Babies learn to discover in a safe and attracting environment. Toddlers cultivate their primary motor coordination, their independence and language. Welcoming and joyful teachers help the children build a strong self-confidence and «joie de vivre».
Children learn to live in a group, respect themselves and others, co-operate. They are introduced to letters, numbers and sounds. They develop a positive attitude towards school.
After school club
Young pupils learn to count, read and write in English and German. They develop a comprehensive knowledge and curiosity in natural science, history and geography. Older children get to check their homework, go into subjects in depth, and gradually prepare for the Gymi.
The Hottingen School pedagogy
Taught with love. Taught with joy.
The first mission of a school is to make children happy. Happy to discover and learn, happy to interact with other children and teachers, happy to come to school.
The teachers take this to heart, and always warmly welcome the children, so they feel safe, and welcome. They make sure the children enjoy their time here, so they develop a positive attitude towards school.
The school uses some of the Montessori methods, but not exclusively. In the Montessori method, learning takes place through the development of senses: seeing, hearing and touching and manipulating (for example: pearls to learn counting). The Montessori pedagogy teaches the children to be autonomous, and to do many things by themselves (eg: dressing up in the morning, setting the table). To encourage and guide this autonomy, the Hottingen School teachers are careful to always be positive, patient and encouraging with the children.
We do not however focus exclusively on the Montessori method, as from experience, some other activities better help develop language skills. To develop their language, children need to both hear others speaking, and to actively participate in conversations. For this reason, the teachers often engage with children, through activities, such as theater, singing, storytelling and debates for the older kids. The small groups make this possible and enable every child to participate.
The school uses the official Zürich curriculum as a basis, and adds on top of it. Various topics are covered every week (eg: space exploration, volcanos) to guide the activities (maths, language, art workshop) and to keep the children curious. The activities prepare children to the exams required to enter secondary school (Gymnasium) in Zürich. This both increases the likelihood for children to eventually join University and decreases the stress due to late preparation.
We believe it is all about finding the right balance, between going out, working on something, talking and singing. We propose a stress-free environment, not by delaying academic learnings, but by teaching them early, progressively and in an engaging way.
Small class sizes. Big developmental steps.
The motivation behind small children groups.
We have a maximum of 10 children for one teacher and one assistant, so all children can have the full attention they need. The classes are divided into sub-groups of similar ages, as to offer activities adapted to the age of children. Small groups also help foster cooperation and friendship among children.
These two simple measures are fundamental to build an environment in which children are happy to come and learn. We are attentive to the children's needs and wishes, and work with them to grow towards older groups, when they are willing and ready to do so.
Native English and native German teachers.
The benefits of native speakers.
For each class, there is a native English speaking teacher and a native German speaking teacher. For lessons, a class of pupils is split into two sub-groups of similar ages. Each teacher then teaches one of the groups (max 10 pupils). Teachers and assistants switch groups on a regular basis, allowing children to spend 50% of their time in each language.
Children learning from native speakers will have a better pronunciation, will use correct sentence structures, and will develop a better understanding of idioms and cultural references. Teachers and assistants always speak using their native language. This creates an immersion effect, and creates the right context for children to use each language equally.
Healthy foods for healthy minds.
Healthy and organic meals.
All our food is organic, and respects dietetic recommendations adapted to children's age. This means a little amount of proteins, preferably white, a moderate amount of carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables, and no sugar nor transformed products.
A balanced diet is essential to children'' well-being. By powering their body with the right fuel, we ensure optimum energy and attention levels throughout the day.
Every day, the parents receive a picture of what was given out for lunch.
To the park, the forest, the lake, the museum...
Going out to the forest or the mountains is very much a Swiss tradition. We do not deviate from this, as this has also been proven to have a positive impact on children happiness. Children joining the full-day school go out every day, to the park, the forest, the lake or the museum.
We organize at least one weekly excursion for children joining the after-school club. When weather permits, lessons are organized outdoor. There is no better setting than a fire to tell a story or the forest to study the bees and ants.
Excursions are a cornerstone of our teaching strategy to maintain high energy levels and attention; to give perspective to indoor lessons; or to find new learning opportunities.
Head start programs.
The Gymnasium exams are often a source of stress or anxiety, both for the parents and the child. By preparing children from the beginning, we avoid the late stress. The preparation is done around three axes:
- Maturity and confidence
The children are taught to be independent early. They learn to set their own measurable and achievable goals, and become self-motivated. This helps them in becoming more aware of their surrounding, understanding the usefulness of learning and being self-confident.
Pupils get exposed to fundamentals earlier, and have thus more time to be familiar with the concepts being tested during the Gymi exams.
Sitting and focusing on an exam without collapsing under stress is not something that can be taught a week before. It is the result of the development of good habits. A regular exposure to the exercises present in the Gymi transform this exam into a simple administrative formality.
The after-school club ensures the homework from public school is properly done and the pupils keep a strong level in all subjects.
The Hottingen school teaches kids to learn from their mistakes and to improve continuously. By following the above three axes, it ensures pupils are well prepared. Teachers make sure the gymi preparation is done in a progressive and playful way, to avoid unnecessary and counterproductive stress.
Parents are part of the process.
Every evening, you have material to talk to your child about his/her day at school.
Teachers / assistants regularly take pictures of children completing their activities. Those pictures are sent to you automatically so you know what is happening during the day. Furthermore, we keep you updated about the progress of your children in various domains.
Being aware enables you to bond closer to your children, by offering deeper or alternative perspectives to their learnings. This eventually makes the experience even more fun for the children.
You can communicate with us through messenger or email, and we will keep the parents updated about any big changes (eg: a new assistant joins the school, a teacher goes on vacation).
All day education.
From 7:30am to 6pm.
The school opens a 7:30am. The lessons and activities start around 8:30 and last for about 3 hours. In the afternoon, activities start around 13:30 and last another 3 hours. The school closes at 18:00.
The pupils from the after-school club join after their classes at school. When they do not have classes in the afternoon (kindergarten or Wednesday), children join for lunch.
Only closed 5 weeks / year.
Three weeks in Summer, two weeks for Christmas
Except for three weeks in Summer and two weeks for Christmas holidays, the school is open.
When public school is closed, pupils from the after-school club come all day to the Hottingen school. The extra-time is used to go out and spend more time on lessons or homework. Children go for a full day excursion at least once a week.