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A broad education programme of high standing

The education offered by Freies Gymnasium Zürich comprises three preparatory classes, a Progymnasium and a lower school and upper school of the Gymnasium with state-recognised House Matura.

In the upper school of the Gymnasium students can choose from four study profiles: Classics, Modern Languages, Mathematics - Natural Sciences and Economics and Law.

The Swiss Matura Regulations govern the Gymnasium programmes; the preparatory classes and the Progymnasium are subject to the Curriculum of the Canton of Zurich.

Special subject teachers, Latin and social competence
Our monolingual preparatory classes lay the foundations for the Progymnasium and the lower school of the Gymnasium.

There are three preparatory classes at Freies Gymnasium Zürich:

•    following grade 4 of the primary school: VK5
•    following grade 5 of the primary school: VK6
•    following grade 6 of the primary school: VK7

VK5 and VK6 are intended for good pupils from grade 4 or 5 of the primary school who are aiming to transfer to our Gymnasium or Progymnasium. This is where the foundations are laid to enable pupils to enter the lower school of our Gymnasium or Progymnasium without having to take an examination.

The same is true of VK7. It is intended for pupils who could benefit from an extra year to enable them to mature both physically and academically before progressing to the next school level.

Our 5th grade primary class (Aufnahmeverfahren)
Would you like to give your child a solid educational basis that will prepare him or her for Progymnasium or Gymnasium?

Are you looking for a school that can give your child the space and time to develop and further his or her personal talents and interests?

Would you like your child to have the opportunity to develop his/her skills in a class of other motivated children and in a quiet, conscientious, but also disciplined atmosphere?

Have you just moved to Zurich and are looking for a school that can prepare your child, who has been educated in a different school system, for the demands of a Swiss Gymnasium?

Our 5th grade primary class allows us to support motivated and talented students over a period of two years in such a manner that the transfer to the Progymnasium or Gymnasium proves no problem at all.

Public primary schools are finding it more and more difficult to develop all their students to their full potential. Individuals who intend to overcome the hurdles on their way into a public Gymnasium see themselves forced to take up additional, extracurricular and costly preparatory courses for the entrance exam. The procedure to enter the FGZ Gymnasium is no less demanding than the admission exam in public institutions, but our preparatory classes are laid out to carefully enable students to meet the demands of the next educational level step by step. Moreover, they are focused on the transfer to the Progymnasium or lower school of the Gymnasium.

Features of the new class
Our 5th grade primary class (VK5) forms a unit with the subsequent 6th grade (VK6) and has the following features:

  • It consists of a group of maximum 16 motivated students.
  • It provides a solid educational basis which corresponds to the official syllabus for primary schools in the Canton of Zurich. The language spoken in class is German.
  • Class takes place all day. An in-school canteen (Mensa) caters to the students’ needs; playgrounds and sport facilities ensure the students get the exercise they need.
  • Every week, students receive individual support to further their talents and interests during project mornings; the aim is to promote independent learning and creativity.
  • A class teacher teaches most of the subjects (approx. 70%), the remaining subjects are taught by subject teachers who also teach other levels at our school.
  • Students with exceptional (for example linguistic) previous knowledge can be supported individually (not during class lessons; separate price list)
  • Admission to 5th grade primary class does not require students to pass any exams. Students who enter 5th grade can normally stay at the FGZ until they finish 6th grade of primary school.
  • Admission to the following Progymnasium or lower school of the Gymnasium takes place according to the procedure that has applied to the 6th grade primary students for numerous years now:
    Admission exam during the second semester of 5th grade and fulfilling a certain average in grades during 6th grade. The 5th grade students are prepared for the exam in class.

Conditions for admission and transfer

Special subject teachers, Latin and social competence
Our monolingual preparatory classes lay the foundations for the Progymnasium and the lower school of the Gymnasium.

There are three preparatory classes at Freies Gymnasium Zürich:

•    following grade 4 of the primary school: VK5
•    following grade 5 of the primary school: VK6

VK5 and VK6 are intended for good pupils from grade 4 or 5 of the primary school who are aiming to transfer to our Gymnasium or Progymnasium. This is where the foundations are laid to enable pupils to enter the lower school of our Gymnasium or Progymnasium without having to take an examination.

