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Old 21.04.2009, 12:58
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Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hi All,

I am currently faced with the problem of enrolling my toddler for some sort of 'day care' !

Being a beginner in German, I thought I'd put down the German words that are helpful when trying to research childcare and find suitable care for children of pre-school age.

Vorschule - prep - prep-school - preparatory school
Kindergarten - same in German/English - first 1 or 2 years of 'compulsory' schooling, usually below age 6-7.
Pre-Kindergarten - usually one or two years prior to the official 'school entry' age.
Kinderkrippe, Krippe and Kindertagesstätte (Kita), Tagestätte - are all used interchangeably (Thanks Tilia!)...
KinderKrippe - usually a small care centre for children as young as a few months old, and up to preschool or kindergarten level.
Hort - after school / out of school hours care
Tagestätte - kind of like 'community' or 'conference' - a more 'modern' word for a education programme for preschoolers...
Krippe - literally 'crib' - similar to 'creche'
Spielgruppen - literally 'play group' - or play'school', 'nursery'
Tagesmutter - day care lady - 'family' day care
Kinderhort - day-nursery, nursery-school, creche
Kinderhaus - children's 'house' - preschool
Anmelden - enrolment
Anmelden-Formular - enrolment fee structure/policy
Kinder-Betreuung - child-care
Kleinkindergarten - infant-kindergarten, 'creche', 'nursery'

Hope these terms help people with their internet searches!

Also, some handly links:

http://inca.org.uk/switzerland-keywords-mainstream.html
some definitions of swiss terms related to education

http://www.about.ch/education/index.html
http://education.stateuniversity.com...-OVERVIEW.html
basic info about the swiss school system

http://www.euroeducation.net/prof/switzeco.htm
levels and contact information for the essential authorities who control the educational system

http://www.educa.ch/dyn/152280.asp
this one talks about the new initiatives for primary school and early childhood education.

http://www.educa.ch/dyn/152201.asp
and this one gives some helpful information about the way switzerland separates kindergarten and preschool, from child-care...

http://www.edk.ch/dyn/16833.php
This one shows the structure of the school system, compulsory and non-compulsory, and how the cantons vary.



Ideas on how to find a child-care, preschool, kindergarten etc. in your local area:

- on a warm sunny day go down to your local park and introduce yourself to other mums - not only will they know where the childcare centres are, they will probably have an opinion on them!
- if you get a local community newspaper, have a look through the advertisements or the 'community directory' on the back page
- phone one, and ask them if they can suggest others (they usually know who their 'competition is' and if they don't offer what you want, the probably know who does)...
- try the local library noticeboard, also your friendly local librarian probably speaks decent English, and knows the community.
- ask at your Gemeinschaftzentrum (community/neighbourhood 'centre')... put 'GZ' and your locality (Eg. GZ Hottingen, GZ Wipkingen, GZ Reisbach)....they do heaps of fun free and almost-free stuff...

Here's another good website for info if you can handle German ir put it through a translator:
http://www.kidscorner.ch/index.html

And this is really helpful in English
http://www.kihz.ethz.ch/faq/index_EN

NEWLY ADDED

Zurich Canton Education Department
http://www.volksschulamt.zh.ch/

Download information - elementary education / compulsory schooling Zurich
http://www.volksschulamt.zh.ch/.../4...kt__zh_vsa.pdf

Last edited by swisspea; 22.06.2009 at 09:13. Reason: added more references, also where to find...
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Old 21.04.2009, 12:59
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Re: Childcare definitions and resources

And one more I found

http://www.edk.ch/dyn/16833.php

This one has a handy diagram showing how the various cantons differ in their schooling 'structure'...
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Old 21.04.2009, 13:02
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Re: Childcare definitions and resources

Another big tip is to make sure you start looking early if you need a nursery for babies or toddlers. There aren't many places and there are usually biggy waiting lists.

Many places are taking enrolements of children before birth! Sad but true...
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Old 21.04.2009, 13:09
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Re: Childcare definitions and resources

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Another big tip is to make sure you start looking early if you need a nursery for babies or toddlers. There aren't many places and there are usually biggy waiting lists.

