />

us wake up every morning even more<br />

www.monterosa.ch<br />

determined to continue to fulfil the vision<br />

of our forefathers. Receiving a warm thank<br />

you from parents or alumni at the end of<br />

the study cycle is the best gift we can hope<br />

for. It says it all and we know, at this precise<br />

moment, that we have achieved our mission<br />

as educators.<br />



5 Reasons to send your child to<br />

the Montana Summer Sessions<br />

1A personal and personalised<br />

experience<br />

According to our students, at our summer<br />

sessions (almost) everything is possible for<br />

anyone!<br />

What we believe makes Montana<br />

Summer Sessions special is that we stay<br />

small (maximum 50 students) so that we get<br />

to know every participant well, understand<br />

how to inspire their learning and help each<br />

one to discover passions and aptitudes they<br />

might never have imagined.<br />

From artists to scientists to sports<br />

champions, during the summer programme<br />

our students can follow their dreams. They<br />

learn media techniques from a top US radio<br />

commentator and can become a radio host,<br />

guest or a reporter. They work closely with<br />

a movie director, and script or act in their<br />

own advertisement or short movie. They<br />

might build their own rocket models and<br />

launch them into space or prepare delicious<br />

ice cream with Liquid Nitrogen in our<br />

Science classes.<br />

2A magical location with the<br />

glories of nature at their doorstep<br />

It is a special privilege to have such a<br />

campus location, secluded but also close to<br />

everything!<br />

Summer is all about long sunny days, the<br />

freedom of outside and the space to get<br />

healthy while loving an active life. Summer<br />

is even better when it is shared with a great<br />

group of friends and an energetic team of<br />

fun-loving people who love to teach and<br />

inspire their students.<br />

That is Summer Camp at Institut<br />

Montana. Our students will be racing<br />

across meadows, scrambling over rocks,<br />

and swimming in lakes. There is biking<br />

and tennis and sports and games your child<br />

might never have tried.<br />

The tonic for mental health that<br />

accompanies all this physical activity is<br />

extraordinary. That old phrase mens sana<br />

in corpere sano might be over-used but it<br />

is true. As the days grow shorter and the<br />

summer ends, the students will carry the<br />

glow of bright days and fresh air.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 26<br />

3Never will they learn so much<br />

while having so much fun<br />

Our Summer camp is about learning, but<br />

this learning is different. It is unlike studying<br />

to pass exams and earn diplomas. It is<br />

project-based and collaborative, it inspires<br />

curiosity and creativity, and it is problemsolving<br />

and solution-finding in action. Our<br />

students are guided by enthusiastic mentors<br />

and special guests such as movie directors,<br />

radio commentators and TED Speakers<br />

who work closely with them and inspire<br />

them to acquire new skills, expand their<br />

minds and experience the joy there is to be<br />

found in learning.<br />

This is a precious opportunity to venture<br />

into new areas and discover talents they had<br />

never previously explored. It could be life<br />

changing and it has been for some of them.<br />

4The resilience and independence<br />

they develop<br />

Students will be away from you only for two<br />

weeks, which for some can be daunting, but<br />

it’s a great opportunity to start to develop


independence in a friendly environment<br />

where they can feel secure. What a way to<br />

test themselves out of their comfort zone<br />

and grow into the young adult they hope to<br />

become. Because they are supported and<br />

cared for around the clock, they will build<br />

confidence while keeping their warm heart.<br />

We engage with every child and know<br />

when they need extra support, a friendly<br />

guide on the journey to being their best<br />

selves. We want them to end their stay in<br />

the best of health – mentally and physically.<br />

We make sure that they smile and laugh<br />

every day. Our students develop strength,<br />

independence, and resilience and find their<br />

inner smile.<br />

5The People they will meet and<br />

the friendships for life<br />

Our Summer Camp is special also because<br />

of the people. They are family and friends<br />

at the same time. It is a shared experience<br />

that will build connections among fellow<br />

students and with the staff who are there to<br />

support them, care for them, and make it all<br />

happen. They come from all over the world<br />

and every one of them has their own story<br />

to tell, including your child.<br />

Our Summer Camp gives each student<br />

more than memories; it builds fantastic<br />

friendships that they will cherish forever.<br />

“Our Summer Camp gives each student more than memories;<br />

it builds fantastic friendships that they will cherish forever.”<br />

Summer Camp at Institut Montana<br />

The campus of our Day and Boarding<br />

<strong>School</strong> is extraordinary. By the time our<br />

students have ridden the funicular railway<br />

up to its site overlooking Zug, they are<br />

in another world. Peace and clean air,<br />

forests and meadows and an abundance of<br />

outdoor activities on the doorstep.<br />

Student numbers are limited so that<br />

this enriching experience is personalised<br />

towards each individual.<br />

Morning language classes in English<br />

or German are intensive, structured and<br />

effective. They will target just what our<br />

students need to know to end up confident<br />

about communicating in whichever<br />

language they choose to study. Then the<br />

afternoon explodes (sometimes literally!)<br />

into activity, with workshops in Science<br />

and Technology, Business and Leadership,<br />

Creativity, and the Arts. Graduates of the<br />

school often come back to run sessions.<br />

Awarded film director Fariba Buchheim<br />

shows students how to make their own<br />

movies. Celebrated radio host Cary<br />

Harrison provides a deep dive into the<br />

fascinating world of radio making.<br />

We don’t spend all our time on the<br />

Zugerberg, magnificent though it is. This<br />

part of Switzerland is rich with exciting<br />

activities and awe-inspiring scenery. We<br />

make the most of it. The majestic Mount<br />

Pilatus towers over the historic city of<br />

Lucerne, and the ascent by cable-car is<br />

an adventure in itself. We hike the alpine<br />

trails and we swing through trees at the<br />

rope park. Even if the weather is less than<br />

perfect there are thrills to be had – indoor<br />

skydiving and mind-bending Escape<br />

Rooms are just two of the options. And all<br />

the accompanying safety briefings teach<br />

everyone those important skills of looking<br />

after yourself, while, of course, having the<br />

most amazing fun.<br />

Then home to the campus with its views<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 27<br />

across the lake of Zug. Each evening, the<br />

sun sets behind mountains the other side of<br />

the lake, turning its waters pink and orange.<br />

Summer Sessions students might be sitting<br />

around a campfire in a glade as the sky<br />

glows, with their cosy beds just down the<br />

hill, very happy that they made the choice<br />

to come to Summer Camp in Switzerland.<br />

At Institut Montana on the Zugerberg the<br />

prospect of Summer Camp <strong>2023</strong> is already<br />

causing a buzz of excitement.<br />

Contact us to get more information<br />

or visit our website: Montana Summer<br />

Sessions <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Institut Montana Zugerberg Schoenfels<br />

56300 Zug , Switzerland<br />

Tel. +41 (0)41 729 11 77<br />





“The multicultural student<br />

body, faculty and dynamic<br />

environment of the Institute<br />

contribute to the creation<br />

of a framework in which the<br />

students acquire a global<br />

education.”<br />

The <strong>International</strong> Institute<br />

in Geneva (IIG) offers<br />

double degrees with UK<br />

and US universities<br />

The <strong>International</strong> Institute<br />

in Geneva (IIG), previously<br />

<strong>International</strong> University in<br />

Geneva, is a Swiss foundation of higher<br />

education. The institution was founded<br />

in 1997 to provide bachelor and master<br />

programs in Business Administration,<br />

<strong>International</strong> Relations, Digital Media,<br />

Computer Science and Business Analytics.<br />

The <strong>International</strong> Institute in Geneva<br />

has both institutional and program<br />

accreditation. The institute has developed<br />

a partnership network of over twenty-two<br />

higher education institutions around the<br />

world allowing for students exchange and<br />

double degrees such in the UK and the<br />

USA among others.<br />

The multicultural student body, faculty<br />

and dynamic environment of the Institute<br />

contribute to the creation of a framework<br />

in which the students acquire a global<br />

education. The use of experiential<br />

learning methods including case analysis<br />

and business simulations ensure the<br />

development of analytical skills which are<br />

critical in today’s competitive and rapidly<br />

changing world. The programs prepare the<br />

students to learn and lead in an increasingly<br />

digital environment.<br />

Since 2018 the Institute proposes double<br />

degrees at the bachelor level with University<br />

of Plymouth (UK) enabling students to<br />

graduate, after three years in Geneva, with<br />

two degrees from IIG and the University<br />

of Plymouth. In 2020 the partnership was<br />

expanded to the master level with Boston<br />

University (USA) providing the students an<br />

opportunity to graduate in 18 months with<br />

two graduate degrees.<br />

The Alumni spans over one hundred<br />

countries thus representing a unique<br />

opportunity for students to participate<br />

in a global network. The alumni of the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Institute in Geneva are<br />

working for UN agencies such as World<br />

Health Organization WHO, United Nations<br />

Commission on Trade and Development<br />

(UNCTAD) as well as multinationals such<br />

as Nestle, Amazon or Roche. Throughout<br />

the academic year alumni are invited to<br />

present their organizations and internship<br />

opportunities to the student body.<br />

The Student Council proposes various<br />

activities such as sports, visits to cities in<br />

Europe. The students participate in the<br />

Harvard World Model United Nations and<br />

organizes a Silicon Valley Tour to visit the<br />

major tech companies. Various student<br />

services are available such as academic and<br />

career counselling. The institute provides<br />

student housing.<br />

Each year the Institute sponsors a limited<br />

number of scholarships. The selection<br />

criteria include academic achievements<br />

and the financial need of the applicant.<br />

To maintain academic excellence the<br />

institution encourages its faculty to carry<br />

out research, publish and participate<br />

actively in professional conferences. The<br />

institute regularly invites distinguished guest<br />

speakers including H.E. Micheline Calmy-<br />

Rey former president of Switzerland, Paul<br />

Polman CEO of Unilever or Dr. Bertrand<br />

Piccard founder of Solar Impulse.<br />

For further information about the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Institute in Geneva contact us<br />

at info@iig.ch or visit the website:<br />

www.iig.ch<br />





changing the landscape of education<br />

How a small international school in Switzerland is changing the learning and teaching<br />

paradigm through education, local sustainability, eco projects, and industry.<br />

Two years ago John F Kennedy <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, took<br />

the decision to forge a collaboration with a local initiative<br />

by Esther Mottier in Château-d’Oex, Switzerland.<br />

The project aimed to educate children and communities on the<br />

importance of sustainable living and preserving the environment.<br />

Since collaborating in 2020, JFK students have adapted their<br />

education to focus on the impact of biodiversity and sustainable<br />

living on themselves, their community, and the world.<br />

In 2015, the United Nations established the Sustainable<br />

Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce the impact of climate<br />

change. JFK’s educational leaders recognised that even a small<br />

school could support this global vision. They believe that it is vital<br />

for students to understand the impact of their actions on the planet<br />

and that participating in and experiencing positive change can<br />

foster resilience and empowerment. Additionally, JFK <strong>School</strong>’s<br />

location in a beautiful natural setting prompted them to incorporate<br />

nature into students’ learning and teach them about climate<br />

change’s impact and sustainability on the local region.<br />

JFK has also collaborated with Votre Cercle de Vie to develop<br />

students’ critical thinking, resilience, and flexibility to better<br />

prepare them for global challenges such as climate change and AI<br />

technology.<br />

Votre Cercle de Vie’s eco-hotel project provides students with<br />

hands-on learning experiences in sustainable living, including<br />

economy, construction, design, energy systems, and more.<br />

“We hope our involvement in such development projects<br />

inspires other schools to seek real-world learning and<br />

problem-solving opportunities beyond the traditional<br />

classroom setting. We believe that even small actions can<br />

significantly impact, and it is essential to recognise this<br />

potential.”<br />

Stephanie Walmsley, Head of Middle <strong>School</strong> at John F<br />

Kennedy <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, Switzerland.<br />



