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It was back in 2014 when knowitall.ch wrote an article about TrulyBalance at this link. We caught up with Annette Ebbinghaus when we found she had rebranded and is now offering a whole new series of online courses under the names beChill, beBalanced, and beElite.

Annette wrote to us, "I did a rebranding in 2020 as I had just successfully completed a nine year stint in the Swiss court system seeking justice for a mishap while building our family and my business a home. With this saga behind me I could focus on my passion, teaching people how live the life they really desire. I have three areas of focus and I developed an individual brand for each."

beChill for is for everything to do with education. Her main focus here is with adolescents, teaching them how to transform anxious energy into calm confidence. She has been working with teens in this capacity since 2008 and this year she begin to train other Sophrologists to deliver her program in both Australia and the United States.

She goes on to say, "What makes this course so interesting for students is that they learn about the special attributes of the adolescent brain while learning techniques to help them manage rumination, fear, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy and physical manifestations of stress. On the flip side, the high achievers that perhaps are perfectionist or elite athletes, these students learn how to give their mind a much needed break and how to reset the nervous system so they do not burn themselves out in their pursuits."

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We recently heard about a great website that has printable scavenger hunt sheets that will certainly come in handy with some schools still on holiday this week. The weather is amazing (like Spring) and if you haven't organized every last minute, then please throw a few of these ideas in the mix!

We caught up with the inventor of these ideas: Ariana Starkman, "Explorrior has a link to lots of printable scavenger hunts for children that other Geneva/Vaud parents might like. I no longer live in the Geneva area but my connection is that I attended the International School of Geneva at La Chat for Year 10 in 2012-2013. I volunteered in the library, participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and won the Highest Attainment Award. I miss it all dearly."

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
I've always been an organizer, adventurer, and journaler. During the pandemic lockdown, I began thinking of ways to help people through the pandemic — ways to keep kids engaged, how to structure your day, how to write creatively, etc. I'm inspired by so many things — the people around me, nature, my dreams, closing my eyes. Inspiration is sometimes a choice you can make: choose to be inspired every day!

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
I came up with the name Explorrior just before I studied acting abroad in 2019 in Italy and Russia. Explorrior combines Explore + Warrior and is the name of my blog. I keep coming back to the word and it means a lot to me. For the past two years I have been thinking about different ways Explorrior can come to life, and the Etsy shop was one of them. The idea of opening up my Etsy store came to me early in the pandemic, and I just rolled with it! It's been really beautiful to see and hear how the printables are affecting people's lives.

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Did you know that La Côte International School (LCIS) offers both an international programme, leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme at graduation, and a bilingual English-French Swiss Maturité preparation programme? The programme at LCIS could certainly be of interest to families that want their children to have access to a more international and English-French bilingual environment than the public offers, who want to provide their child with the extra personalisation that comes with small class sizes and who want to keep the doors open to switch into the IB programme or be able to continue their studies in the Swiss Maturité in order to facilitate access to Swiss Universities (as well as any others of course).

We thought our readers would be interested to know about this innovative Suisse Maturité programme that provides the best of both worlds in terms of bilingualism and pedagogical approach. It is currently available to students aged 10 to 15 years old (grades 7 to 11 HarmoS). The Swiss Maturité curriculum is based on the plan d’études romand (PER) and provides students with a solid education, opening doors to higher education, including access to local Swiss universities.

The schedule of classes each week is evenly split between French and English instruction, with the addition of German courses, as required for the federal diploma. At LCIS, students in the Maturité section join those in the international curriculum for all of their courses in English. They also have the opportunity to participate in the variety of activities offered as part of the international curriculum, such as study trips, sports camps or international expeditions. This regular immersion not only promotes bilingualism, it also helps to develop social skills, creativity and a curiosity to learn.

Student

It was time to finally catch up with Françoise Pasteau from Altera Lingua Sàrl. We had been exchanging messages for some time and when she told me that they have developed a new course to help foreigners pass the French exam to become Swiss citizens, I was intrigued.

What is the history behind Altera Lingua?
The school has been created in 2004 and I took the direction in 2014. I have been working in international companies for 15 years before deciding to change my career; this is why I became a French as a foreign language teacher and worked for many big language schools . In 2014 I had the opportunity to buy Altera Lingua and become the owner and director. I know very well the expatriate world in Switzerland and love being in contact with so many different people and accompany them in reaching their language objectives. WE teach8 different languages and have a great team of teachers who decided to work for a smaller structure to be closer to the learners and personalize the lessons.

When did you start the course for the official exam?
We always prepared learners to official exams with great success in French but in English, German, Spanish as well. And we are used to teach expatriates as far as French is concerned, so preparing the learners for the FIDE test was a continuation for us. 

We are happy to say that we have had great success with the FIDE test preparation (all our students passed it). This is the requested test for foreigners who need a work permit or who apply for naturalisation.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Recently the lockdown. And at the moment the fact that some companies stops offering language lessons to their employees

Has Covid-19 affected your way of working and why?
The face to face lessons are sometimes not possible anymore in companies due to the COVID-19 restrictions and then we developed Skype/Zoom... lessons with great success.

Reboot2Kids EdenChung

It isn't often that you hear of a teenager that goes to such lengths to launch a project combining her two passions (football and technology). Reboot2Kids collects used information and communications technology devices (ICT) and gently-used football boots to ‘reboot’ them for the benefit of school children in developing countries.

Eden Chung, who is currently a student at the International School of Geneva, has chosen two recipient schools who will receive their first computer labs: one in Sierre Leone (built from scratch by her primary school Ecolint French teacher in 2006) and the other in Papua New Guinea (where Eden's father lived and worked). In parallel, monetary donations are being sought to help with the costs of hiring an IT teacher, internet fees, etc. In both of these schools, the children love football but have to make do largely barefooted, so the shoes will be very welcome for all the children there.

When we heard about Eden Chung, we immediately wrote to her, "Bravo on your initiative!" and asked her to answer some questions.

Tell our readers who you are and your background.
I am in year 12 at the International School of Geneva. Although I was born in Hong Kong, I have lived in Geneva for 13 years, so almost my whole life.

What has been the inspiration behind doing this project?
I have always loved football, both playing it and watching, starting from the age of 3. Now, I play for my school team and also my local club, FC Champel. In addition, I have always had a passion for technology and computers.

In 2018, for my school Passion Project, I created a website with notes and resources aimed to help students that were struggling in the sciences. I also helped tutor younger students in the Middle School. Last year in 2019, ​I completed a research project on global digital literacy, and I learnt how important digital literacy is for students in the 21st century. From these projects, I knew I wanted to expand on what I have already done and to create a longer-lasting project combining my interests.

So I combined my two passions and created Reboot2Kids as an organization that benefits children in developing countries by providing them with football shoes and ICT devices to start to teach them the basic skills of being digital literate.