Many places are taking enrolements of children before birth! Sad but true...
This is true. One place I enrolled at offered me a place when my son was nearly 2 - that's 2 1/2 years after I sent the application form in

It does feel strange applying for a place when you have another 6 months of pregnancy to go, but you need to.

On the plus side for the OP, once your kid turns 2 or even 3 there seem to be loads of places in the Kinderkrippe, since the kids leave and go to Spielgruppe or Pre-kindergarten. Applying for a Krippe now will work because all the older kids seem to leave in August and they need to fill the places now.

Time to apply for Spielgruppe and pre-kindergarten is Jan-April, starting in August. Don't be fooled into thinking they are cheaper either. Look at all the holidays. We are currently on our Spring break from Spielgruppe - 3 weeks. Getting a sitter for all the holidays will be much more than the additional costs of a Krippe.
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Old 21.04.2009, 13:50
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Re: Childcare definitions and resources

Kinderkrippe, Krippe and Kindertagesstätte (Kita) are all words for the same thing.
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Old 06.09.2009, 17:58
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I found this list of Links concerning Child-Care recently.

Several of the Sites are in German, but with the help of our good friend Google, they give an idea of what is available.

www.kinderkrippen-online.ch – child-care suitable for working parents.
www.kitas.ch – links to Sites in the various regions of Switzerland
www.kinderbetreuung-schweiz.ch/indexE.php Day-care Centres in Switzerland (In English)
www.kinderbetreuung.lilliput.ch – besides day-care pages, this Site also has job seekers, Forum, ads for second-hand things for children etc. (in German)
www.nannyvermittlung.ch (nanny4you.ch) – qualified nannies (in English)
www.childcare.ch – for companies; emergency nannies also provided.
www.tagesschulen.ch

www.esgehtauchso.ch – No commercial offers here. This is a group which brings people together who help each other with child-care. (in German and French)

www.aupair.ch – this Site is really intended for Swiss German speaking girls, to go to the Romandie or Tessin, or to England to improve their language skills. (Site in German)
These three sites give more Info about the rules governing the employment of au pairs,
www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home/themen/arbeit/faq.0020.html#a_0020
www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/142_201/a48.html
www.au-pair-world.co.uk/index.php/visa/switzerland/

www.kihz.ethz.ch/docs/elternbeitragsreglement_EN. This Site gives information about obtaining subsidised child-care for residents of the City of Zürich

www.englishforum.ch/family-matters-health/4873-family-information-new-people-switzerland-2.html#post590618 - Child-care and Schools in Ticino (Tessin)

If anyone comes up with any more, please add them to this Thread.
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Last edited by Longbyt; 09.06.2010 at 20:55. Reason: Added last link for Ticino
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Old 08.09.2009, 17:53
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Having seen another post today asking about Playgroups (Spielgruppen), I had a look at Google again and came up with this Site.

Obviously, the list is not specifically for English speaking children, but since one of the ideas of the child attending a play-group is to help him/her to integrate, there might be some useful stuff here.
Click on the Canton or enter the post-code.

Playgroups in Switzerland.
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Old 08.09.2009, 19:19
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Is there any good au pair agencies in Switzerland? We are moving out here and it is something I need to organise. Our current au pair wants to stay in the UK so I have to start again..

Anna
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Old 08.09.2009, 19:24
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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I found this list of Links concerning Child-Care recently.