What is outdoor education?<br />

Outdoor Education is a complex concept with multiple approaches,<br />

and there is little consensus among researchers, teachers, and<br />

educators. However, examining a few definitions makes the concept<br />

clearer and more straightforward.<br />

Donaldson and Donaldson (1958) define Outdoor Education as<br />

“education in, about, and for the outdoors”, which encompasses<br />

learning in any outdoor environment, teaching any cultural and<br />

environmental aspect, and developing knowledge, skills, and<br />

attitudes about the world. However, Fagerström (2012) argues that<br />

this definition is limited as outdoor learning also encompasses other<br />

academic, personal, and social objectives.<br />

Outdoor education is also defined as an experiential process<br />

of learning by doing, primarily in outdoor environments (Ford,<br />

1986) and it differs from summer camp or day camp as they are<br />

school-directed activities outside of the school building that provide<br />

educational experiences to the students (Priest, 1986). Outdoor<br />

education might include all curriculum areas, such as art, language<br />

arts, maths, physical education, social studies, music, and science<br />

(Eaton, 1998) in a transdisciplinary way.<br />

Many educators recognise the benefits of outdoor education,<br />

as it can provide students with unique opportunities to learn in a<br />

direct and hands-on way and promote physical activity (Fiskum &<br />

Jacobsen, 2012).<br />

Outdoor education constantly evolves, and cultural influences<br />

shape the concept in different regions. According to his experience,<br />

Breogán Gómez, the JFK outdoor learning coordinator, have<br />

noticed that countries like Sweden, Slovenia, Norway, and<br />

Switzerland have unique approaches to Outdoor Education. For<br />

example, Switzerland strongly emphasises outdoor learning as a<br />

part of their culture and is considered a way of life. The country’s<br />

stunning Alps also provide an ideal location for outdoor learning.<br />

“JFK aims to create a meaningful outdoor learning<br />

program that utilises the school’s natural and alpine<br />

settings. To enhance their curriculum, the program aims<br />

to connect students to their environment and incorporate<br />

various learning strategies such as experiential,<br />

collaborative, inquiry-based and project-based learning.”<br />

Breogán Gómez, Outdoor Education Coordinator at<br />

John F Kennedy <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, Switzerland.<br />



Linking Outdoor Education to Sustainable and Biodiversity Projects and Industry<br />

The Votre Cercle de Vie project was developed over 14 years by<br />

Esther and Nicolas Mottier and their community. It aimed to create<br />

a more sustainable world by addressing societal issues and calling<br />

for change.<br />

As of today Votre Cercle de Vie encompasses a traditional<br />

biodynamic family farm, two organic stores, two apartments for<br />

holiday rental, a naturopathic practice, and a second-hand shop.<br />

The Votre Cercle de Vie project, planned for 2025, is an ecofarm-hotel<br />

featuring organic architecture, low-tech energy and<br />

water management innovations, and an emphasis on the circular<br />

economy. The hotel generates its own energy, uses biogas from<br />

the barn for cooking, and treats wastewater for consumption. The<br />

kitchen uses organic, local, and seasonal products from the farm<br />

and local suppliers.<br />

It is a pioneering concept in Switzerland as it is a high-end<br />

building offering hotel services and interconnects with the<br />

agriculture, health, and education sectors. The goal is for guests<br />

to have an enriching experience connecting with nature and<br />

apply what they learn daily. What sets it apart is the opportunity<br />

to have unique experiences in an innovative and atypical building<br />

surrounded by farm animals and outdoor and indoor gardens.<br />

Votre Cercle de Vie aims already to create a unique, sustainable<br />

and educational experience for guests through a connection with<br />

nature and regular workshops and activities. These include monthly<br />

collaborations with students from JFK <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, held at<br />

the biodynamic farm and second-hand store.<br />

Votre Cercle de Vie collaborates with schools and also companies<br />

that share their values and vision of an ecological transition.<br />

Connecting people, particularly children and business leaders,<br />

to nature is crucial for a deeper understanding and emotional<br />

connection to the earth through activities and projects.<br />

Votre Cercle de Vie has indeed seen first-hand that being on<br />

a biodynamic farm provides a unique opportunity for discovery,<br />

education and overall growth in terms of physical, cognitive and<br />

emotional well-being. The personal and welcoming atmosphere<br />

allows guests to participate in meaningful activities and gain<br />

positive experiences. These experiences<br />

include milking, caring for animals, and planting and harvesting<br />

fruits and vegetables. It is an ideal environment for promoting<br />

interdisciplinary learning and the development of holistic<br />

perspectives.<br />

Votre Cercle de Vie has gained recognition and interest after the<br />

release of the documentary film “Le Pari d’Esther” in 2021 and<br />

is regularly invited to share the concept at events and conferences.<br />

Recently, the project received the “Hotel Innovation Award” from<br />

GastroSuisse and the Swiss Hotel Credit Association .<br />

JFK <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> and Votre Cercle de Vie have joined forces<br />

to create an educational program that combines sustainability and<br />

outdoor education for students. To learn more about how JFK has<br />

integrated this program with Votre Cercle de Vie, please contact<br />

Mrs Stephanie Walmsley at stephanie@jfk.ch.<br />



Understanding <strong>School</strong> Transition Stress<br />


We often hear about the<br />

challenges of transitions – how<br />

they can bring added stress<br />

and make life a bit bumpy for a season<br />

until a more settled state ensues. But what<br />

is ‘normal’ transition stress for children?<br />

At what point should adjustments be<br />

considered because the transition stress has<br />

gone beyond a healthy limit?<br />

When my company (TCK Training) talks<br />

about transition stress for Third Culture<br />

Kids, we use the concept of Red Zone/<br />

Green Zone. When a child is in the ‘Red<br />

Zone,’ their brain is constantly flooded with<br />

stress hormones. This isn’t concerning for<br />

a short period of time, but a developing<br />

brain should not be exposed to those stress<br />

hormones too consistently or for too long.<br />

What is ‘Normal’ Transition Stress?<br />

This Red Zone/Green Zone concept is<br />

particularly helpful when we work with<br />

families regarding a school transition. We<br />

help families understand what the Red<br />

Zone looks like and ways to help their<br />

children move toward the Green Zone.<br />

Equally important, we help them recognize<br />

when a child has been in the Red Zone too<br />

long and help them plan how to move the<br />

child out of the Red Zone.<br />

For younger children (up to about<br />

10 years old), signs of the Red Zone<br />

include:<br />

• Uncharacteristic behavior challenges<br />

• Being overly emotional<br />

• Being extra ‘clingy’ to a parent<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 33<br />

• Developmental reverting (accidents after<br />

being potty trained, sleep regressions, using<br />

baby talk, needing a comfort item they had<br />

grown out of, etc.)<br />

• Development of new stress-induced habits<br />

(hair twisting, biting lips or skin, etc.)<br />

• Not enjoying activities that used to bring joy<br />

• Lack of ability to learn new concepts<br />

(this often shows up as difficulty meeting<br />

elementary milestones, such as reading, if<br />

those concepts are introduced while the<br />

child is in the Red Zone)<br />

For older children (about 10 years and<br />

older) signs of the Red Zone include:<br />

• Self-isolation<br />

• Lack of desire to do things they previously<br />



“For teenagers, it can be helpful to invite<br />

them to join you in a Green Zone activity. For<br />

example, “I’m going to go on a hike. Would<br />

you like to join me?”

• Long periods of numbing/distracting<br />

behaviors (e.g. spending hours on an<br />

electronic device, consistently choosing to<br />

read for hours instead of spending time<br />

with family/other children)<br />

• Development of new stress-induced habits<br />

(hair twisting, biting lips or skin, etc.)<br />

• Being overly moody, temperamental,<br />

or having new/exaggerated behavior<br />

challenges<br />

• Lack of ability to learn new concepts (this<br />

often shows up in poor grades)<br />

While these behaviors are all normal for<br />

a transition season and aren’t inherently<br />

unhealthy, prolonged time spent in the<br />

Red Zone can be unhealthy, especially for<br />

developing brains.<br />

One of the most effective ways to care<br />

for a child in the Red Zone is to expect<br />

that these moments will happen during<br />

transition, notice when a child displays<br />

signs of the Red Zone, and then proactively<br />

interject Green Zone moments.<br />

Green Zone moments can include:<br />

• Body movement (going for a walk, playing<br />

a sport, etc.)<br />

• Anything rhythmic – rhythm regulates the<br />

brain (music, dancing, coloring, etc.)<br />

• Talking about why this transition feels<br />

so hard (allowing them to share and/<br />

or giving them language for why they’re<br />

feeling this way)<br />

• Laughing<br />

• Deep breathing<br />

• Experiencing something that feels<br />

physically comforting (a favorite food, a<br />

cozy blanket, a special treat, etc.)<br />

• Quality time with a parent, sibling, or<br />

close friend<br />

Moving Toward the Green Zone<br />

When a child transitions to a new school,<br />

it is normal for them to be primarily in<br />

the Red Zone for the first three months.<br />

During those three months, it is important<br />

to implement Green Zone moments for/<br />

with them. For teenagers, it can be helpful<br />

to invite them to join you in a Green Zone<br />

activity. For example, “I’m going to go on a<br />

hike. Would you like to join me?” If older<br />

children are uninterested in joining Green<br />

Zone moments, it is important to require<br />

something from the Green Zone list. You<br />

can explain why Green Zone moments are<br />

so important for their mental health and ask<br />

which types of moments they would like to<br />

“Green Zone moments do not automatically move<br />

a child from the Red Zone to the Green Zone,<br />

but it does put their brains into the Green Zone<br />

momentarily. Imagine this as coming up for air after<br />

being underwater.”<br />

schedule for themselves.<br />

Green Zone moments do not<br />

automatically move a child from the<br />

Red Zone to the Green Zone, but it does<br />

put their brains into the Green Zone<br />

momentarily. Imagine this as coming up for<br />

air after being underwater. They may be<br />

primarily underwater during this season,<br />

but it is the parent’s job to help them come<br />

up for air regularly by implementing Green<br />

Zone moments.<br />

After three months in a new school, we<br />

hope to see children having fewer Red<br />

Zone days, thus trending toward a more<br />

consistent Green Zone state. When this is<br />

happening, you will often notice:<br />

• They talk about friends at school<br />

• Getting ready for school in the morning<br />

isn’t as difficult<br />

• They talk about things they’re looking<br />

forward to<br />

• They want to join activities such as sports<br />

or the school musical<br />

• They are beginning to understand the<br />

concepts being taught and thus, grades are<br />

improving and academic milestones are<br />

closer to being met<br />

• They seem to have a more positive outlook<br />

• They are laughing and smiling more<br />

• They are doing ‘Green Zone moments’<br />

without prompting<br />

We typically notice that in the second<br />

half of the school year, transition stress has<br />

eased and children are in the Green Zone<br />

more regularly.<br />

What If it’s Not Getting Better?<br />

If more than halfway through the school<br />

year, however, you aren’t seeing any<br />

advancement toward the Green Zone, it<br />

is important to take action. We suggest<br />

looking at this from two angles: in the home<br />

and in their environment.<br />

In the Home…<br />

• Are they receiving regular, positive<br />

attention from their parents?<br />

• Do they feel they can talk about their<br />

emotions without being invalided?<br />

• Do they feel physically safe?<br />

• Does the family smile and laugh together<br />

often?<br />

In their Environment…<br />

• Do they have access to preferred activities<br />

that would give them Green Zone<br />

moments?<br />

• Do they have potential friends in their<br />

class/school?<br />

• Is their teacher a factor that is putting<br />

them in the red zone?<br />

• Are there specific stressors that they or you<br />

can pinpoint?<br />

• Are adults other than parents investing in<br />

them?<br />

If the answers to these indicate that there<br />

are factors contributing to the red zone,<br />

it’s important to make some changes. In<br />

the home, for example, you might create<br />

routines to provide more one-on-one time<br />

between the parents and the child. In the<br />

environment, you may need to consider<br />

adding activities they would enjoy outside<br />

school, changing classrooms/teachers, or<br />

even a school change.<br />

Along with these changes, you may<br />

consider reaching out to a professional<br />

for support and additional advice. TCK<br />

Training offers parent consultations for this<br />

purpose. After understanding the concerns,<br />

we’ll give recommendations for actions you<br />

can take yourself and provide referrals to<br />

mental health professionals if necessary.<br />

Transition can be bumpy for the whole<br />

family – and that’s normal! Learning how<br />

to create Green Zone moments helps us<br />

all breathe a little easier during these hard<br />

times. As your time in the new location<br />

or school environment grows, the Red<br />

Zone/Green Zone tool helps us distinguish<br />

between healthy transition bumps and long<br />

term adjustment issues. This awareness can<br />

make a big difference for families managing<br />

global mobility.<br />


Raising Up A Generation of Healthy<br />

Third Culture Kids (2020), Lauren Wells<br />


with a strong sense of their origins. We view<br />

it as our responsibility to foster change for<br />

sustainable living and therefore, included<br />

the topic in the education at all of our<br />

schools.<br />

Education for Sustainable Development<br />

The term “education for sustainable<br />

development” was introduced at the<br />

UN environmental conference in Rio<br />

de Janeiro in 1992 and describes an<br />

education that empowers people to<br />

influence the future in a globalised world<br />

actively and responsibly. Students at SIS<br />

schools are given opportunities to work<br />

on strategic and collaborative projects<br />

focusing on sustainability issues that are<br />

environmental, economic, social or cultural<br />

and grounded in the narrative within the<br />

United Nations Sustainability Development<br />

Goals. The goal is for students to think<br />

critically, systematically, sustainably and<br />

in a future orientated way as well as to<br />

develop problem solving skills to ensure<br />

classrooms are places of inclusivity and<br />

equity. An action-learning approach is used,<br />

which means students initiate ideas and<br />

implementation of a project, supported by<br />

a teacher.<br />

Students at SIS Swiss<br />

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

Sustainability Initiatives<br />

The start of the new year saw the continuation of an exciting new project<br />

across SIS: Education for sustainable development was implemented<br />

at all SIS schools in Switzerland. In this context, sustainability teams<br />

made up of SIS students work on collaborative sustainability initiatives<br />

related to for example energy, biodiversity or waste. These sustainability<br />

initiatives will be carried out every year and will then be embedded in the<br />

