Learn, care, demand and lead - these are the principles of Zurich International School. The campus in Baden is only four years old, but it is already attended by 173 pupils from 40 nations.
Zurich International School (ZIS) in Baden is certainly very colorful. Before Principal Ji Han opened the school, she had the doors painted all the colours of the rainbow.
That created a happy and relaxed ambience in the old Burghalde school house in Baden. Children aged three to 13 years are taught here - or to express it in the vocabulary of international schools - from Kindergarten to Middle School.
With 173 pupils and 40 employees, the day school is utilised to capacity. That is why ZIS Baden plans to rent a new building in the city centre from summer 2013. The Baden Campus is one of five ZIS locations at which a total of 1,500 male and female pupils are taught at all levels.
Ms Han, why did ZIS choose Baden as the only location outside the canton of Zurich?
We were invited by the canton of Aargau and the city of Baden who recognised that establishing an international school is an important location factor. Baden, which is only 25km from Zurich, has a very large international community due to the presence of the global concerns ABB, Alstom, Brother, etc.
We were pleased that ZIS was contacted, as it proved to us that we enjoy a good reputation as the result of our high quality standards.
How did you start out in 2008? Were there sufficient pupils?
In the first year, just over 20 pupils came to us. There are currently 173 - I admit that I never would have thought that we would be so successful so quickly. The city of Baden provides us with plenty of support for our concerns.
What differentiates an international school from a state school?
Our curriculum is based on the system developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Geneva. ZIS Baden has recently been awarded the quality seal for the Primary Years Program which is used by 790 schools worldwide. This global networking is very important, as our children change schools very frequently, and seamless transition must be ensured.
What is of particular importance when teaching the children of 'global nomads'?
The children and their parents have a frequently changing environment - the average 'relocation rate' of the families is around three years. That is why the school is not solely there to convey subject matter, but is often a place for networking as well. That applies to parents just as much as it does to children.
We have a very strong community, involve the parents and are often the first contact person for people who move here. Providing stability and tranquility for the children is high on our agenda; in fact, everything we do is geared towards achieving that objective.
We employ well trained teachers from around the world who are not selected for their academic abilities, but for their human capacities.