Education. One of the most important (and often daunting!) decisions you can make, whether for yourself or your children. If you’re planning a move to Basel and are wondering about schooling, here are the most popular schools with expats to help you in your decision-making process.
International School Basel
Probably the most popular school among expats is the International School Basel.
Here’s what ISB says about itself:
ISB is an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School, offering all three education programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for our younger students, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16, and the Diploma Programme (DP) for our senior students in the final two years of their school careers. The IB programmes aim to support and develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who will actively participate in creating a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding. To this end the IB Organisation works with schools and other institutions from around the world to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes underpin our vision at ISB, and encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, should be valued equally as human beings. This is what we want for our young people.
Swiss International School
Also an IB School, the Swiss International School is an option for parents looking to place their children in a bilingual (English and German) learning environment. The school states, “SIS is a unique alternative to state and classic international schools. The students experience a bilingual school education in which local culture is embedded but also a wider global perspective is achieved.”
Academia International School
Another bilingual school, AIS placement goes according to the student’s ability rather than age. For ages 4 to 13, they have two possibilities: a full-day programme, or part-time for Preschool and Primary School. Their goal is to supply the students with as many opportunities as possible to reach their potential.
Older students are also provided abundant opportunities to pursue and excel in subjects in which they are naturally gifted. AIS offers the British exam system—IGCSE, AS- and A-Level.
Their website says that Academia International School is designed for:
- Students who wish to have internationally recognised qualifications that will enable them to go into further education or the workplace worldwide
- Students who are gifted in certain subjects and wish to develop them according to their ability
- Students who want clear recognition of their academic achievement in each subject which can reflect their real ability
- Students who would benefit from extra time or extra input in some aspects of their education
- Students who wish to integrate into a successful academic programme at any time of the academic year and at any level.
Black Forest Academy
The world-famous Black Forest Academy is located in nearby Kandern, Germany. Although not as convenient as the local schools for expats, BFA provides another option for parents looking for a Christian learning environment for their children. The BFA is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the Council of International Schools (CIS), and the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association (MSA).
From their website:
Our mission is to provide a quality, international Christian education that equips students to influence their world. Since 1956, Black Forest Academy has been carrying out this mission, changing lives, and developing globally-minded students who are equipped for leadership.
Early Learning Association
Many very happy parents highly recommend ELA, which currently operates from three schools at two locations in Basel.
Says their website, “The Early Learning Association has been working with children in Basel for nearly twenty years. With a focus on Education and Development, we are proud of the strong relationship we have built with the people of Basel. Based in Gartenstrasse, and nearby Malzgasse, ELA is at the heart of Basel, within easy reach of all the main employers. We draw our children from over thirty countries, 40% of our children being Swiss/German.
“ELA is unique in having a programme that extends from the baby years to the junior range. We presently operate a childcare centre with over 120 approved places from 3 months to 4 years and a primary school for children from 4 to 11 years that operates in English and German.”
Local Swiss Schools
If you are planning on a long stay in Basel, enrolling in the local Swiss schools are always an excellent choice. Many expats who have their children attending these schools are satisfied with the learning experience their children receive. Additionally, children learn the language quicker and are better able to integrate with others in their communities. Special classes are provided for students from other countries to help them learn German.
One of the cautions English-speakers offer is to be consistent about speaking English at home, and to ensure that your children are reading and writing English. This will help them maintain their English language skills and is a big help when visiting relatives back home. This way, you won’t have your parents or in-laws complaining that they don’t understand what their grandchildren are saying!
Homeschooling in Switzerland
Homeschooling is possible in Switzerland but varies from Canton to Canton. According to the HSLDA:
Homeschooling in Switzerland is legal in most cantons and is growing as a movement. Switzerland has 26 cantons (similar to states in the U.S.) and each canton has its own education law. Many cantons allow home education while some require a teaching certificate and others forbid home education. Home education requirements are implemented and enforced at the local level.
Whichever route you decide is best for you and your family, a first-rate education in Basel is just around the corner or down the street. So don’t forget to do your homework and check out some schools for yourself. You’re sure to find the right fit.