Several of the Sites are in German, but with the help of our good friend Google, they give an idea of what is available.

www.kinderkrippen-online.ch – child-care suitable for working parents.
www.kitas.ch – links to Sites in the various regions of Switzerland
www.kinderbetreuung-schweiz.ch/indexE.php Day-care Centres in Switzerland (In English)
www.kinderbetreuung.lilliput.ch – besides day-care pages, this Site also has job seekers, Forum, ads for second-hand things for children etc. (in German)
www.nannyvermittlung.ch (nanny4you.ch) – qualified nannies (in English)
www.childcare.ch – for companies; emergency nannies also provided.
www.tagesschulen.ch

www.esgehtauchso.ch – No commercial offers here. This is a group which brings people together who help each other with child-care. (in German and French)

www.aupair.ch – this Site is really intended for Swiss German speaking girls, to go to the Romandie or Tessin, or to England to improve their language skills. (Site in German)
These three sites give more Info about the rules governing the employment of au pairs,
www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home/themen/arbeit/nicht-eu_efta-angehoerige/faq_-_haeufig_gestellte.0020.html#a_0020
www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/142_201/a48.html
www.au-pair-world.co.uk/index.php/visa/switzerland/

If anyone comes up with any more, please add them to this Thread.
Here is another one: www.topbetreut.ch - Exchange service parents - childminders
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Old 12.09.2009, 11:39
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

If, like me, you think it's nice to keep your kids at home until they go to Kindergarten, think again.

My daughter has just started Kindergarten and is struggling because she hasn't had experience of the Swiss way of doing things. She doesn't speak much German (because she's always played with English-speaking kids), which is a huge problem in a classroom where all instructions etc are given in German. And she has no experience of having to sit down and be silent and listen to teacher, which is also causing trouble.

So if you think you're being a better parent by giving your children your undivided attention, you may not be. It seems that the pre-school care is geared towards getting the kids up to speed with the skills they are expected to have before they enter Swiss schooling in the Kindergarten.
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Old 13.09.2009, 09:39
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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If, like me, you think it's nice to keep your kids at home until they go to Kindergarten, think again.

My daughter has just started Kindergarten and is struggling because she hasn't had experience of the Swiss way of doing things. She doesn't speak much German (because she's always played with English-speaking kids), which is a huge problem in a classroom where all instructions etc are given in German. And she has no experience of having to sit down and be silent and listen to teacher, which is also causing trouble.

So if you think you're being a better parent by giving your children your undivided attention, you may not be. It seems that the pre-school care is geared towards getting the kids up to speed with the skills they are expected to have before they enter Swiss schooling in the Kindergarten.
This is a good point, I had no intention of chucking my son into full time education cold; preferring him to "dip his toes" into a day nursery first, but I disagree with the "experience of doing the Swiss way of things". Classroom environments are classroom environments pretty much everywhere and most operate on the "kids sit down and listen to teacher" method otherwise nothing would get done. It did when I went to my first day at school 106 years ago in the UK and doesn't seem to have changed much.

It is all down to how the teacher deals with getting 20-odd little ones under control while he or she gives them the next instruction. Then the noise can begin again - if I remember rightly...

Regarding the issue with your daughter learning German, isn't she being given some extra tuition?
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Old 13.09.2009, 11:17
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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This is a good point, I had no intention of chucking my son into full time education cold; preferring him to "dip his toes" into a day nursery first, but I disagree with the "experience of doing the Swiss way of things". Classroom environments are classroom environments pretty much everywhere and most operate on the "kids sit down and listen to teacher" method otherwise nothing would get done. It did when I went to my first day at school 106 years ago in the UK and doesn't seem to have changed much.

It is all down to how the teacher deals with getting 20-odd little ones under control while he or she gives them the next instruction. Then the noise can begin again - if I remember rightly...

Regarding the issue with your daughter learning German, isn't she being given some extra tuition?
Apologies for sounding a bit grumpy about 'the Swiss way of doing things', I'd had a tough day.

I think it was the name "Kindergarten" that threw me - I have an image of a Kindy as a place like a nursery, where children simply play and make friends. But in fact, in Switzerland it is part of the school system. I suppose Swiss Kindergarten is a place where kids are brought up to speed and get the skills they need for the full-time school system where they learn to read and write etc.

I agree that in the UK my daughter would also have to behave properly in class, but she would find it easier because she would understand what the teacher was saying to her. She's finding it particularly difficult because she has so many new things to learn at once and I wanted to pass this on to fellow parents who might think it's better for their child to keep them at home full-time. With hindsight, I believe a year of Nursery would have helped our girl enormously with developing the skills she's expected to have and, very importantly, with learning German.