Special subject teachers and the same subjects as in the Gymnasium
Pupils are taught by special subject teachers in our preparatory classes just as later in the Gymnasium. Lessons aim to prepare the students for the Gymnasium and Latin is on the timetable. Extra lessons aim to fill gaps in the basic knowledge of German and Maths should this prove necessary. By working closely together with the language teachers (German, French, English and Latin) pupils learn to recognise fundamental similarities in language structures. In Mathematics lessons, we also attach great importance to teaching and reinforcing the basic concepts.

Transfer to the secondary level
Pupils can qualify for the next education phase on the basis of a six-month assessment period rather than needing to take a stressful entrance examination.

After one year in the preparatory classes, our pupils are prepared to transfer to the Progymnasium or Gymnasium level. They have already become accustomed to being taught by special subject teachers and have been introduced to Latin. Furthermore, they have been instructed in learning and organisation skills.

Friendly atmosphere with day school structure
Freies Gymnasium Zürich is a performance-oriented school. However we believe that it is essential for pupils in the preparatory classes to be able to learn in a relaxed yet focused atmosphere. All the children should feel at ease in their class as this facilitates the acquisition of vital social skills. We are committed to communicating key values to our pupils.

The integration week, which takes place away from Zurich after the first six weeks of term, provides pupils with the opportunity to practise vital inter-personal skills, including learning to treat each other with respect and tolerance. The programme also comprises art excursions, hikes, singing and learning about the geographic location of the field trip.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich, there is a day school structure in place from early morning until the evening. Pupils can benefit from comprehensive supervision during this time. Lunch is served in the school canteen. After regular school hours, there is a homework support service (subject to charge) where pupils can complete their homework under supervision or, if necessary, receive further learning support.

Special programme: introductory course in German and Mathematics

To help prospective pupils to prepare for the entrance examination for the preparatory classes, candidates can register for a special introductory course in German and Mathematics. This course aims to familiarise candidates with the content and structure of the entrance examination.

Admission to the preparatory classes

Prior to registration for the examination, parents and prospective pupils take part in an admission interview with the Principal (VK6) as part of the admission process. The entrance examination is based on material from the previous primary school classes. It comprises a written and an oral examination in German and Mathematics.

Eligibility to take the entrance examination for preparatory class 6:

  • Pupils must have a minimum average of 5 in German and Mathematics in the February report.   

Conditions for admission and transfer

First-class preparation for the upper school of the Gymnasium

Our Progymnasium is academically more demanding than the regular Secondary A level in the state schools and incorporates the following distinctive features:

  • special subject teacher system
  • most teachers are Gymnasium teachers
  • same learning goals as in lower school of the Gymnasium
  • same number of lessons per week as in lower school of the Gymnasium

Differences to the lower school of the Gymnasium

The students in the monolingual Progymnasium have set themselves the goal of transferring to the upper school of the monolingual Gymnasium. For this reason, lessons differ only slightly from those of the lower school of the Gymnasium. Instead of Latin, students have more lessons in Mathematics, German and French. Textile and three-dimensional design are also on the curriculum. The students’ performance is evaluated in line with the standards of the Progymnasium.

Transfer to our upper school of the Gymnasium

In the course of the 2nd or 3rd class of the Progymnasium, our students can qualify for transfer to the upper school of Freies Gymnasium Zürich based on their performance in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and without needing to take an entrance examination.
The education in the Gymnasium is concluded with the state-recognised Matura which qualifies students for admission to all universities.

Admission to our Progymnasium from other schools

Students from other schools who want to transfer to our Progymnasium are required to pass an entrance examination. The preconditions for admission to the entrance examination are:

Final admission to the entrance examination is based on the application dossier and is subject to the number of available places.

The entrance examination is based on work covered in the primary school and comprises written and oral exams in German and Maths. Parents and prospective students take part in an admission interview with school management as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to our Progymnasium

Transfer to the 1st class of our Progymnasium is based on the level of performance in the preparatory classes. Students do not need to take an entrance examination.

Higher education qualifications as goal
The Gymnasium follows on after the 6th class of the primary school or our preparatory classes.

The goal of the Gymnasium is to «provide students with the skills and knowledge to promote lifelong learning, as well as their intellectual open mindedness and ability to judge independently» (MAR Art. 5) and in this way to allow access to all forms of higher education.

