Frequently asked questions

Some questions regularly come up when we talk to parents interested in our school. Please find the answers to these questions below. For any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail or phone to arrange a consultation. We are looking forward to talking to you.

A bilingual education provides an exceptionally strong pathway for internationally mobile families and parents looking to ‘tune in’ to the rich culture of the local community. Nowadays it is empirically proven that bilingual students match or surpass the abilities of their monolingual counterparts. Since the turn of the century this form of education has grown tenfold, which is linked to the successes of student achievement. It’s hardly surprising that bilingual education is seen as the only way to educate children in the 21st century. (Garcia 2011)

At Terra Nova a consistent approach to immersive education is embedded in our routine operation of a more individually orientated learning environment. In pre-kindergarten, German and English coexist naturally. In kindergarten and primary, our instruction is split evenly into half German and half English weeks with respective native-speaker class teachers. These class teachers working together as a team is paramount to the successful delivery of our curriculum. All subjects are taught progressively in a balanced way by both teachers through both languages.

Terra Nova maintains a warm and open relationship with all stakeholders. We value regular interactions and exchange of information between parents, teachers and the school management. Respect, cooperation, trust and goodwill distinguish our school community.

We are a small school by design with a strong commitment to the individual. We cap our class sizes, invest in support teachers, embed additional language hours in the second language into the timetable alongside homework support to create a soft landing for each and every new student. It goes without saying that we like to have fun along the way.

In kindergarten through primary our maths texts are translated so that students have the luxury of following clear instruction led by both class teachers. On a German day students view a German textbook and use an English text on an English day. Much reflection goes into supporting our students to develop connections between the languages.

Classes at Terra Nova Bilingual School are colourful and diverse; our students come from many different nations. In recent years, more and more monolingual families have chosen bilingual education for their children. Around 60 percent of our children speak German as their mother tongue, 20 percent English, and the rest have a different mother tongue. Our students have normal or above-average aptitude. They have good learning habits and strong social skills. The final admission decision is based on the consultation interview, an academic assessment and feedback from the trial week.

Most certainly. Sport is an integral aspect of our curriculum. Our classes have 2–3 sports lessons per week in the sports hall in the immediate vicinity to our school. After school clubs, which are optional, include a variety of sports, such as playball, ballet, yoga and self-defence.

Students also enjoy an annual week-long ski camp.

Weekly music and art lessons are embedded within the curriculum throughout Terra Nova. In years 1 to 3 theatre and from year 4 Media and ICT are added to the timetable. French begins from year 5 in the Canton of Zurich.

As an international bilingual school following the local Swiss national curriculum (Lehrplan 21) and – for English as a subject – the Cambridge Curriculums, our teachers are qualified and experienced professionals. Our teaching staff are drawn from Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, America, South Africa and Canada. Aside from their experience and qualifications, one of the most important attributes we look for in our teachers is a sense of care, commitment and willingness to reflect on their teaching practice.