I had been assured by mums whose kids have been through the process that my daughter would quickly pick up German and would be "fine by Xmas". So I wasn't too worried. She's a friendly kid and makes friends easily. However, simply attending Waldspielgruppe with German-speaking kids hasn't given her enough grasp of the language to feel confident in school. She just plain doesn't understand what is being asked of her.

She is getting extra tuition at school in a small group of children whose mother tongue is not German, but because all these kids already speak the language, she's struggling there too. My suggestion that we get her private lessons to top this up has been politely but very definitely refused by the teachers who insist she will learn on her own.

Frankly, I feel I've let my girl down by not preparing her for this and I wanted to pass on my experience to parents of preschoolers who are debating whether to put their children into nursery. If I could turn the clock back a year, I would be chasing the local nursery to get my daughter a place.
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Old 13.09.2009, 11:33
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I think it's great that you brought this theme up and were honest about your experiences.
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Frankly, I feel I've let my girl down by not preparing her for this and I wanted to pass on my experience to parents of preschoolers who are debating whether to put their children into nursery. If I could turn the clock back a year, I would be chasing the local nursery to get my daughter a place.
As your daughter is not shy, I, too, think she'll be fine very quickly. However, your guilty conscience isn't going to help her much, so try to put it behind you. Maybe it was a mistake not sending her to a Playgroup. On the other hand, maybe giving her your time and a good grounding in love and confidence will give her the strength to cope in this, for her, difficult situation.
Be patient with her if she is upset - but remember, this can happen to a Swiss child too and is not necessarily caused by a lack of language or being unaccustomed to the routine. Not all children take to Kindergarten and rules easily. Encourage her to watch what the other children do if she didn't understand the teacher first time. After all, that's what we do in a strange situation.

I hope things improve soon.
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Old 30.09.2009, 22:32
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babysitter

we are looking for an occasional babysitter for our almost 4 and almost 1 year old, we live near the university in zuerich.
please email
thanks jenny
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Old 02.10.2009, 22:42
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babysitter/nanny

we are looking for a babysitter/nanny for 2 almost one-year olds for two days a week, or for 3/4 half days. we are located near the university in zuerich.
if anyone knows someone or might be interested please do contact us asap.
thanks jenny

ps we are also looking for the occasional english speaking evening babysitter for an almost 4 and the almost 1 year old.
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Old 03.10.2009, 17:42
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Hi there,
you might have more luck with this if it were in the Jobs Offered section.
Hope you find someone to help you.
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Old 13.10.2009, 15:48
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Thank you for the links. However, I have yet to find something for children transferring over from the U.S. I really don't want privated school to be the only option, but I have heard that the language barrier would be extremely difficult.
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Old 13.10.2009, 17:34
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

I've replied to gigimari's post on the same subject here.

It might make more sense if we all write in the same place.
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Old 23.02.2010, 21:01
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

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Hi All,


Being a beginner in German, I thought I'd put down the German words that are helpful when trying to research childcare and find suitable care for children of pre-school age.
Thanks swisspea for such a useful post and lot of great websites.
Just wondered if anyone knows the equivalent terms in French?
Or can someone recommend the equivalent weblinks for pre-school children in Lausanne/Vaud??
It's taken me a while to work out that I should probably be looking for a 'jardin d'enfant' or a 'garderie' for my 3 year old. We will be moving to Lausanne in a couple of months times. But as to how to go about choosing one, how to apply, or how to get onto a waiting list, or even finding out what activities these places do, etc., I am not having much luck!
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Old 05.03.2010, 14:09
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Re: Childcare and Schooling in Switzerland

