Bilingualism - a founding pillar of Haut-Lac

Back in 1993 when the benefits of a bilingual education were less well known, Haut-Lac International Bilingual School was already setting up to become a pioneer in the field.

Haut-Lac International Bilingual School
Although English was fast becoming the international language, the four founder-directors experienced first-hand how knowledge of the local lingo made life easier on the Swiss Riviera. They therefore set out to equip the children who walked through their doors with the language skills required for success in Switzerland and elsewhere.


Haut-Lac is and always has been a bilingual school, but it’s model of bilingualism has evolved over the years in line with student needs and pedagogical developments.Upon noticing a drop in student productivity in the afternoons, the Academic Leaders knew it was time for change. They therefore worked together with experts to devise a new model, which would ensure a more equal development of both English and French.Their research moved them away from a half-day model towards fully bilingual 1 day-1 day and subject-specific models in Infant & Primary and Secondary respectively. Alternative single-language and progressive bilingual pathways were also added, to help students with less knowledge of English or French develop their language skills at a pace that suits them.


Ease of communication is the first, and probably the most important advantage of studying bilingually, especially for international students. Being able to understand and speak the local lingo makes settling into a new country and culture easier, thus enabling students to get on with more important stuff like learning straight away.Language learning also opens up our minds to new perspectives, to new ways of looking at things. Take sign language for example. Each language uses their own because their understanding of concepts, even simple ones like eating, are different and thus require different motions.The same goes for subjects at school. By learning history in both English and in French, students at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School broaden their knowledge to include views of events from different nations. This, in turn, increase’s their sensitivity and cultural awareness.


It’s probably time to redefine the word “nomad”. Or at least add to the definition.As travel gets easier, a new breed of nomad has replaced the hunter-gatherers of the past. These move around not for survival, but to open their minds to new experiences. It’s not an easy path to kickstart, but with two or more languages under their belt, students have the basis for success abroad.And if they combine them with the heightened adaptability and cultural awareness gained from studying renowned international curricula with international peers, the world is their oyster.

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