schools in the years ahead.<br />

Focus on Sustainability<br />

Sustainability plays a very important role<br />

in our lives today. Every day, we are faced<br />

with questions such as: How can we avoid<br />

plastic? How much waste do we produce<br />

and what do we do with it? Where does<br />

this product come from? What were the<br />

conditions during the production and<br />

what impact do our decisions have on the<br />

environment and the climate?<br />

SIS Swiss <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> is a private,<br />

bilingual day school company committed to<br />

consistent and genuine bilingual classroom<br />

instruction from kindergarten to college<br />

level. At SIS, around 5.000 students are<br />

educated from kindergarten to college at<br />

17 locations in three countries. Students<br />

attending our day schools in Germany,<br />

Brazil and Switzerland are empowered to<br />

become critical thinkers and global citizens<br />

Seven Student Sustainability Teams –<br />

One Mission<br />

The first step for each SIS school in<br />

Switzerland was to create a sustainability<br />

team made up of students from varying<br />

year groups and a designated sustainability<br />

teacher to guide the process. In order to do<br />

this, the lead staff members created notice<br />

boards, ran staff meetings and assemblies<br />

and went into classes to speak directly to<br />

the heart and passion of the matter and<br />

motivate students to make a difference<br />

either as individuals or as a part of their<br />

school’s sustainability team. Students within<br />

these specially created teams range from<br />

those at the top end of their schools, some<br />

of whom are part way through their college<br />

or <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate (IB) studies<br />

to lower primary students, each with a valid<br />

and respected perspective.<br />

The first task facing each team was<br />

to carry out a sustainability audit. The<br />

sustainability audit looked at different<br />

themes such as waste, water, energy and<br />

biodiversity. It also reviewed sustainability<br />

in social, cultural and economic areas<br />

as well as in the learning programmes<br />

implemented and the engagement of the<br />



community. Students investigated visually<br />

by walking around their schools to identify<br />

the sustainability practices already in place.<br />

They had conversations with management,<br />

teachers, children and families about what is<br />

working well or needs improving and looked<br />

at data. In some cases, they delved so deep<br />

as to look at bills to consider their school’s<br />

waste, water usage and spending on fuel.<br />

The results of the audit are the basis for the<br />

student groups to develop a strategic plan,<br />

with the support of their teacher, identifying<br />

which sustainability projects are going to be<br />

implemented over the next years.<br />

Sustainability Initiatives by SIS Students<br />

At each of our schools, we have motivated,<br />

committed and thoughtful groups or<br />

“eco-warriors”. They have interrogated<br />

the information available to them to create<br />

an action plan and embark on their first<br />

projects. Each year the student teams will<br />

be responsible for bringing to fruition<br />

one sustainability initiative which is then<br />

embedded in the life of the school on in to<br />

future years. They can choose to take action<br />

related to energy, air quality, biodiversity,<br />

healthy living, waste or another area from<br />

the plethora of possibilities.<br />

With each project comes new learning<br />

and reflection is absolutely crucial to inform<br />

next steps for the students and their schools.<br />

With this in mind, an SIS Sustainability<br />

Summit takes place at the end of the<br />

school year, to share ideas across our seven<br />

schools and afford representatives from each<br />

school’s sustainability team an opportunity<br />

to present their project progress, to listen<br />

and support the progress of a sister school<br />

and to fuel enthusiasm for their own<br />

subsequent projects.<br />

CO2 Neutrality by 2028<br />

On a company level, SIS has furthermore<br />

set the goal to become climate neutral by<br />

2028. We collaborate with a Swiss company<br />

specialised in analysing greenhouse gas<br />

emissions to calculate these emissions for all<br />

SIS schools and to evaluate specific areas.<br />

Emission numbers have been obtained<br />

from all SIS schools for areas such as<br />

energy consumption, mobility and waste.<br />

A comprehensive analysis of the data will<br />

soon allow us to identify approaches to<br />

reducing our CO2 emissions as well as<br />

monitoring it over the upcoming years.<br />

SIS thereby wishes to make a valuable<br />

contribution to sustainability.<br />

“We view it as our responsibility to foster change for sustainable<br />

living and therefore, included the topic in the education at all of<br />

our schools.”<br />


SIS Swiss <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> operates 17 bilingual, private day schools in<br />

Switzerland, Germany and Brazil. More than 5.000 students attend our classes<br />

from kindergarten through to college. They come from local as well as from<br />

international families and learn in German (or Portuguese) and English.<br />

www.swissinternationalschool.ch<br />




– WHEN’S THE<br />


The five principles that will<br />

help make your decision<br />


Whether you are thinking about<br />

moving your child to a new<br />

school locally or further afield,<br />

you often need to start thinking about it<br />

earlier than you realise. However, for<br />

international families, the challenge is that<br />

plans are often confirmed late, leaving<br />

decisions up in the air until the last minute.<br />

For any move, the importance of decisions<br />

surrounding education should be a key<br />

consideration.<br />

To avoid disrupting your child’s education<br />

at critical stages and give them the best<br />

chances of success without restricting the<br />

family’s movements, information is critical.<br />

But what do you need to know? These<br />

5 key pieces of advice can help families<br />

to make the right decision about when to<br />

move schools.<br />

1<strong>International</strong> schools are very used to<br />

transient families arriving at different<br />

points in the school year and slotting<br />

into year groups. The communities are<br />

generally very welcoming as many of them<br />

will have been through the upheaval of a<br />

move and children being in an unfamiliar<br />

environment. Locally based schools<br />

maybe more restricted in when they can<br />

accommodate children with more rigid<br />

deadlines for application and less flexibility<br />

about start dates. Starting your research<br />

early can save a lot of heartache and set<br />

out clear times when it will be good for the<br />

family to make a move.<br />

2Moving schools with younger children<br />

is generally less complicated as there are<br />

fewer curriculum restrictions to consider.<br />


“One of the challenges for international families is that in many cases, they are not<br />

quite sure how long when they may have to move; whilst jobs and economics can<br />

play a role in this decision, we would argue that education should also be a key<br />

consideration where possible.”<br />

Whilst uprooting a primary school child can<br />

be upsetting for them in terms of leaving<br />

a familiar environment and friendship<br />

groups, children of this age tend to be very<br />

adaptable and settle in quickly. With the<br />

added bonus of video calls it is now easier<br />

than ever to stay in touch with their old<br />

friends.<br />

3At secondary level there are certain<br />

transition times which make moving a<br />

relatively straight forward process across<br />

different curriculums and schools. Good<br />

times to move are for the start of Year 7 or<br />

Year 9 respectively or Year 12. However,<br />

there are some points that you definitely<br />

need to try and avoid; moving in Year 11<br />

or Year 13 in the British system would<br />

mean moving half way through a 2 year<br />

exam programme GCSEs or A Levels<br />

and similarly with the <strong>International</strong> IB<br />

programme once you start in Grade 11 you<br />

are really committed to two years.<br />

4Be open to new opportunities by<br />

exploring different curriculums with<br />

more flexible start points and sometimes it<br />

can be useful to consider boarding schools<br />

as an option, in order to provide a child<br />

with a continuity of education, particularly<br />

if the family may need to move on every<br />

few years.<br />

5Creating an ‘Education Road Map’ can<br />

be very helpful in setting out the options<br />

and timelines for when to move and to<br />

identify any ‘crunch’ points for the different<br />

children which will make a move more<br />

challenging. A ‘road map’ will also set out<br />

the key dates that you will need to be aware<br />

of in order to apply for and secure a place<br />

at the chosen schools and to be sure that no<br />

deadlines are missed. For example, several<br />

academically selective schools in the UK<br />

often begin the registration process as early<br />

as Year 5 with assessments in Year 6 ready<br />

for a move at Year 9.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 40<br />

By arming yourself with as much<br />

information as possible about the potential<br />

options it means you can be well prepared<br />

with a clearly set out time line. You’ll have<br />

a clear understanding of when you need to<br />

act, how your child needs to prepare, and<br />

most importantly you’ll have the peace of<br />

mind that you know what to do and when.<br />

Interested in sourcing an Education Road<br />

Map for your family, get in touch with us<br />

today.<br />

Carfax Education navigate and guide<br />

families through every step of the<br />

education journey. With an unrivalled<br />

global network of education consultants<br />

and academic experts, they leverage<br />

a wealth of knowledge and close<br />

relationships with the world’s leading<br />

schools and universities.<br />

From school placement to support<br />

university pathways, their guidance is<br />

tailored to fit every family’s needs.

A personal education<br />

in London’s heart<br />

■ 11 acres of private grounds, minutes from central<br />

London<br />

■ An intimate, nurturing and tight-knit learning community<br />

– small classes and a strong support network<br />

■ Gated access and a 24/7 security presence<br />

■ Personal support to identify the skills your child needs<br />

■ A global network of industry experts and masterclasses<br />

■ No deadlines to meet – with year-round applications<br />

we’re ready when you are<br />

Claim your free<br />

guide to studying in<br />

the UK, designed for<br />

parents & guardians<br />


Moving internationally<br />

with a non-binary child<br />


Whether you’re relocating with<br />

an international company, as<br />

a diplomat or under your own<br />

volition, your family needs to make the<br />

same decisions - select a country, a home,<br />

schools, flights, visas, and a removalist<br />

company.<br />

But what about when your child is nonbinary?<br />

Travelling and living internationally as a<br />

non-binary person has specific challenges<br />

that a cis-gender person won’t experience<br />

or necessarily even think about. It’s<br />

important for parents and guardians to be<br />

aware of these challenges and to consider<br />

them when preparing the next move. Your<br />

child’s challenges may vary depending on<br />

their age, but whether they are a preteen,<br />

teenager or a young adult who is coming<br />

home for holidays, they will be negotiating<br />

emotions and realities different to your<br />

own. These challenges are not likely to be<br />

obvious to you if you’ve never had to think<br />

about them - and that’s okay. Now is the<br />

time to learn. You’re in the right place.<br />

Firstly, let’s look at some terminology.<br />

Gender is a social construct based on what<br />

a society believes are the behaviours and<br />

roles of that biological sex. If you’re living<br />

the gender that was assumed at your birth<br />

e.g., born female and living as a woman,<br />

you are cis gender. ‘Non-binary’ is an<br />

umbrella term that describes a person who<br />

doesn’t identify with the gender of ‘male’<br />

or ‘female’. This includes people who are<br />

transgender, genderqueer, gender-neutral,<br />

gender-fluid or agender. Non-binary people<br />

have always existed, but as their history has<br />

largely been erased, many societies believe<br />

that there are only two genders. The reality<br />

is that all people are born non-binary. We<br />

learn gender.<br />

So, what does this mean for a family<br />

living an international life?<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 42<br />

