FAQs

Answers are provided below to questions we often hear. If you can't find the answer to your question, please contact the Admissions Team.

When should I submit my application to ZIS?

Students are accepted to ZIS on a space available basis throughout the present school year. We cannot accept applications more than two years in advance of the expected date of entry.

How do I apply?

Please see the application procedure outlined under Apply to ZIS.

Do you accept students with special needs?

ZIS provides support for students with moderate learning and / or emotional/social difficulties. Additional information can be found in our Student Support section.

Should my child be fluent in English to attend ZIS?

Up to the beginning of Grade 7, ZIS students are not required to have prior knowledge of English. Students entering in mid-year Grade 7-Grade 10 must be able to demonstrate at least intermediate proficiency in English. Students entering Grades 11 or 12 must have near-native English proficiency. More information and an overview of the required English levels can be found here.

What languages are offered at ZIS?

The instructional language at ZIS is English. German is a required subject for all students in Pre-School through Grade 9. French and Spanish are offered as elective subjects as of Grade 6.

In addition there are mother-tongue language classes offered as part of our After School Program. At present in this growing program at ZIS, the language offerings are: Dutch, French, Spanish and Swedish.

What are the school hours?

School hours are dependent on the campus.

Early Childhood Center (Pre-School/Pre-Kindergarten)

Pre-School: Drop off from 8.30am to start at 8.50am – finish at 12.30pm on the half day program or between 3.00-3.30pm for full day.

Pre-Kindergarten: Drop off from 8.30am to start at 8.50am - finish between 3.00-3.30pm.

Children can be dropped off from 8.30am each morning and lessons start at 8.50am.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the school day ends at 3.20pm. On Wednesdays the school day ends at 2.20pm.

There is a Before School Care Program at the Lower School (from 07:00 to 08:00) and After School Care Program for Pre-School and Pre-K at the Early Childhood Center meaning that students can stay at school until 6.00pm for an additional fee. You can find more information about Before and After School Care here.

Lower School (including Kindergarten and Grades 1-5)

Children can be dropped off at school between 8.30 and 8.45am each morning and lessons start at 8.45am.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the school day ends between 3.15 and 3.30pm. On Wednesdays the school day ends between 2.15 and 2.30pm.

There is a Before School Care Program (from 7:00 to 8:00) and After School Care at the Lower School meaning that students can stay at school until 6.00pm for an additional fee. You can find more information about Before and After School Care here.

There is also an extensive variety of ZIS After School Activities at the end of the school day, included in the school fees. Private activities and music lessons are offered at a cost.

Middle School

School starts at 8.50am, apart from on Wednesday when school starts at 9.55am. The school day ends at 3.45pm every day. There is a variety of ZIS After School Activities at the end of the school day, included in the school fees. Private activities and music lessons are offered at a cost.

Upper School

School starts at 8.50am, apart from on Wednesday when school starts at 9.55am. The school day ends at 3.50pm every day. There is a variety of ZIS After School Activities at the end of the school day, included in the school fees. Private activities and music lessons are offered at a cost.

What after school activities do you offer?

ZIS offers after school activities throughout the school year. A wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs are available to suit each student's interests. Students can participate in a wide variety of sports, music and art offerings, improve their fluency in a foreign language or join different charity groups. Every campus offers age appropriate clubs, sports and after school activities, other than the Early Childhood Center. Visit the Student Life section of our website and Club and Activities.

At the Lower School and Early Childhood Center we offer a Before and After School Care Program, where students are supervised before and after the official school day ends. You can find more information about After School Care here.

Do you offer a lunch program?

Hot meals and sandwiches are available for purchase on each campus. Students may also bring their own lunch from home.

Is parental involvement welcomed at ZIS?

Yes! The ZIS Parents' Association is a vital part of the school, supporting the ZIS community (students, alumni, faculty and families) in a variety of ways. It provides parent volunteers to: help with classroom activities (class parties, field trip chaperones, hands-on help for science or other projects, etc); help in libraries; support sports teams; and much more. The Parents' Association supports new families through its Welcome Committee and coordinates social and cultural events for families and adults within the school. The Parents' Association also offers a forum for communication among parents, the school administration and the Board of Trustees by arranging open forum meetings, as well as providing news and event information on its section of the school's website.

In order to support a successful collaborative partnership between the school and parents/guardians, it is important that the expectations of both members of this partnership with regard to rights and responsibilities are clear. These are published in this Parents/Guardians and ZIS Partnership’ document.

Where do your teachers come from?

There are over 240 faculty working at ZIS, more than half of whom have a Master‘s or Doctorate degree. Most faculty have taught at other international schools around the world and spend an average of six years at ZIS. Like our student population, faculty and staff come from many different countries.

Is transport provided?

A bus service is available for ECC and Lower School students from their home area to school for a fee. We encourage older students (Middle and Upper School) to use public transport. There is a shuttle bus to the Middle School and Upper Schools from Thalwil and Tiefenbrunnen train stations. There is a fee for this service.

Do students wear school uniform?

Students do not have a school uniform but are required to dress appropriately for school. Younger students have a PE uniform.

What programs are offered during the summer?

ZIS offers a program for some weeks during the summer break and other school holidays. Activities vary, and often include sports, language, arts and crafts, and educational programs. There is a fee for this service.

Will my child need to take a placement test?

As part of the initial application process students applying to mid year-Grade 7 to Grade 12 who do not have English as their mother tongue will be asked to complete an English Placement test.

Subject-specific placement tests/screening might be required to place a student in the correct level of a course - ie. mathematics, foreign language and science.

What are the procedures for withdrawing a student from ZIS?

If you should need to withdraw your child from ZIS an official withdrawal form is required.

Will ZIS use photos of my child in their publications?

We aim to show the spirit of ZIS through our publications and therefore always use photographs of school events and activities on the website, in school publications and in advertising. The full name of a student is never used with their photo (other than occasionally in the internal school magazine). If you DO NOT wish to have your child featured in such materials, please submit a written request to the Communications Coordinator Rachel Ditchfield rditchfield@zis.ch.

Where will I find an academic calendar?

A summary of the academic calendar for the current year and the following year can be found at the top of our calendar page.

An Introduction to ZIS

Upper School Video

Middle School Video

Lower School Video