Admission to the lower school of our Gymnasium from other schools
Applicants are eligible to take the entrance examination if they have a minimum average of 5.0 in German and Mathematics in the February report. There are oral and written examinations in German and Mathematics. Parents and prospective pupils take part in an admission interview with school management as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to the lower school of our Gymnasium
Transfer to the 1st class of the lower school of our Gymnasium depends on the level of performance in the preparatory classes. Students do not need to take an entrance examination.

Subjects taught
In the lower school of the Gymnasium (1st and 2nd class) the students learn Latin as a basis to their understanding of the beginnings of Western culture. In addition they have lessons in German, French, English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Visual Arts, Music, Religion, keyboard skills/text processing and Sport.

In line with the long-standing Christian tradition of our school, all students have lessons in Religion and Philosophy right up to the Matura.

Choice of four Matura study profiles
At the end of the lower school, our students choose their Matura study profile. They also select a core subject.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following profiles:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English or Greek
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with «Economics and Law» as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with «Biology and Chemistry», or «Applied Mathematics and Physics» as core subjects

Conditions for admission and transfer

Four years to the Matura
The monolingual upper school of the Gymnasium takes four years and follows on after the first two years of the lower school of the Gymnasium or after the 2nd or 3rd class of the secondary level (grade 8 or 9).
The goal of the Gymnasium is to «provide students with the skills and knowledge to promote lifelong learning, as well as their intellectual open mindedness and ability to judge independently» (MAR Art. 5) and in this way to allow access to all forms of higher education.

Choice of four Matura study profiles
Our students choose their Matura study profile. They also select a core subject.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following profiles:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English or Greek (for the students of the lower school of the Gymnasium only)
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with «Economics and Law» as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with «Biology and Chemistry», or «Applied Mathematics and Physics» as core subjects

Basic, core and supplementary subjects
The Matura subjects are made up of ten basic subjects, the core subject and a supplementary subject.
The study profile is essentially decided by the core subject. Lessons in the basic subjects are more or less the same for all students, irrespective of study profile. This is intended to be the basis for a general education.

All profiles include an introduction to Economics and Law (two lessons a week). In addition, there are also optional subjects.

Matura paper
Working alone or in a team, students write a Matura paper on a subject of their own choice. The Matura paper must be approved for the student to be admitted to the Matura examinations.

Admission to the upper school of our Gymnasium from other schools
Applicants are eligible to take the entrance examination if they have a minimum average of 5.0 in German, Mathematics and French in the February report. There are oral and written examinations in these three subjects. Parents and prospective pupils take part in an admission interview with school management as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to the Lower School of our Gymnasium
Students from the lower school of our Gymnasium transfer to the upper school of our Gymnasium without needing to take an entrance examination. Students from our Progymnasium can qualify for transfer based on their performance without needing to take an entrance examination (see Progymnasium section).

Conditions for admission and transfer

Four Matura study profiles
Before entering the upper school of the Gymnasium, our students choose their Matura study profile. They also select a core subject.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following profiles:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English and Greek (for students of the lower school of the Gymnasium only)
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with Economics and Law as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with Applied Mathematics and Physics or Biology and Chemistry as core subjects

 

Core subject “Latin”

Students choosing Latin as a core subject receive an education in the classics and the humanities with emphasis on language, literature and cultural history. This study profile focuses on in-depth knowledge of the Latin language, helps students to understand language structures, facilitates the acquisition of modern languages and the understanding of foreign words and scientific terminology; furthermore it improves students' ability to express themselves in German and to develop their mastery of their mother tongue.

Studying Latin as a core subject involves the in-depth translation and interpretation of important original Latin literary texts. These texts, which are always concerned with basic questions of human existence, offer historical distance to enable students to gain new perspectives for present-day problems thus leading to deeper understanding of the cultural diversity of the European continent. Latin as core subject ensures a linguistic and cultural general education of timeless interdisciplinary importance such as is currently only available at a Gymnasium.

 

Core subject “Italian”

Studying Italian enables students to find their way in the Italian-speaking world and culture. It promotes the skills needed to understand others and to express oneself in a foreign language. Students learn the four basic communication skills: listening and reading comprehension, oral and written expression.