As you prepare practically and<br />

emotionally for your move, you might have<br />

family discussions, but ultimately, it’s a<br />

parental decision. So how is it different for a<br />

non-binary child?<br />


Every country treats gender differently<br />

according to its history and social values. As<br />

you weigh up your country choices, try to<br />

understand how gender is expressed in each<br />

country’s laws and what that means for your<br />

family.<br />

Laws<br />

Most countries only recognise ‘male’ and<br />

‘female’ on legal ID documents such as<br />

passports, birth certificates and driver’s<br />

licences. As of December 2022, fifteen<br />

countries recognise non-binary or third<br />

gender identities (Argentina, Colombia,<br />

Canada, Chile, Uruguay, Iceland, Scotland,

The Netherlands, Malta, South Africa,<br />

India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia,<br />

and New Zealand). In the USA, whilst not<br />

accepted nationally, twenty-seven States<br />

recognise non-binary genders, six in Brazil<br />

and one State in Mexico.<br />

Why does this matter?<br />

In countries that do not recognise nonbinary<br />

genders, your child may be forced<br />

to tick ‘male’ or ‘female’ on official forms.<br />

This has implications for how your child is<br />

addressed, what they have access to, and<br />

whether they feel safe. Being misgendered<br />

repeatedly impacts mental health negatively<br />

and can make gender dysphoria more<br />

acute. If during your stay your child has<br />

the possibility of gaining a driver’s licence<br />

or passport, will male and female be their<br />

only options? When your main form of<br />

identification is at odds with your identity,<br />

the constant emotional negotiation around<br />

that is exhausting.<br />

Further, some adult non-binary children<br />

who would normally visit during holidays,<br />

may be less inclined to if they feel unsafe<br />

or must hide who they are when visiting.<br />

Imagine entering a country knowing that<br />

you are not ‘not-valid’ and wondering why<br />

your parents chose to live in a country that<br />

does not recognise who you are.<br />

Questions for you to consider<br />

• Does the country legally recognise nonbinary<br />

genders?<br />

• If the country doesn’t recognise nonbinary<br />

genders:<br />

• Will my child feel comfortable accessing<br />

medical care and official services?<br />

• Will they be protected should they face<br />

discrimination?<br />

• What genders does my child’s passport<br />

country recognise? If we have problems,<br />

will the embassy really be a safety net for<br />

the family?<br />

• What message will it send my non-binary<br />

child if we choose to live in a country that<br />

does not recognise their gender?<br />

Culture<br />

Some countries only recognise male<br />

and female gender in law, but culturally<br />

acknowledge other genders. There can<br />

be an unspoken rule, where non-binary<br />

people are ‘tolerated’. They live openly but<br />

should the Government/State decide their<br />

behaviour is contrary to accepted culture,<br />

that person is not legally protected. In<br />

“Older children who wear binding to flatten their<br />

chest or who ‘pack’ (an object placed to replicate male<br />

genitalia) may be deemed to be hiding an object through<br />

security and attract further scrutiny.”<br />

other countries like England, non-binary<br />

genders are not recognised legally, but<br />

discrimination laws offer other levels of<br />

protection.<br />

Why does this matter?<br />

Being culturally tolerated rather than<br />

overtly illegal can be a harder life to live,<br />

because it is subject to the individual<br />

biases of others. This means that nonbinary<br />

people live with the imminent<br />

threat that someone may take against<br />

them; this could be as simple as not wearing<br />

the ‘right’ clothing for their perceived<br />

gender. If they are reported to authorities<br />

for any reason, the non-binary person has<br />

no legal rights pertaining to their gender.<br />

Whilst this may not be a problem for a<br />

younger child, by living in that country<br />

you may be asking your older non-binary<br />

children to live with constant fear and<br />

uncertainty.<br />

Questions for you to consider<br />

• In this country:<br />

• Are there safe spaces for non-binary<br />

people to meet?<br />

• Is there a cultural expectation of<br />

gendered clothing and behaviour?<br />

• What are the cultural expectations of<br />

gender?<br />

• Will my child be safe on the streets if<br />

they’re out with friends?<br />

• If the country only recognises ‘male’<br />

and ‘female’, is it reasonable to ask my<br />

child to not express their gender?<br />

• If non-binary genders are illegal, do<br />

other laws protect my child from gender<br />

discrimination?<br />


Travelling through airports can be a<br />

confronting and anxious time for nonbinary<br />

people, especially for those who’ve<br />

gone through puberty.<br />

Passports And Visas<br />

The 10-year lifespan of a passport allows<br />

for a person’s aging, but not different<br />

genders without a formal change in<br />

identification. How your child looks today<br />

may not match their passport photo and<br />

may result in delays at the passport desk or<br />

even refusal of entry. Whether they have<br />

their own passport or are still on yours,<br />

be sure their passport matches them and<br />

can be used without problems. If they’re<br />

old enough, it may be easier to apply for<br />

a gender-neutral passport should their<br />

nationality allow it.<br />


Body Scanners<br />

Body scanners can be an extremely<br />

uncomfortable experience for non-binary<br />

people. Staff are notoriously untrained<br />

outside of ‘male’ and ‘female’, which leads<br />

to awkward pat-downs and body checks.<br />

Furthermore, a body scanner makes our<br />

private bodies, relatively public. This alone<br />

can be highly stressful for non-binary<br />

people with gender dysmorphia. Likewise,<br />

older children who wear binding to flatten<br />

their chest or who ‘pack’ (an object placed<br />

to replicate male genitalia) may be deemed<br />

to be hiding an object through security and<br />

attract further scrutiny. Whilst a binder<br />

helps staff affirm your child’s correct gender,<br />

binders can be uncomfortable to wear on<br />

a plane for long hours. A sports bra<br />

might be preferred but may encourage<br />

misgendering. One might say, just don’t<br />

pack or bind, but that’s like asking a cat to<br />

be a dog. It’s not fair to ask someone to be<br />

who they aren’t.<br />

Understanding airport stressors for nonbinary<br />

children enables you to pre-empt<br />

challenges, support your child’s mental<br />

preparation and lead confidently in a way<br />

that engenders emotional safety.<br />


It’s important to understand how your child<br />

will have to live on a daily basis. How will<br />

they navigate a binary society?<br />


How does the local language deal<br />

with non-binary pronouns? Some like<br />

Spanish, French, Arabic, and Hebrew use<br />

“Body scanners can be an extremely uncomfortable<br />

experience for non-binary people.”<br />

grammatical gender. Have you considered<br />

the impact of living in a language that<br />

only uses male and female gender? How<br />

would you navigate that for a child whose<br />

pronouns are they/them, xe/xir or ze/zir?<br />


• If your child is a non-binary biological<br />

girl/woman or a transgender girl/woman,<br />

will they need to cover their heads in<br />

mosques?<br />

• Does your child want you to stand outside<br />

public toilets to keep them safe?<br />

• Are they drinking less so they don’t have to<br />

use gendered public toilets?<br />

• If they’re an 18+ transwoman, is it safe for<br />

them to enter women only spaces? Is it safe<br />

to shop and try on clothes in department<br />

stores?<br />

SCHOOL<br />

• Will a single sex or mixed sex school be<br />

better for your non-binary child?<br />

• Is the uniform gendered?<br />

• What are the school’s policies around<br />

gender diversity and are they reflected in<br />

the curriculum?<br />

As an adult, being non-binary can be a<br />

constant stream of decisions to keep safe<br />

emotionally and physically. It’s no different<br />

for a non-binary child who travels and<br />

visits their family. At whatever age, they<br />

will continue to seek support from their<br />

parents. As you look to move countries, it’s<br />

important to understand what you’re asking<br />

your non-binary child to take on board,<br />

even if they don’t live with you. Being<br />

aware of their stressors goes a long way to<br />

ensuring their safety and wellbeing.<br />


The Curse And Blessing Of<br />

The Electronic Era:<br />

How to safeguard our children and<br />

set healthy boundaries<br />


During a recent American<br />

Psychology Association (APA)<br />

conference, Dr. Vivek Murthy,<br />

surgeon general of the United States of<br />

America, stated that the exposure of our<br />

children to electronics is an uncontrolled<br />

experiment of which we do not know the<br />

outcome.<br />

Dr. Shifrin, a pediatrician who served<br />

as the American Academy of Paediatrics’<br />

consultant to Microsoft during its<br />

development of a Windows XP family<br />

safety setting, describes the current world of<br />

social media as “the world’s largest cocktail<br />

party, where you’ll encounter every kind<br />

of experience and personality imaginable.<br />

It’s not inherently good or bad, but rather<br />

a great uncontrolled experiment on our<br />

children.”<br />

The American Academy of Pediatrics<br />

(AAP) recently reaffirmed its stance on<br />

screen time for young children on its<br />

parenting website (www.healthychildren.<br />

org). The AAP “strongly discourages<br />

television viewing for children ages two<br />

years old or younger, and encourages<br />

interactive play.”<br />

Psychologist, Kenneth Gergen, a<br />

senior research professor at Swarthmore<br />

College, coined the terms “digital autism”<br />

and “absent yet present” to explain how<br />

technology is muting the quality of our<br />

social lives and our capacity to engage fully<br />

— not just for our kids and teens but also<br />

for us as adults.<br />

So how much time do our kids actually<br />

spend on screens?<br />

According to a 2009 survey by the Kaiser<br />

Family Foundation, young people aged 8-18<br />

years spend an average of 7 hours and 38<br />

minutes each day with TV, video games,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 45<br />

