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Off to School (Part 1): Kindergarten & Primary School

kindergarten - birgitH  /

Every country has it's own schooling system. Some countries may have fairly similar systems such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland or the US and Canada (correct my if I'm wrong here!).  Almost all countries do by now have some law which requires children to attend some kind of school. Needless to say, that the years of actual schooling and the quality of teaching vary greatly in different places around the globe.

Switzerland is well known internationally for its high quality public schools. However, in Switzerland there are also quite a few quirks when it comes to public schooling. Here are some examples:
  • The Swiss constitution stipulates that every child has the right to education but not that every child must attend public (or private) school. This decision is left with each canton which means that there are some cantons in Switzerland where homeschooling is permitted and some where it isn't.
  • Every canton has its own schooling system. In some places it is mandatory to visit the public kindergarten for two years, in some it is mandatory to visit kindergarten for one year and in some cantons there is no obligation to visit it at all.

I'm sure that to a foreigner there are other things about Swiss schools that strike them funny but I will leave that up to your own observations. However, what is commonly considered the start of a childs school career all over Switzerland is the kindergarten (ages 4-6) and primary school (ages 6-13). 

I'd like to share some basic Swiss German vocabulary connected to those early years of schooling.

Swiss German School Vocabulary

Buechstabe (letter)
Chindergarte (kindergarten) also: Chindsgi
Chindergärtner (male kindergarten teacher)
Chindergärtnerin (female kindergarten teacher)
Chindsgi (kindergarten) also: Chindergarte
Chindsgistreife (lit. kindergarten strip, refers to a reflective vest children wear on their way to school or kindergarten)
Chriide (chalk)
Finke (slippers, house shoes, typically worn inside the class room)
Haagge (hook to hang your jacket)
Heft (book, booklet)
Klassezimmer (class room)
Lehrer (male teacher)
Lehrerin (female teacher)
male (to draw)
Note (grade, mark)
Pauseglogge (school bell)
Primarschuel (primary school)
rächne (to calculate)
schriibe (to write)
Schuel (school)
Schuelhuus (school house, school building)
Schuelthek (satchel)
Ströfzgi (extra homework)
Stuehl (chair)
Tisch (table)
Ufzgi (home work)
Wandtafle (chalkboard)
Zahle (numbers)
Zebrastreife (pedestrian crossing)
Znüni (snach eaten around 9am, lit. to nine)
Znünipause (Znüni break)
Zvieri (snack eaten around 4pm, lit. to four)
Zvieripause (Zvieri break)




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