The lessons aim to help students to break down the boundaries to the Italian-speaking cultural area, comprising Italy and the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and to study in depth the values and mentality of this culture.
Learning Italian contributes to international understanding and also improves the student’s ability to understand the descendents of Italian immigrants and their integration in Switzerland.

 

Core subject “Economics and Law”

The subject, Economics, is concerned with both current events and history. Students examine the workings of the market economy, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as economic crises based on examples from world affairs. Questions such as: Where does money come from and what significance does it have? Why do we have economic crises? Why is there unemployment and what can be done to combat it? Why are there such marked differences in wealth and prosperity? Why are some countries rich and others poor? Economic history and philosophical interconnections are also explained. Students choosing this study profile should be interested in economic, political and historical interconnections.

The subject, Business Studies, is based on examples from the world of business. Students learn about such topics as how a company is founded and run; how the stock market functions and its significance; the role and functioning of the banks. Visits to a variety of enterprises help to clarify and deepen students’ knowledge of the material.

In the subject, Law, students learn about the Swiss legal system by examining legal cases that appear daily in the press. Both the history of law and modern legislation are studied. Students visit court hearings to help them to understand the material.

 

Core subject “Applied Mathematics and Physics"

The core subject Applied Mathematics and Physics meets the requirements for a broad range of fields of study in the areas of natural sciences, mathematics and technology. In addition to increasing knowledge of mathematics and physics, it promotes basic competencies, such as analytical and structured thinking skills.

The applied mathematics lessons provide the opportunity to explore chapters from the basic subject in more depth and to identify the inter-relationship between certain subsections. The primary focus here is on analysis and probability calculation. Furthermore, students selecting this core subject are able to examine mathematical themes that cannot be covered in the basic subject lessons, such as cryptology or differential equations.

The lessons in physics allow the basic physical principles to be further studied in increased depth for improved understanding of fundamental natural phenomena. In addition to covering classical mechanics, such as the rotation of rigid bodies or thermodynamics, themes from modern physics, such as atoms and nuclei, semi-conductors or the theory of relativity are also part of this course of studies.

 

Core subject "Biology and Chemistry"

The core subject Biology and Chemistry comprises a broad range of themes with particular focus on researching, examining and experiencing in the chemistry laboratory or in practical biology work. Many of the themes are specifically tackled in an interdisciplinary manner.

In biology, there is further in-depth study of the anatomy, lifestyle and behaviour of animals and humans in connection with their history of development. Relevant environmental themes are discussed, foodstuffs are analysed and examined with regard to health issues. Experiments involving classical and molecular genetics provide the basis for ethics discussions concerning the application of modern genetic and reproductive technology.

In chemistry, chemical processes are examined in the laboratory and further in-depth knowledge is acquired in the areas of analytics, the application of separation techniques in research and industry, the diverse range of natural materials, synthetic materials, buffer systems and radioactivity as well as complex chemistry and colour theory. The use of computer-assisted measurement methods in the lessons illustrates the capabilities and complexity of modern data acquisition and analysis. Finally, visits to companies provide insight into the working world of scientific professions.

By encouraging scientific thinking and communicating important basic principles to aid the understanding of the world from a scientific point of view, the core subject Biology and Chemistry is an excellent basis for future studies in medicine or the natural sciences.

Due to the great importance of mathematics in all natural sciences, both sub-profiles of the Mathematics-Natural Sciences study profile have an increased number of lessons in mathematics as a basic subject.

CONTACT US FOR A PERSONAL APPOINTMENT


Preparatory classes 5 & 6
Upper School of the Gymnasium

The Head of Department, Principal
Dr. Thomas Bernet

Phone administration office:
Telephone: +41 43 456 77 77
E-mail: sekretariat@fgz.ch



Progymnasium & lower school of the Gymnasium, monolingual education programme

The Head of Department,
Vice Principal
Christine Aerne Corcoran

Phone administration office:
Telephone: +41 43 456 77 77
E-mail: sekretariat@fgz.ch

Upper school of the Gymnasium
Progymnasium & lower school of the Gymnasium, bilingual education programme

The Head of Department,
Vice Principal
Dr. Hans-Peter Müller

Phone administration office.
Telephone: +41 43 456 77 77
E-Mail: sekretariat@fgz.ch