or computers, an increase of 1 hour and<br />

17 minutes more than the average time in<br />

2004. In addition, 66% of these youngsters<br />

own a cell phone (on which they text or talk<br />

for another 2 hours each day), 76% of them<br />

have an iPod or other media player, and<br />

74% of kids in grades 7-12 have a profile on<br />

social networking sites. Other studies show<br />

that American children aged 0 to 8 years<br />

spend about 1.5 to 4.6 hours of daily screen<br />

time, and children aged 8 to 12 years spend<br />

4 to 9 hours of daily screen time. Screen<br />

time is made up of time spent watching<br />

TV, playing games consoles, using a mobile,<br />

computer or tablet. In the United States,<br />

18.6 hours of screen-based play dominates<br />

children’s weekly activities. Market<br />

researcher Childwise collected data from<br />

1995 to the present. Each year it surveys<br />

2000 kids aged 5 to 16. Children aged 5 to<br />

16 spend an average of six and a half

hours a day in front of a screen compared<br />

with around three hours in 1995. Teenaged<br />

boys spend the longest, with an average of<br />

eight hours. Eight-year-old girls spend the<br />

least - three-and-a-half hours, according to<br />

the study.<br />

What are our kids missing out on when<br />

they spend the majority of their time on<br />

screens?<br />

Neuronal pathways are activity-dependent<br />

and reinforced through repeated use. Like<br />

dirt roads being paved, areas of the brain<br />

are strengthened based on frequent use.<br />

With enough repetition and practice, hard<br />

activities become easier. Exposure to a wide<br />

variety of activities is the goal of childhood<br />

in order to form a well-rounded brain. This<br />

extends further from childhood with the<br />

understanding that brain development is<br />

not fully complete till a child’s mid-twenties.<br />

The final area of development is related to<br />

attention and executive functions. As such<br />

continued activation is necessary through<br />

the teenage years.<br />

The benefits of play are almost limitless.<br />

Play is brain-building and leads to changes<br />

in even the smallest brain structures.<br />

Physical play develops skills in planning<br />

and organization, cooperation, self-control,<br />

impulse control, memory, executive<br />

functions, and communication. Often play<br />

involves trying and failing, and learning<br />

from mistakes, which enhances children’s<br />

capacity for solving problems and learning<br />

to focus attention, ultimately promoting the<br />

growth of executive functioning skills. Play<br />

also provides opportunities for learning to<br />

cope with adversity, resulting in increased<br />

resilience.<br />

Executive function (EF) skills are noted to<br />

be a better predictor of academic success<br />

than intellect and are exactly what we as<br />

parents want to strengthen to reduce those<br />

temper tantrums!! These EF functions are<br />

housed in the prefrontal cortex, the exact<br />

area of the brain that decreases function<br />

during online games. On the basis of “fire<br />

together -wire together” we understand<br />

that if this area is not firing it is not getting<br />

stronger. Just 10–20 minutes of gaming has<br />

been seen to increase activity in the brain<br />

regions associated with arousal, anxiety, and<br />

emotional reaction, while simultaneously<br />

reducing activity in the frontal lobes<br />

associated with emotion regulation and<br />

executive control. EF is our impulse control,<br />

our inhibition, our cognitive flexibility,<br />

our decision-making, our ability to recall<br />

memories, our working memory, our<br />

emotional regulation, our attention, and<br />

so much more. EF controls all the good<br />

stuff that we need to survive at home,<br />

at school, and in this world. However,<br />

stick a child in the playground and what<br />

happens? As they barge past the row of<br />

kids waiting for the slide they get pushed<br />

down, and to the back of the line they go<br />

– impulse control just got strengthened. In<br />

the back of that line, they learn patience,<br />

impulse control, inhibition, and dare I<br />

say daydreaming, ah boredom glorious<br />

boredom. Boredom is where imagination<br />

lives! Faces, you need to scan faces to<br />

judge their emotion when you scan the<br />

playground and decide where to go and<br />

who to play with. A recent study showed<br />

that longer durations of screen time<br />

amongst 1-year-old boys was “significantly<br />

associated” with autism spectrum disorder<br />

at 3 years of age. Again, when not spending<br />

time with humans, interacting, scanning<br />

and learning what is the likely outcome?<br />

We get the picture right! All those hours<br />

spent gaming, on YouTube, or scrawling<br />

mindlessly, does not do what our brain<br />

needs to grow.<br />

What about the long-term effects<br />

of social media on the development<br />

and behavior of today’s children and<br />

adolescents?<br />

With rapidly spreading digitalization<br />

worldwide, more and more of us are<br />

spending an increasing number of daily<br />

hours on screens. This trend now includes<br />

even the youngest, 0 to 2 year olds. Results<br />

from several studies suggest that this<br />

growing habit is likely to engender multiple<br />

health risks such as early myopia and<br />

blindness, obesity, sleep disorders, anxiety,<br />

and depression, leading to an impaired<br />

performance at school and behavioral<br />

problems. The potential impact of these<br />

health risks on our children’s future and<br />

the well-being of future societies as a whole<br />

could be dramatic.<br />

Excessive internet use is transversally<br />

associated with lower cognitive functioning<br />

and reduced volume of several areas of the<br />

brain. In longitudinal analyses, a higher<br />

frequency of internet use was associated<br />

with a decrease in verbal intelligence and<br />

a reduced increase in the regional volume<br />

of gray/white matter in several brain<br />

areas after a few years. The areas affected<br />

relate to language processing, attention and<br />

executive functions, emotion and reward.<br />

Screen time triggers dopamine production<br />

in the brain which leads to strong habits,<br />

dependencies, and cravings for more screen<br />

time. This addictive element in all screen<br />

activities is hard for kids to resist, making<br />

screen time the activity of choice. It is<br />

also linked to mental health issues such as<br />

depression. Depression represents a growing<br />

public health concern and is a prevalent<br />

disease among adolescents. Liu et al. (2015)<br />

found a nonlinear dose-response relation<br />

between depressive symptoms and overall<br />

screen time among children in the age<br />

range of 5–18 who were using digital media<br />

for over two hours per day.<br />

Furthermore, studies have suggested<br />

that screen time-induced attention deficit<br />

hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related<br />

behaviour, could inaccurately be diagnosed<br />

as ADHD, whilst screen time reduction<br />

is effective in decreasing ADHD-related<br />

behavior. Individuals with ADHD) may be<br />

at increased risk for video game addiction,<br />

especially when playing games with more<br />

reinforcing properties. Gamers who have<br />

greater ADHD symptom severity may be<br />

at greater risk for developing symptoms<br />

of video game addiction and its negative<br />

consequences, regardless of the type of<br />

video game played. The results demonstrate<br />

that children with ADHD are especially<br />

vulnerable to the addictive use of computer<br />

games due to their neuropsychological<br />

profile.<br />

Literature relating to digital media<br />

addictive behavior has focused mostly<br />

on Internet use and video games, yet the<br />

growing use of applications and texting<br />

(mostly used on mobile devices) may also<br />

lead to addictive behavior (Love et al.,<br />

2015). Screen time is designed to never end.<br />

For example, playing in the backyard has<br />

a natural ending point (when it gets dark,<br />

you must go inside), but screen time doesn’t.<br />

The lack of a natural end point in regard to<br />

screen time is one of the largest problems—<br />

screen activity is designed to be irresistible<br />

and difficult to stop. One study showed that<br />

up to 23% of people who play video games<br />

report symptoms of addic-tion.<br />

Extensive studies are taking place in order<br />

to understand more clearly the ramifications<br />

of screen time. At 21 sites across the USA,<br />

scientists have begun interviewing and<br />

scanning the brains of nine and ten-yearolds.<br />

They will follow more than 11,000<br />


kids for a decade and spend $300 million<br />

doing it. Dr. Gaya Dowling of the National<br />

Institutes of Health states that what we<br />

do know about babies playing with iPads<br />

is that they don’t transfer what they learn<br />

from the iPad to the real world. It is not a<br />

transferable skill. Dr. Patricia Kuhl, is one<br />

of the world’s leading brain scientists and<br />

runs experiments with more than 4,000<br />

babies each year. What her group have<br />

unveiled is that babies under the age of<br />

one, do not learn from a machine. Even if<br />

you show these babies captivating videos,<br />

the difference in learning is extraordinary,<br />

Dr Kuhl shows that you get genius learning<br />

from interacting with a human being, and<br />

you get zero learning from a machine.<br />

Electronics are Here to Stay<br />

– The Positives<br />

Electronics are not all bad, when used<br />

correctly they have various positive<br />

outcomes. Studies have looked at the affect<br />

of electronic media use on psychosocial<br />

development and executive functioning<br />

among 3- and 5-year-olds. Total screen<br />

time, TV viewing, and application use<br />

were examined. The study concluded that<br />

cognitive and psychosocial development in<br />

children 12 months later was positive when<br />

exposure lasted less than 30 minutes a day.<br />

In a study conducted with 2,840 students<br />

in South Korea, children with depressed<br />

mood were more likely to use the internet<br />

to socialize, exchange ideas and talk about<br />

their concerns as a way to meet their<br />

friendship needs.<br />

Used for learning, electronics can be a<br />

tremendous device. Often children come<br />

across teachers that do not teach catered<br />

to their way of thinking. The digital world<br />

allows access to a plethora of online<br />

learning methods which can help further<br />

the understanding of their learnings in<br />

school. It opens up the opportunity to learn<br />

from different cultures as well as to higher<br />

level education that may not be easily<br />

available where they live. Additionally, it<br />

can allow for creativity, there are many<br />

creative platforms. Equally, it allows access<br />

to music and learning of music. It is<br />

understood that the digital age will continue<br />

as such it can also expose children to coding<br />

experience which can be used for future<br />

application creation and proficiency in the<br />

future digital age.<br />

In order to bypass the negative effects<br />

of inappropriate use of the internet, one<br />

cannot ignore, the positive side of these<br />

technologies. Technology is extensively<br />

available and it is almost impossible to<br />

remove it from children’s daily lives. But<br />

the negative effects mentioned in this article<br />

deserve the same attention, as studies place<br />

parental control and moderation as key<br />

factors.<br />

It is imperative that parents monitor<br />

what their children are consuming and<br />

help them learn from it. In the same vein<br />

it is crucial that time limitations are set as<br />

the majority of research links overuse with<br />

serious consequences. This was taken to a<br />

new level in October 2021 in China, where<br />

China tightened limits for young online<br />

gamers and banned school night play.<br />

Chinese children and teenagers are barred<br />

from online gaming on school days, and<br />

limited to one hour a day on weekends and<br />

holiday evenings, under government rules.<br />

“Recently many parents have reported that<br />

game addiction among some youths and<br />

children is seriously harming their normal<br />

study, life and mental and physical health,”<br />

the Chinese administration said in an online<br />

question-and-answer explanation about the<br />

new rules.<br />

Moving Forwards – Finding the Balance<br />

It is clear that there are extensive<br />

ramifications, and we have the potential for<br />

an inattentive future generation. However, it<br />

is on us to reel them in while they are young.<br />

Each generation that passes is going to be<br />

more digital. So although we know what an<br />

offline world is, it is up to us to safeguard<br />

our kids against never knowing what an<br />



unplugged world is, losing the very notion<br />

of a screen-free world in future generations.<br />

Much of the onus is on us parents. We<br />

need to learn how social media works and<br />

how to help our kids become good citizens<br />

of the digital world. We can not afford to<br />

check out because we do not understand<br />

the digital world. The default is that our<br />

children will be raised by whomever and<br />

whatever is in the digital domain. We have<br />

a responsibility to parent in the digital<br />

domain because our children are spending<br />

most of their time there. In the same way<br />

we would guide our children to understand<br />

their role in social situations or guide them<br />

when they start a new sport or a new school,<br />

we need to guide our children carefully in<br />

the pitfalls of the digital era.<br />

When it comes to the misuse of screens,<br />

it often comes down to time management<br />

and the mere fact that most of us are living<br />

very busy lives. Screens are wonderful<br />

distractions for our toddlers, especially at<br />

those times when we as parents have only<br />

two hands and way too much to manage.<br />

Just remember, while TV as a babysitter<br />

may seem like a good idea for you and<br />

your little one at the time, there may be<br />

consequences later.<br />

Here are a few tips to help you and your<br />

child/teen kick-off healthy habits:<br />

• Have a “getting back into a routine<br />

talk” with your child/teen. The talk should<br />

be positive and should focus on areas<br />

in which you as parents feel a need to<br />

reintroduce expectations and structure.<br />

• Introduce to your child/teen the things<br />

that they can do in the moments they used<br />

to be on a device.<br />

• There should be no TV in your child<br />

or teen’s room. As many kids do have TVs<br />

in their rooms these days, closely monitor<br />

their use. Removing the TV at this point<br />

will seem like an undeserved punishment.<br />

If your child/teen does not have a TV or<br />

gaming system in their bedroom it is best to<br />

keep it that way.<br />

• There should be no TV during meals.<br />

An alarming number of families eat their<br />

meals in front of the television, restricting<br />

the opportunity for family conversation.<br />

Equally an alarming number of children<br />

sit in front of a screen during mealtimes<br />

on their own, this is often seen at breakfast<br />

as parents mill around getting ready. It is<br />

notable that many kids will get up extra<br />

early rather than sleep in order to get on a<br />

device. There should be no screen time in<br />

the morning. Meals should be reserved for<br />

conversation, checking in, and connection.<br />

Sidebar, of course, exceptions, can be made<br />

for special occasions.<br />

• If you eat out as a family, take favorite<br />

board games along for all to play whilst<br />

waiting.<br />

• Pre-plan the shows that will be watched<br />

and make sure that all work is done prior.<br />

Reinforce the message that we work before<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 48<br />

we play and good work brings about a wellearned<br />

reward (good life lessons to learn in<br />

childhood). Also, when your child or teen<br />

is watching a pre-planned show of their<br />

choosing and of your approval, they are<br />

not aimlessly flipping through channels, but<br />

are using their allotted TV time to watch<br />

quality programs.<br />

• Make screen time social. Screen time<br />

can complement our time together as a<br />

family with a movie night, or with playing a<br />

video game together. Emphasis on together!<br />

• Keep track of your child/teens screen<br />

time and stick to your agreed-upon limits.<br />

Additionally, we as parents should not forget<br />

that what we model to our children and<br />

teens has a powerful reinforcing impact on<br />

their learning and behavior. As parents, we<br />

may want to reassess our own screen time<br />

management and lead by example.<br />

• Talk to your child about what they are<br />

seeing.<br />

• Encourage your child to learn other<br />

activities such as sports, music, art, and<br />

hobbies that do not involve screens.<br />

• Actively decide when your child is ready<br />

for a personal device. Consider your child<br />

or teen’s maturity and habits. The right<br />

plan for one family may not be a good fit<br />

for another.<br />

• Avoid using screens as pacifiers,<br />

babysitters, or to stop tantrums.<br />

• Turn off screens and remove them<br />

from bedrooms 60 minutes before bedtime.<br />

Remember that light decreases melatonin<br />

production, which makes falling asleep<br />

harder. Plan on a deviceless pre-bedtime<br />

routine.<br />

There is a crucial need to identify the<br />

warning signs of excessive technology use<br />

in our children and define the appropriate<br />

limit of daily screen time. Children can<br />

make balanced use of technologies, taking<br />

advantage of them without exaggeration,<br />

favoring communication and the search<br />

for information that is relevant to learning.<br />

Most importantly, parents need to be<br />

informed of the long-term consequences<br />

of excessive screen time and learn how to<br />

adequately adjust their children’s exposure.<br />

Most importantly, and the reason for this<br />

article, parents need to be informed of<br />

the long-term consequences and be aware<br />

of how the short-term gains can create a<br />

lasting impact. Information is power and we<br />

are now empowered to help our children<br />

move forward in a healthy manner.

