• Haut-Lac International Bilingual School
  • LCIS La Côte International School - Swiss Maturité Preparation Programme
  • British School of Geneva

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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.


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.


It struck me as another one of those colloquial phrases that differentiate English from French. I wrote to a friend, "Je me tiens les pouces" to wish her luck (literally translates as holding my thumbs). I didn't tell her I was "crossing my fingers" but she sent me back an emoji of this: 🤞 ! Another way the French-speakers have had to adapt, there is no emoji of someone holding their thumb. The older generations of French-speakers are not familiar with our English expression.

If you search for "pouce" or thumb in the emojis, you will find 👍 👎 and "doigt" gives you this 👌 as well (finger).

Can you think of another translation twister? When I made the decision to speak French without fear, I didn't care if I was wrong, if my phrases were anglicized, if the gender of the words was mixed up (and then mixed up again). The advantage to this "dive in head first" attitude paid off. It gave me the confidence I needed to put together a sentence and be understood. It gave me the courage to put myself out there, the brashness to be part of a conversation, the grit to search for the right vocabulary.

Yes, you will get the typical "rolling eyes" from some people who are uptight and cringe at the mistakes and de-grammaticalized sentences you've invented. Don't worry. Be bold, have the nerve to move forward, and you will see results. What you might be lacking is the fearlessness to construct a bad sentence. When you stumble through your mislaid words and pronunciation, the listener probably understands 80% of what you are saying... it is enough for them to mentally place the puzzle pieces and respond to you.

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Press release: The British School of Geneva’s newly-launched programme, The Ark, is unique in Geneva: an English-language centre for autistic teens, part of a mainstream school, teaching the English National Curriculum as well as the life skills these students will need as they prepare for adulthood.

Launched in September 2020, this specialised unit is dedicated to providing English-speaking teens with autism an opportunity to develop their academic, social, personal and employability skills. Students in The Ark follow a curriculum based on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is reviewed each term.

In addition to delivering the English National Curriculum, BSG is registered with ASDAN, whose programmes and qualifications help young people develop knowledge and skills for learning, work and life. Based on students’ levels and needs, ASDAN modules taught could include such topics as Expressive Arts, Preparing for Adulthood and Living Independently.

The daily schedule in The Ark is designed to best accommodate students’ learning, sensory and social skills needs. Accordingly, morning sessions are geared toward developing English language and Mathematics skills from a functional perspective, and advancing in other academic subjects including French.

Afternoons, the focus is on expanding practical skills with the aim of achieving greater independence and employability. Activities, each conceived with a specific goal and delivered to best suit the level and learning profile of each student, include cooking, social skills outings in the community, managing a small budget, and shopping trips using money.

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The Ark’s dedicated space was designed to address the learning needs of our students, with particular attention paid to providing a suitable sensory environment. The school has two classrooms: one with traditional layout for teaching a small group, and the other in which students can work at TEACCH stations for more independent sessions and learning consolidation activities.

This centre also has a kitchen in which students practise cooking and related life skills, as well as a messy play area, and a sensory room for breaks and quiet time. Importantly, as The Ark is not rigidly structured around the timetable of the broader school, teachers have the flexibility to adapt and shape students’ days as required.

BSG is committed to both inclusion and reverse inclusion. The Ark is an integral part of BSG, and students enroled in this programme enjoy breaks and lunches with their mainstream peers, and participate in school-wide events and activities. Some students in The Ark may choose to join mainstream lessons, if and when it is appropriate. Happily, The Ark welcomes select students from across the school to participate in life skills sessions and other small group activities, such as cooking and crafts.

The Ark is an integral part of the British School of Geneva and adheres to the same standards of excellence, student safety, care and respect as the school as a whole.

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The Art Centre for Autism
BSG The British School of Geneva
Av. de Châtelaine 95A
1219 Châtelaine, GE
022 795 75 10