A Multilingual Education

At SISQ, we promote multilingualism, cultural awareness and aim to prepare our students for an increasingly globalised world. As a Swiss international school, our main language of instruction is English, but the French language is an integral element of the overall curriculum, in addition to supporting the language development of German native speakers. We also recognise that for some students English will be a second language (ESL), and will as such ensure language support and specialist provision is provided to help children through the curriculum and enable them to actively participate in the school community. Children’s mother tongue will also be acknowledged and supported, ensuring that our students have a strong identity whilst becoming multilingual and develop a deep understanding of what it means to be global citizens. As a Candidate School for all three International Baccalaureate Programmes, a focus on developing strong language and communication skills is a natural integration into the overall IB curriculum we aim to deliver at SISQ. 

Advantages of a multilingual education
Research has shown that children who are exposed to two or more languages:

• Achieve better scores in cognitive tests
• Have better focus and attention
• Have a more active prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that performs our highest thinking skills)
• Have stronger communication and social skills
• Are more able to understand others’ perspective

Our French Language Specialists 
French teachers at SISQ are all native French speakers, all of them bilingual or multilingual. We are lucky to have some great language specialists in our midst, with many years of experience teaching French both as an additional language and as a mother tongue.

Since many other teachers, learning assistants, administrators and members of the leadership team are also French speakers, children will be able to hear French being spoken in the school throughout the day, offering a much more immersive environment than is usually found in English-speaking international schools.


In the two first years of the Early Years Programme (Pre-KG and KG1), students benefit from an immersion model as there is a native French-speaking Learning Assistant in each class. Children are able to hear and speak French throughout the day as they learn to differentiate each language. This model makes the most of young children’s brains to be able to establish numerous connections and their incredible, natural ability to acquire new languages.

In the last year of the Early Years Programme (KG2) and for the rest of the IB Primary Years Programme (Grade 1 to 5), children move to more formal French classes. Unlike most international schools, where children are typically offered one or two classes a week, often at a later age, SISQ ensures that all KG2-G5 children receive daily French classes. 

Children are placed in French groups with students of the same level. This enables each student to be appropriately challenged and to reach their full potential, whether they already speak French at home, only know a few words, or are complete beginners. French lessons will be comprised of the main elements of language learning; learning a language; learning about a language and learning through a language.The culture and traditions related to the French language will be an important part of the curriculum.  

French in the IB Middle Years Programme

In the Senior school and the IB MYP Programme (Grades 6 to 10), students receive four hours of French classes per rotation - as much as is allocated to English. Students are placed in groups according to their language level in order to maximise their learning. 

French in the IB Diploma Programme 

SISQ plans to deliver the IB Diploma Programme from September 2018, and students who join our Grade 11 and 12 will have the opportunity to take French A courses and examinations, allowing them to work towards the prestigious Bilingual International Baccalaureate. 

In addition to studying French in language classes, students will be exposed to French in a variety of settings throughout the day, which will reinforce their skills. For example, music is taught by a native French specialist who will focus on French songs and the musical culture of francophone countries. In addition, some of the clubs and activities on offer will be conducted in French. SISQ is also building a collection of French books for all ages, available in the library and in each individual classroom. 

SISQ

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