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makes it one of the most secure career paths<br />

for the future – as well as one of the best<br />

remunerated. With a BA (Hons) in Business<br />

Management (Supply Chain and Logistics)<br />

from EU Business <strong>School</strong>, you will gain the<br />

skills and knowledge to take leadership roles<br />

in this fast-growing industry.<br />

Financial operations<br />

Finance has long been a traditional<br />

pathway to a secure and lucrative career:<br />

the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts<br />

a 15% growth in the demand for financial<br />

managers over the next decade. The<br />

field is changing as digital transformation<br />

continues apace, so graduates who can<br />

demonstrate knowledge of the newest<br />

trends and methodologies will be all set for<br />

career success in this highly remunerated<br />

sector. You’ll gain this knowledge at EU,<br />

which offers a Bachelor of Science in<br />

Business Finance and a BA (Hons) in<br />

Business Management (Finance).<br />

“Our experiential approach to learning gives our<br />

students the real-world business skills to excel.”<br />

Entrepreneur<br />

Are you dreaming of your own startup?<br />

Or want to work in the exciting<br />

and constantly changing tech industry?<br />

You’ll need a strong base in business<br />

management to achieve success in<br />

this highly competitive field, as well as<br />

demonstrable soft skills such as agile<br />

thinking and creative problem-solving.<br />

EU’s (Hons) in Business Management<br />

with a pathway in Enterprise is specifically<br />

designed to prepare students to be<br />

future entrepreneurs, with the skills and<br />

knowledge to start their own businesses<br />

or to run departments within larger<br />

companies. Alternatively, you could<br />

choose EU’s Bachelor of Business<br />

Administration which is a comprehensive<br />

degree that develops the business acumen<br />

and entrepreneurial mindset required to<br />

conduct business on a global scale.<br />

Start your success story at EU Business<br />

<strong>School</strong>. You’ll find all our innovative<br />

programmes at www.euruni.edu.<br />


TOM Café - A café with<br />

breathtaking views<br />

Don’t miss the TOM café, located on the<br />

top floor of the Olympic Museum, for its<br />

colorful and sporty-themed décor, and<br />

spectacular terrace with views of Lake<br />

Geneva and the Alps.<br />

TOM Shop – Nothing usual here!<br />

The TOM Shop is the perfect start or<br />

end to your Olympic Museum visit. It<br />

features unique and constantly changing<br />

products, allowing visitors to take home<br />

a piece of the Olympic dream.<br />

Share the<br />

dream with<br />

The Olympic<br />

Museum<br />

Experience great Olympic moments and the world of the Games at<br />

The Olympic Museum. With 3000 m2 of exhibition space, 1500 exhibits,<br />

and 150 screens, the Museum offers an enthralling exhibition and the<br />

ultimate experience. The Museum features sculptures by contemporary<br />

artists and sports installations in the extended and improved Olympic<br />

Park. The permanent exhibition on three levels addresses essential<br />

dimensions of modern Olympism.<br />

Olympic World<br />

The first theme of the permanent<br />

exhibition showcases the expanding<br />

phenomenon of the Olympic world. It<br />

illustrates the simple yet powerful concept<br />

of the Olympic Games in society. Visitors<br />

learn about the Games of antiquity, the<br />

modern Olympic Games, and the birth<br />

of the Games in Olympia. They also<br />

discover Pierre de Coubertin’s vision, the<br />

history of the Olympic Movement, and<br />

the interactive timeline. This part of the<br />

exhibition showcases the torches, host cities’<br />

incredible commitment, their creative<br />

and architectural challenges, the opening<br />

ceremonies, and artistic productions created<br />

for the occasion. In the last Games, four<br />

billion people shared the visionary passion<br />

for sport as participants or spectators.<br />

The Olympic Games<br />

The second floor of The Olympic Museum<br />

is dedicated to the Olympic Games, where<br />

visitors can explore the careers of great<br />




Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to<br />

6 p.m., closed on Mondays (except<br />

bank holidays and special events).<br />

Closed on 24, 25, 31 December,<br />

and 1 January.<br />

The Olympic Museum<br />

Quai d’Ouchy 1<br />

1006 Lausanne, Switzerland<br />

+41 (0)21 621 65 11<br />

info.museum@olympic.org<br />

www.olympics.com/museum<br />

champions and outstanding Olympians,<br />

the evolution of sporting disciplines, and<br />

the Olympic programme for Summer and<br />

Winter Games. This floor also provides an<br />

introduction to the Paralympics and the<br />

Youth Olympic Games.<br />

The Olympic Spirit<br />

The Olympic Spirit is the third part of<br />

the exhibition that explores the aspects<br />

of the Olympic world, including how to<br />

become an Olympic champion, life under<br />

competition conditions, and the feelings<br />

of winning and losing. Visitors can watch<br />

videos of testimonials from champions to<br />

learn about training, pushing oneself to<br />

the limit, joy, drama, comradeship, and the<br />

sporting spirit.<br />

The exhibition presents the Olympic<br />

Village atmosphere through memorabilia<br />

and interactive installations, while fun<br />

exercises let visitors test their agility<br />

and participate in mind games. These<br />

activities are inspired by the daily life of<br />

the champions. The exhibition concludes<br />

with a finale featuring a 180° audio-visual<br />

show that showcases Olympic values and<br />

presents medals as the ultimate symbols of<br />

excellence.<br />

The Olympic Museum, it’s also a<br />

wide range of temporary exhibitions<br />

and special events. Do not miss:<br />

• Free to run 11 May <strong>2023</strong> to March 2024<br />

The Olympic Museum offers the “Free to<br />

Run” multimedia exhibition that showcases<br />

the evolution of marathons and longdistance<br />

running from Athens 1896 to<br />

Paris 2024. The exhibition is presented<br />

through original films and is curated by<br />

Swiss athlete and documentary filmmaker,<br />

Pierre Morath. Visitors can also participate<br />

in events, talks, guided tours, and an online<br />

exhibition on Google Arts & Culture. The<br />

exhibition is available in French, English,<br />

and German.<br />

• 30th anniversary The Olympic Museum<br />

24 June <strong>2023</strong><br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 53<br />



(FR/EN/GER)<br />

The Olympic Museum has activities<br />

and visits for families, including a<br />

monthly guided tour of the permanent<br />

exhibition. The tour focuses on<br />

the values of friendship, solidarity,<br />

and respect, which are essential<br />

for creating the greatest Olympic<br />

Games. You will hear fun facts and<br />

inspiring athlete stories that illustrate<br />

these values. The tour’s theme is<br />

encapsulated in the Olympic motto,<br />

“Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter”.<br />

Date: The first Sunday of every month:<br />

Time & Language:<br />

French: From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.<br />

German: From 11.30 to 12.30 pm<br />

English: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.<br />

Age: 9 and above<br />

Price: CHF 5 per participant (in<br />

addition to a museum entry ticket)<br />

Reservation mandatory: Visit website<br />

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, The<br />

Olympic Museum is organising a special<br />

event dedicated to the public on June 24th<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. Stay tuned for the programme, which<br />

will be announced soon!


@Switzerland Tourism / Dominik Baur<br />

Family friendly activities to do<br />

in Switzerland this <strong>Spring</strong><br />

Although considered the perfect<br />

winter spot with its world-class ski<br />

resorts and mountains blanketed in<br />

snow, Switzerland transforms into a <strong>Spring</strong><br />

wonderland once the winter chill eases.<br />

From March, flower meadows bloom,<br />

hiking trails reopen, and cities prepare for<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> visitors, events and festivals. From<br />

horse riding to glaciers, we’ve rounded up<br />

some of the best family friendly activities to<br />

enjoy this <strong>Spring</strong> in Switzerland.<br />

Horseback riding in the Jura<br />

For horse riders of any level of experience,<br />

the Jura will feel like paradise. Horseback<br />

riding in gentle, hilly landscapes and<br />

expansive natural areas is perfect for all<br />

riders.<br />

On the Jura mountain range, the<br />

Franches-Montagnes region is home to<br />

the horse of the same name, the only<br />

indigenous Swiss breed that lives partly<br />

wild. Experience the horses wandering<br />

blissfully across the mountainscape as you<br />

canter along.<br />

@IvoScholz Photography<br />

Adventure on the Stoosbahn<br />

A world record-holding technical innovation<br />

awaits at the heart of Switzerland; the<br />

steepest funicular railway in the world!<br />

Leading from Schwyz up to the car-free<br />

mountain village of Stoos, the journey is<br />

truly an adventure with passengers heading<br />

up to a natural paradise 1,300 metres high.<br />

The Stoosbahn reaches an astonishing<br />

gradient of 110% (47 degrees), a technical<br />

marvel that will delight even the youngest<br />

of guests. However, the most fascinating<br />

part has to be the spherical cabins that<br />

adapt to the gradient perfectly. This<br />



functionality enables passengers to stay<br />

upright at all times.<br />

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans<br />

in Avenches<br />

The Romans left behind a trail of history<br />

in Avenches, Switzerland, and now you can<br />

follow in their footsteps. Near Lake Murten,<br />

ancient monuments can be found in the<br />

idyllic landscape. Around 20,000 people<br />

once lived in Aventicum, today known<br />

as Avenches, when it was the capital of<br />

Roman Helvetia 2,000 years ago.<br />

Discover this time in history by taking<br />

the tour beginning at the amphitheatre.<br />

From there, guests can access the most<br />

exciting sights and excavations, including<br />

the remains of Roman theatres and thermal<br />

baths. The tour gives a better representation<br />

of the former size of the ancient city and<br />

helps guests imagine the lively trade that<br />

used to take place among the stately villas<br />

and temple complexes.<br />

To protect themselves from possible<br />

attackers, the Romans also built a wall that<br />

was 5 kilometres long and up to<br />

seven metres high, with over 73 towers.<br />

Remains of this can still be seen today by<br />

visitors.<br />

Walk the Tree top trail in Neckertal<br />

In May 2018, the first treetop path in<br />

Switzerland opened in Mogelsberg in the<br />

Toggenburg holiday region near St. Gallen.<br />

“Horseback riding in gentle, hilly landscapes and<br />

expansive natural areas is perfect for all riders.”<br />

The 500-metre path softly winds from the<br />

forest floor into the treetops, offering a<br />

unique nature experience where visitors are<br />

at eye level with flora and fauna. The track<br />

is also disabled-accessible.<br />

Discover the trees, listen to the sounds<br />

of the forest and observe the woodland<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 55<br />

animals at 40 stops along the path. A<br />

highlight is the viewing platform extending<br />

over 50 metres above the ground. From<br />

here, enjoy an extensive view of<br />

the entire Neckertal valley as far<br />

as Toggenburger, Churfirsten<br />

and Appenzellerland.<br />

@ Switzerland Tourism / Daniel Loosli @Switzerland Tourism / Lorenz Richard


Visit Mendrisiotto and Basso<br />

Ceresio and discover a destination<br />

packed with personality<br />

Explore the “Region to be<br />

discovered”, as the locals or<br />

“Momò” like to call it and find<br />

yourself in an unexpected corner of<br />

southern Switzerland, which holds a closely<br />

guarded treasure trove of secrets waiting to<br />

be uncovered.<br />

With seven significant attractions and<br />

numerous other activities available,<br />

Mendrisiotto and Basso Ceresi will give you<br />

thrills that transform your holiday into an<br />

exciting adventure, creating memories you<br />

will forever cherish.<br />

Monte San Giorgio<br />

Monte San Giorgio is a<br />

mountain offering stunning<br />

views you can explore through<br />

several well-laid hiking trails,<br />

many served by small, local<br />

villages that provide excellent<br />

starting points for delightful<br />

outings.<br />

Monte San Giorgio emerges<br />

from the waters of the Tethys<br />

Ocean lagoon, explaining its<br />

imposing shape reminiscent of the<br />

pyramids. Under its vibrant green<br />

mantle, precious treasures are hidden<br />

including fossils of marine reptiles, fish, and<br />

rare terrestrial species, some dating back as<br />

far as 200 million years ago.<br />

This mountain gained even more<br />

importance after being recognized as a<br />

UNESCO world heritage site in 2003.<br />

Tremona-Castello Archaeological Park<br />

The village of Tremona is located on the<br />

southern slope of Monte San Giorgio.<br />

On the hill behind it, covered by woods,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 56<br />