Thought I could help out on the equivalents for the french-speaking cantons:

crèche - early child care, nursery, typically from age 4 months to start of school (4 years)
state-run crèches – costs often linked to income level; availability depends often on where you live, your parental status (e.g. single or two parents), and whether one or both parents work; hours tend to be fixed and yearly closings (vacation periods) substantial; the city often centrally organises the application process; not all towns/communes have creches, especially smaller ones
private crèches – often have greater flexibilities on hours and less vacation periods; possibilities for alternative languages or bilingual; costs are same for all, based on the attendance, full or partial days/days per week.
garderie – group day care for children of all ages
jardin d'enfants - typically for young children, ie. toddlers, although some use it interchangeably with crèche; schools (private) that start at age 3 often call the class jardin d'enfants
maman du jour – mother, who along with her own child(ren), watches other children during the day; some are centrally coordinated by the city/commune
UAPE – Unite Acceuil pour Ecoliers, term coined in the law in Canton Vaud for providing various day care possibilities; UAPE provides before and/or after school group daycare and possibly the midday lunch period for school age children. Organised by the commune typically in conjunction with the school, although the premises may or may not be at the school.
pre-scolaire = providing care for children under the school age (ie. less than 4)
para-scolaire = providing care after school hours for school age children
Ecole/Classes Enfantine – the first two years of school, ages 4 and 5, known as 1ere Enfantine, and 2eme Enfantine. These two years are generally not mandatory (cantons vary on this, please verify) but as typically 95% attend, it is more or less expected that they attend
Ecole Primaire - Primary school, starting from age 6 and attendance is mandatory
Age of children for start of school – this depends on their birthday and varies by Canton significantly, so check locally to have details. In Vaud, if they turn 4 by 30 June, they should start school in September. However parents may request either delay attendance, for those born during May or June, or accelerate attendance, for those born in July and August, under special request. Note, the request may or may not be granted.
Streaming levels – depending on the school and Canton, around 4eme-6eme, the public schools stream children into 3 tracks

VSB--highest track, university stream

VSG--middle track, some specialised additional education
VSO--low track, vocational training, apprenticeships



HarmoS—a federal initiative to harmonise most aspects of schooling among the Cantons; has not been approved yet; although some cantons are already moving towards harmonisation in some areas. It is generally well liked and accepted in the French speaking cantons, but the opposite is true in the german speaking cantons.
Care for sick children-- In Geneva, the Red Cross (Croix Rouge), via the Chaperon Rouge, can arrange for urgent care of sick children. In Nyon, the Red Cross offers this service as well.

Info about public schooling in Switzerland in English:
http://www.ides.ch/dyn/16833.php

Association of private schools in Switzerland:

http://www.swiss-schools.ch/index.php?sector=01

Private schools in Canton Vaud:

http://www.avdep.ch/

Public schooling in Canton Vaud:

http://www.vaud.ch/en/assets/education/school-system/

Private Creches in Nyon:

http://www.nyon.ch/fr/vivre/enfance-jeunesse/structures-daccueil-hors-reseau-nyonnais-d-accueil-de-jour-985-5420

Public Creches in Nyon:

http://www.nyon.ch/fr/vivre/enfance-...fants-939-5419


Info on schooling in Nyon:

http://www.nyon.ch/fr/vivre/ecoles-education/

Public Creches in Lausanne:

http://www.lausanne.ch/view.asp?domId=62927&language=E

Private Creches in Lausanne:

http://www.naissance.ch/annuaire/bab...ie-creche.html
http://www.les-garderies.ch/1000/25/list.htm

Public schooling in Lausanne:

http://www.lausanne.ch/view.asp?DocId=22513

Private schooling in Geneva:

http://www.agep.ch/eng/index.php

Public schooling in Geneva:

http://www.ge.ch/enseignement_public/

http://www.ge.ch/dip/dip_bref.asp

Public Creches in Geneva:

http://www.ville-ge.ch/dpt5/enfance/bipe_f.php

List of Creches in Geneva:

ftp://ftp.geneve.ch/dip/liste_creches.pdf

Private schools in Valais offering English:

Ardevaz and is located in Sion. St. Georges school, currently in Vaud, will open another school in Verbier starting in Sept. 2010 for 3-11 year olds

Info for families in Geneva:

http://www.genevefamille.ch/

Info for families in Vaud:

http://www.vaudfamille.ch

Last edited by runningdeer; 05.03.2010 at 14:18. Reason: error in link
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