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Language Learning

At ICS we are committed to encouraging and expanding students’ language skills and awareness; we believe that in a changing world being multi-lingual is a necessity.

We encourage students to maintain and develop their mother tongue as this is important for their cultural identity and cognitive development. We recognise that having mother tongue skills also helps students in learning additional languages.

English is our language of instruction.

German is the language of our host community and holds an important place in the ICS curriculum where it is studied by all students up to Grade 10. Students may also choose to study German up to Grade 12.

We also offer Secondary students a choice of Spanish and French. Grade 11 & 12 students may opt for Beginner's Italian (Italian ab initio). They may also study other languages as a Self-Taught Language. Please see the following pages for more information.


ICS promotes the principles of understanding and respect between individuals, communities, cultures and nations. In particular, we reflect those principles in our relationship with our host community.

ICS recognizes that language proficiency is fundamental to international understanding. We therefore support mother tongue development and the acquisition of additional language(s). German is the language of our host community. By providing German instruction to all students we enable our students to benefit from, contribute to and play an active part in their local communities.

German in Early Years and Kindergarten

During lessons in Early Years 1 & 2 and Kindergarten, the children are introduced to German in age-appropriate ways including listening to stories, playing games and singing songs. Connections are made between German and the students' Units of Inquiry, and to the local community. These include a variety of trips and participation in local events and celebrations.

German as an Additional Language, Grades 1-5

This is a programme for those students who do not speak German at home. In this programme, children in each grade level are divided into ability groups. Students learn everyday vocabulary to enable them to interact with the local community. In addition, where relevant, aspects of the Units of Inquiry are incorporated into the German programme. In the higher age and ability groups, when students begin to use German as an academic language, written assignments and grammar become increasingly more important.

German as Home Language

Students in this programme follow an adapted curriculum for native speakers. Building on language competencies acquired in the English language classrooms, students deepen their understanding of formal aspects of German. Links to Units of Inquiry are frequently made to enhance student learning.

ICS Inter-Community School Zurich
Strubenacher 3 | Postfach | 8126 Zumikon | Switzerland
+41 (0)44 919 8300 |
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