archaeologists have unearthed an entire<br />

medieval village.<br />

Visiting Tremona-Castello Archaeological<br />

Park offers a real glimpse into how people<br />

lived when the medieval village was<br />

inhabited. Archaeological excavations<br />

taking place annually since 2000 have<br />

unearthed thousands of artefacts of daily<br />

life that you can now explore.<br />

Lake Ceresio<br />

Come and discover the Lake of Wonders.<br />

Culture, tradition, and fun look over vivid<br />

blue waters surrounded by the embrace<br />

of green mountains. Take a boat ride<br />

to see a different view of the city and<br />

discover some delightful hidden and<br />

unexpected corners.<br />

Close by, you can also explore<br />

Bissone, home of famous<br />

architect Francesco Borromini.<br />

Visit the charming Riva San<br />

Vitale baptistery, have fun at the<br />

beaches, and even windsurf along<br />

the water. Or, if you love fishing,<br />

drop your hook, and find out what<br />

Ceresio has to offer.<br />

Monte Generoso<br />

Want to take a ride on the oldest train<br />

still operating in Switzerland? Here’s your


chance: the panoramic coaches are heading<br />

to Monte Generoso!<br />

Take the opportunity to step back in time<br />

to the Belle Époque, on-board an 1890<br />

steam train and other vintage trains. In<br />

addition, there is the mythical rack railway,<br />

which for 130 years has taken visitors to<br />

the summit at 1704 meters, travelling in<br />

the mountain setting of Monte Generoso’s<br />

natural park. Expect the most spectacular<br />

views!<br />

Bear’s cave<br />

Imagine a Monte Generoso inhabited by<br />

cave bears. This was the reality roughly<br />

between fifty and thirty thousand years<br />

ago. These bears are now extinct, but their<br />

remains were found in the Bear Cave on<br />

the Italian side of the mountain, just a few<br />

hundred meters above the summit. Ready<br />

to start exploring?<br />

Nevere<br />

How did ancient people preserve fresh milk<br />

when there were no refrigerators? In unique<br />

stone cooling structures called Nevere. Lace<br />

up your hiking boots and enjoy a pleasant<br />

trip that will reveal the precursor to the<br />

modern fridge.<br />

In Switzerland, such a high concentration<br />

of rock chambers has been discovered only<br />

on Monte Generoso. Perhaps it’s because<br />

water is a commodity in short supply on this<br />

mountain, and in the past, it was not that<br />

easy to preserve milk. To solve this problem,<br />

shepherds invented the Nevere, which,<br />

during the summer, made it possible to store<br />

milk at a low enough temperature before<br />

being made into butter. Come and see for<br />

yourself!<br />

The Cement Trail<br />

If you’re passionate about industrial<br />

archaeology, then this is just what you are<br />

looking for. In the heart of Parco delle Gole<br />

della Breggia, you’ll find a disused cement<br />

factory with renovated buildings that allow<br />

enthusiasts to visit them.<br />

Amid scenery full of spectacular<br />

contrasts, get deep down into the nitty<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 57<br />

gritty of things on the Cement trail: a<br />

fascinating itinerary that starts from the<br />

underground quarries and crosses the<br />

enormous industrial facilities where you can<br />

discover the process of manufacture and<br />

transformation of the rock.<br />

Wine and Gastronomy<br />

If you’re visiting the region, don’t miss<br />

out on tasting the local food specialities.<br />

You can try soft cheese and the Slow Food<br />

Presidium Muggio Valley Zincarlin or spoil<br />

yourself with traditional cold cuts and<br />

scrumptious pastries. Or, if you’d like to go<br />

on a guided farm tour, your children will<br />

love spending some time up close with the<br />

animals!<br />

Book your Holiday – Where to sleep!<br />

Ready to take a holiday in Mendrisiotto?<br />

The next step is choosing where to stay!<br />

Find the perfect match for your trip<br />

with the hotel finder here: https://www.<br />



The moral purpose,<br />

not the material product<br />

Focusing on the values, not the value<br />




“There can be no price put on the moral purpose of a school who provides<br />

for families a real and true community for the duration of their stay in their<br />

adopted country – this is something money simply cannot buy.”<br />

In my quarter of a century in education,<br />

I have come to understand much of<br />

what occurs in the space that is<br />

learning is temporary; it ebbs, and it flows.<br />

Be it the latest technological<br />

advancement, the recently improved<br />

curriculum initiative, the newest dazzling<br />

teacher training tool, education is a<br />

flooded, chaotic market, full of (mostly)<br />

well-meaning entrepreneurs and aficionados<br />

(many of whom left the classroom eons<br />

ago) in pursuit of their particular dream.<br />

This newfound marketplace combined with<br />

the explosion of international education<br />

choices for families has, without doubt, seen<br />

a weakening of substance, of strength, and<br />

of scrutiny across the scope and sequences<br />

that drive effective curriculum delivery<br />

and, ultimately, outcomes in international<br />

schools.<br />

Of late I have come to sense a danger in<br />

this dilution of learning, the very purpose<br />

of education, and the perilous precipice<br />

upon which it now sits. New international<br />

schools are rising almost daily, not always<br />

based on demand, but based on the<br />

insatiable appetite our globalised world has<br />

for a “private” education.<br />

I caution parents to consider, the veritable<br />

differences in private education across the<br />

international education marketplace and<br />

to do this, I ask them to consider, as they<br />

look for a place for the continuation of their<br />

child’s learning, to scrutinise the values that<br />

underpin their preferred <strong>School</strong>.<br />

For time immemorial, school’s have<br />

been the bastion of secular society; the<br />

gathering place where families come<br />

in times of triumph and of tribulation.<br />

This is particularly true in international<br />

education. There can be no price put on<br />

the moral purpose of a school who provides<br />

for families a real and true community for<br />

the duration of their stay in their adopted<br />

country – this is something money simply<br />

cannot buy.<br />

It is important that parents understand<br />

that the danger in commodifying education,<br />

means we are deducing that we can<br />

somehow put a price on the development of<br />

a person.<br />

This is why I encourage all of our<br />

prospective families to read our values<br />

statement, our family handbook, and to<br />

discern for themselves if ours is a school<br />

that they want to partner with.<br />

And it is a partnership.<br />

When parents tour a prospective school,<br />

they should ask to meet with the Head, and<br />

listen to them speak to the culture, to the<br />

community, and to the curriculum of the<br />

school. A good Head will be able to link<br />

these to an innate understanding of their<br />

school’s uniqueness and their ability to<br />

fundamentally shape their child.<br />

When parents consider if the school is<br />

the best one for their children, they<br />

should ask themselves if they agree with<br />

the mission of the school, if they share<br />

the values that underpin it, and if they<br />

believe that their child will thrive in this<br />

environment.<br />

When parents compare two schools<br />

against each other, they should not be<br />

too quick to look at the landscape over<br />

the learning, the location over the lesson<br />

structures, or the technology over the<br />

quality of the teaching.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s should not be beguiled by the<br />

bells and the whistles – instead they should<br />

search for the substance and the soul of the<br />

school. The best way to do this is to observe<br />

the students, watch their behaviours, their<br />

manner, their engagement with each other.<br />

Talk to the teacher’s about why they love<br />

their work, and the staff about what makes<br />

the school special.<br />

It is unequivocal, next to home<br />

ownership, private education will be the<br />

single most expensive investment a family<br />

makes in their lifetime. However, parents<br />

can often mistake this investment as the<br />

purchasing of a product, an outcome<br />

so defined by the polished advertising<br />

pamphlet that promises something that can<br />

seemingly be purchased, be it an outcome,<br />

a place at a prestigious university, or even a<br />

powerful social network.<br />

Ask any good educator at a private school<br />

of substance and they will tell you, what you<br />

are in fact purchasing is the development<br />

of a good and respectful person, who will<br />

achieve their full potential only if they have<br />

instilled in them the values needed to live a<br />

deep and meaningful life.<br />

And what price can we ever put on that?<br />

Each school is unique in and of itself, the<br />

question parents must begin to ask is; does<br />

this school, and the values that it lives by,<br />

align with our values and the life we dream<br />

of for our children.<br />

Once you have answered this question<br />

you will realise, a great international<br />

education, at a great international school, is<br />

in fact, priceless.<br />

The Inter-Community <strong>School</strong> Zürich is<br />

a private, independent, international,<br />

co-educational day school and offers a<br />

comprehensive educational programme in<br />

English for children from ages of 3 to 18.<br />

To find out more visit www.icsz.ch<br />


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 60<br />

“Time is much<br />

more than<br />

organising it,<br />

you have to<br />

live it.”

TIME<br />

- will you dispel my dreams?<br />


Nowadays, we run after time; it is<br />

fashionable to say, “Oh my God,<br />

I have so much to do and so little<br />

time!” How true is it that you have so much<br />

to do? And so little time? What are your<br />

priorities? And why?<br />

Stop, breathe, and think about what is<br />

essential for you. There are many different<br />

ways we can look at it.<br />

What is important to you today might<br />

be less important tomorrow. That’s why<br />

continuously updating your priorities for<br />

The Present, The Today, and The Now is<br />

essential.<br />

Let’s look at time from a different<br />

perspective, time as a commodity - an<br />

abstract commodity. Time is given to you<br />

for free, but you can’t cash it in, sell it, or<br />

trade it. Everything in life takes time; sleep,<br />

eat, play, work, and even when you rest<br />

or think, you are using your time. Time is<br />

precious and quite tricky. So, let me ask you,<br />

what is time for you? How do you use your<br />

time? So many questions and so little time!<br />

Many books have been written about<br />

Time, from “80/20 principle” to “Eat the<br />

Frog,” and “7 habits of highly effective<br />

people”. I have read a couple of these<br />

books, but I am still working towards<br />

my Ph.D. on “How to waste time best”.<br />

Perhaps I have seen some of you in class?!<br />

Time is much more than organising it, you<br />

have to live it.<br />

Let’s analyse the arrival of the trailing<br />

spouse in a new country. Think back to<br />

when you decided to move to this beautiful<br />

land: How long did this decision take<br />

you? You probably spent hours, days,<br />

and months deciding when to go, where<br />

to live, and which school the kids should<br />

attend. But after arriving, did you take the<br />

time to adapt? Or did you jump into new<br />

endeavours without considering time?<br />

Taking the time to adjust is one of the<br />

most important tasks in moving countries<br />

and one that most of us overlook.<br />

However, spending as much time as<br />

you need to find the answers to your many<br />

questions is worth it. What about your kids?<br />

Did they have time to adjust to their new<br />

home, new friends, and new surroundings?<br />

Or did you send them to school and hope<br />

they would adapt swiftly?<br />

When your kids tell you they miss their<br />

friends “back home”, do you say, “Oh<br />

darling, it’s OK to miss your friends; you<br />

will make more friends here”. Did you<br />

consider asking them how they feel and<br />

allowing them the time to process these<br />

feelings? And to let them tell you, in their<br />

language, and their time, how they are<br />

managing these changes.<br />

When you moved, did you take the time<br />

to stop and think about your new life or<br />

did you keep playing the same game you<br />

played back home? Moving is a great time<br />

to think about what you want to do, rather<br />

than what others think you want to, or even<br />

should, do. Start with yourself and apply<br />

the same rule to your little ones.<br />

Also, consider taking the time to be in<br />

contact with your family and friends whom<br />

you left behind. Remember that they are<br />

your allies. Some of them know you from<br />

the inside out, so your time is as valuable as<br />

they are.<br />

Adjusting to your new city takes time, and<br />

finding real friends takes much longer.<br />

My experience finding friends was a bit<br />

harsh. When I arrived in Zurich, I was<br />

desperate to find friends, connect with<br />

people, and have the social life I had “back<br />

home”. Still, I didn’t take the time to get to<br />

know these so-called friends; I rushed into<br />

friendship mode only to be disappointed<br />

after a couple of months. Looking back<br />

today, I know what I did wrong…I did not<br />

take the time to let things develop naturally.<br />

I wish that in those days I had had some<br />

guidance. Somebody to talk to openheartedly<br />

– be able to let myself be and feel<br />

vulnerable without fear of sounding weak.<br />

Somebody who had the time to listen to me<br />

and tell me that it is OK to feel this way,<br />

that everything will fall into place with time<br />

and reflection.<br />

Fast forward to the present and I can<br />

laugh because those feelings are long gone<br />

and I feel great in this beautiful city - and<br />

as you might guess, I found wonderful new<br />

friends.<br />

Going back to my first question: what is<br />

time? Time is the core of everything you do<br />

and the way you use it, it’s totally up to you.<br />

Reaching out to somebody who will guide<br />

you and walk next to you will save you time,<br />

whilst decluttering your mind.<br />

Take the time to look for that person - a<br />

coach - who will help you set your goals,<br />

move forward to where you want to be, and<br />

where you will find your true happiness,<br />

fulfilment, and sense of achievement. Your<br />

coach will help you make time your best<br />

friend, not your fake friend.<br />

So, if you are new in the city, take<br />

the time to acclimatise. Be open to new<br />

experiences and feelings. Be prepared and<br />

patient - this process takes time.<br />

How many times will you get lost in the<br />

same intersection? Instead of turning right,<br />

you turn left, but with time you will get it<br />

right! Trust me, I know!<br />

“ Of time, I ask more time,<br />

And Time, time giveth me;<br />

Yet time himself doth say,<br />

My dreams dispelled shall be”<br />

Jorge Isaacs, Book Maria<br />

written between 1864 and 1867<br />


How can I tell if my<br />

teen is struggling with<br />

their mental health?<br />


There are so many things that our<br />

young people have on their mind<br />

these days; reasons why they might<br />

struggle with their mental health. But<br />

perhaps one of biggest stressors adolescents<br />

face is adolescence itself! Can you<br />

remember the rollercoaster of yours?<br />

So much is going on for our young people<br />

from a developmental point of view during<br />

these formative years.<br />

Of course, there are obvious changes<br />

in terms of physical development, the<br />

main one being the process of puberty<br />

- the development of secondary sex<br />

characteristics, starting periods for girls,<br />

growth spurts, changes in height, weight,<br />

and appearance. All of these impacting<br />

their body image and self-esteem.<br />

And then psychological and cognitive<br />

development - the development of abstract<br />

thinking and advanced reasoning; exploring<br />

and figuring things out for themselves.<br />

The development of knowledge, skills, and<br />

problem solving, which helps the young<br />

person understand the world around them<br />

and make sense of where they fit in.<br />

And of course, social development - the<br />

development of their personal identity<br />

and autonomy. Exploring and becoming<br />

comfortable with their sexuality. Forming<br />

important friendships and relationships<br />

and becoming independent from the family<br />

unit. And as part of this, experiencing<br />

intimacy and exploring sexual relationships<br />

for the first time. Recognition in their<br />

peer group becomes important – what<br />

others think about them. And part of their<br />

social development is also based around<br />

achievement, particularly educational<br />

achievement.<br />

The good news is that most young people<br />

get through these changes and master any<br />

challenges without too many hitches. But<br />

if a young person is struggling with their<br />

mental health during this important time,<br />

then their development can be affected.<br />

This means that it is important to pick up<br />

the signs that they may be struggling and<br />

intervene early.<br />

But reading teenagers is not always easy.<br />

It can be so hard trying to determine what<br />

is normal behaviour for an adolescent and<br />

when we should be worried.<br />

To some extent, the unpredictable<br />

and sometimes erratic behaviour we<br />

see in young people may be explained<br />

by important changes going on in the<br />

adolescent brain.<br />

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain<br />

that controls conscious decision making and<br />

impulse control. It allows us to empathise,<br />

make rational decisions and defer needs.<br />

But this region does not fully mature until<br />

we are in our mid-20s. This can explain<br />

why we sometimes see irrational decision<br />

making and impulsivity in adolescents.<br />

In addition, the limbic system (the<br />

brain’s reward system) is highly active in<br />

adolescents. This means that they seek<br />

immediate gratification and pleasure<br />

satisfaction. Then, there is a lot of<br />

testosterone flying around - in both males<br />

and females. This blocks the amygdala<br />

– the region of the brain that helps us to<br />

avoid danger. This means again, we can<br />

see there is a neurobiological basis for<br />

risk-taking behaviour: young people have<br />

difficulty assessing the consequences of their<br />


“Reading teenagers is not always easy. It can be so hard trying to determine what is<br />

normal behaviour for an adolescent and when we should be worried.”<br />

behaviour and believe they are invincible.<br />

So, with all these developmental brain<br />

changes, perhaps it could be argued<br />

the ‘unreasonable’ behaviour we may<br />

sometimes see in our young people cannot<br />

be helped!<br />

But when does this ‘normal’ adolescent<br />

behaviour become abnormal? When<br />

should we worry?<br />

It can be hard for adults to recognise<br />

when a young person needs support with<br />

their mental health. It can also be difficult<br />

for young people to speak up about the<br />

challenges they are facing. This is why it is<br />

important for anyone who spends time with<br />

adolescents to be on the lookout for some<br />

key symptoms and signs that may indicate<br />

they are struggling.<br />

Just a note here: ‘signs’ in medical<br />

language are the things that we notice in<br />

other people, whereas symptoms are related<br />

to feelings a person has inside that we will<br />

not necessarily know about unless they<br />

choose to share these with us, or we ask<br />

them.<br />

If we start with physical symptoms and<br />

signs to be alert to. If a young person is<br />

struggling with their mental health, their<br />

sleep can become affected. They may have<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2023</strong> | 63<br />

trouble getting off to sleep, or perhaps wake<br />

up in the night and not be able to get back<br />

to sleep again. This can have the knock-on<br />

effect of making them feel tired the next<br />

day. They may complain about a loss of<br />

appetite, not seem interested in food, or<br />

may be showing unusual eating behaviours<br />

- starving themselves, over-eating, or<br />

perhaps making themselves sick. They may<br />

experience weight loss, or weight gain, as a<br />

result.<br />

They may also experience changes in<br />

their feelings which they share with us.<br />

Feeling sad all the time; feeling hopeless<br />

– struggling to see the positives in life, or

“There are also some important ‘red flags’ to be aware<br />

of: symptoms and signs that could indicate something<br />

serious is happening and that a young person needs<br />

specialist help from a healthcare professional.”<br />

feeling worthless, even wishing they did<br />

not exist. Anxiety, irritability, or anger may<br />

be exhibited. Or a young person may feel<br />

numb – devoid of feelings altogether. In<br />

addition, we may notice mood swings with<br />

extreme highs, or extreme lows, of mood.<br />

We should all encourage the young people<br />

in our life to talk about their feelings with<br />

us.<br />

Signs that their thinking (their cognition)<br />

is impacted include poor concentration and<br />

attention span. Perhaps these changes are<br />

things that are more likely to be noticed in<br />

school.<br />

And the way a young person is thinking,<br />

and feeling may impact their behaviour.<br />

If a teen starts getting into arguments or<br />

fights, perhaps getting into trouble with<br />

the authorities, then this can be another<br />

indication that there is something else going<br />

on. If a studious pupil starts to drop off in<br />

terms of their performance at school, or<br />

even starts truanting, then again, these are<br />

behaviours that should prompt us to reach<br />

out.<br />

There are also some important ‘red<br />

flags’ to be aware of: symptoms and signs<br />

that could indicate something serious<br />

is happening and that a young person<br />

needs specialist help from a healthcare<br />

professional. These include isolation and<br />

social withdrawal, severe anxiety that starts<br />

to impact the young person’s ability to<br />

function normally, persistent low mood or<br />

unhappiness, weight loss, restrictive eating,<br />

extreme aggression, substance misuse, selfharm<br />

or suicidal thoughts, distress about<br />

hearing or seeing things others do not hear<br />

or see, or expressing unusual or abnormal<br />

beliefs others do not share.<br />

You know your child best. If you are<br />

worried or concerned, our message is to<br />

trust your instincts. Be on the lookout for<br />

changes and reach out and talk to them to<br />

explore things further. Remember, when a<br />

young person is struggling with their mental<br />

health, they often find it hard to ask for<br />

help. We can take the first step here, and<br />

work together with them to get them the<br />

help they might need.<br />

HealthFirst offers physical and mental<br />

health training and education to schools,<br />

companies, and individuals across<br />

Switzerland. Visit www.healthfirst.ch to<br />

find out more.<br />


How to Ensure Your Child’s<br />

Success in the Classroom:<br />

Understanding Rosenshine’s<br />

Principles of Instruction<br />

Matthew Williams, Head of the Geneva English <strong>School</strong> (GES) - an all-through school for 3-18 year olds<br />

that teaches the English curriculum, including GCSEs and A Levels.<br />

Before becoming<br />

the Headteacher<br />

of GES and<br />

moving to this glorious<br />

part of Switzerland, I spent<br />

20 years working in challenging, inner-<br />

London state schools. With the constant<br />

scrutiny of Ofsted (the UK government<br />

schools inspectorate) and exam league<br />

tables, it was a high pressure but rigorous<br />

system. I learned very early in my career<br />

that if you teach well planned engaging<br />

lessons which are designed for the students<br />

sitting in front of you, they will thrive.<br />

This simple but perhaps obvious realisation<br />

has served me well as a teacher, a senior<br />

leader and now as a Headteacher. An<br />

unapologetic focus on classroom practice<br />

and a commitment to improve teaching<br />

and learning means that all students will<br />

make progress and ultimately achieve<br />

their full potential in school. At both GES<br />

and my previous schools, the academic<br />

outcomes for my pupils have been excellent:<br />

via this article, I want to share with you<br />

a piece of research that has acted as a<br />

powerful lever for developing classroom<br />

practice.<br />

The UK education system is heavily<br />

based on teacher instruction: the<br />

teacher is the subject expert and shares<br />

their knowledge with the students in<br />

the classroom. Students then take this<br />

knowledge and use it in different ways,<br />

ultimately being tested on what they know<br />

in different levels of assessment - either<br />

small tests in the classroom or more<br />

formal exams at age16 and 18. Teachers,<br />

therefore, need to know the best ways to<br />

impart their knowledge and ensure that the<br />

students understand and can apply what<br />

they have learned. One of the best pieces<br />

of research that I have used as a backbone<br />

to developing and improving classroom<br />

practice are Rosenshine’s Principles of<br />

Instruction: a ten point evidence-based<br />

teaching strategy that has been found to be<br />

effective in improving student learning.<br />

Barak Rosenshine, an American<br />

educational researcher, first outlined<br />

these principles in the 1990s and they are<br />

based on the results of numerous studies<br />

on effective teaching practices. These<br />

10 principles are intended to provide<br />

a roadmap for teachers to follow in<br />

order to create a more effective learning<br />

environment for their students.<br />

As a teacher and leader, I have found<br />

these principles invaluable at improving<br />

the quality of my teaching and that of<br />

others. When these principles are shared<br />

with parents, it allows a powerful dialogue<br />

to take place between home and school<br />

and gives parents an insight into how our<br />

teachers teach and how our children learn.<br />

The 10 principles of instruction are:<br />

1Begin a lesson with a review of<br />

previous learning: Before starting<br />

a new lesson, teachers should take a few<br />

minutes to review the material from the<br />

previous lesson. This will help students<br />

to recall important information and to<br />

build connections between new and old<br />

knowledge.<br />

2Clearly state the learning<br />

objectives: Teachers should clearly<br />

state the learning objectives for each<br />

lesson, so that students know what they are<br />

expected to learn. This will help students to<br />

stay focused and motivated throughout the<br />

lesson.<br />

3Model the thinking process:<br />

Teachers should model the thinking<br />

process involved in solving problems<br />

or answering questions. For example, by<br />

‘live writing’ as the class goes through<br />

the cognitive steps to answer a<br />

problem in History or modelling their<br />


thought process and working steps to<br />

answer a question in Maths. This will<br />

help students to understand the process<br />

involved in writing an essay or solving a<br />

problem and to develop their own thinking<br />

process.<br />

4Guided practice: After modelling<br />

the thinking process, teachers should<br />

provide students with modelled practice<br />

(questions getting harder or examples<br />

of work that students can critique). This<br />

will allow students to apply what they<br />

have learned to new situations, under the<br />

guidance of the teacher.<br />

5Independent practice: After guided<br />

practice, students should be given the<br />

opportunity to work independently. This<br />

will help to reinforce the learning that<br />

has taken place and to develop student<br />

confidence and autonomy.<br />

6Feedback: Teachers should provide<br />

students with frequent and meaningful<br />

feedback on their work. This will help<br />

students to understand what they are doing<br />

well and what they need to improve as well<br />

as providing them with the information they<br />

need to make progress.<br />

7Cooperative learning: Teachers<br />

should encourage students to work<br />

together in small groups. This will help<br />

students to develop their interpersonal skills<br />

and to learn from each other.<br />

8Gradual release of responsibility:<br />

Teachers should gradually release<br />

responsibility to students, so that they<br />

become increasingly autonomous and selfdirected<br />

in their learning.<br />

9Summarise and review: At the<br />

end of each lesson, teachers should<br />

summarise what has been learned and<br />

review the learning objectives. This will<br />

help students to retain what they have<br />

learned and to understand the main points<br />

of the lesson.<br />

Homework: Teachers should<br />

10 assign homework that is relevant<br />

and meaningful. This will help students to<br />

reinforce their learning and to develop their<br />

skills and knowledge.<br />

By following these principles, teachers<br />

can create a more effective learning<br />

environment, therefore improving student<br />

achievement. The principles are flexible and<br />

can be adapted to suit the needs of different<br />

students, subjects, and learning situations.<br />

As a school leader, it is important to<br />

give staff time to practise different aspects<br />

of these principles. Well planned training<br />

sessions, time in the week to plan lessons<br />

and in-classroom coaching allow teachers to<br />

learn and then apply their learning in the<br />

classroom. This ultimately leads to better<br />

lessons, deeper student understanding and<br />

excellent academic outcomes. Whilst our<br />

(British) international schools don’t have<br />

league tables and Ofsted to worry about,<br />

giving students both excellent lessons and a<br />

firm academic foundation is something that<br />

all educationalists should be committed to.<br />


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