Ecole Moser accepts children from year 5 (cycle moyen) and offers a Swiss maturity with an option of bilingual French-English or French-German qualification. In Switzerland Ecole Moser has two campuses: in Geneva and in Nyon. There is also an Ecole Moser in Berlin, Germany.
Ecole Moser in Geneva is located in the green suburb of Chêne-Bougeries on the left bank of the lake. It is easily accessible by public transport with the nearest bus stop being just a few minutes’ walk from the entrance. The school is housed in two buildings next to each other – the main building for administrative offices and the secondaire I and II and a separate building for the primaire.
I was meeting the principal – Mrs Pia Effron who kindly invited me to her office and agreed to tell me about the school. Ecole Moser is a Swiss private school which only grants Swiss qualifications. So, it is often chosen by parents who intend to remain in Switzerland and would like their children to get Swiss education and qualifications. That said, there are children of different nationalities at Ecole Moser for many of whom French is not the first language.
Nevertheless, a good level in French is required. Non-francophone children have to sit a French test. Afterwards, they get a three months grace period when they are not marked in French, but since January everyone is marked in the same way.
The main focus in Ecole Moser is on languages. It is one of the few private schools in Geneva (along with Deutsche Schule and L’Ecole Rudolf Steiner de Genève) which offers a possibility to learn German to a high level. In fact, children in Ecole Moser get more exposure to German than English! Children are accepted to primaire with zero or very little German, but it is quickly learnt at school. There is also a possibility to take Spanish, Italian or Latin in secondaire I (years 9 -11).
Languages are not the only strong side of Ecole Moser. Mathematics is also taught to a very high standard following the government policy to improve the overall level of students in maths.
There are a number of extracurricular activities, including chess, hip hop and yoga, but unfortunately no music classes. Mrs Effront explained that with such a variety of music schools in Geneva itself there is little demand for extra music at school. There is, however, a choir in Ecole Moser in Nyon.
Classes generally finish just after 3 pm, so there is plenty of time for any extracurriculars. Parents can also subscribe their children to stay at school until 16 45 for supervised homework. There are two teachers around to help with the homework, individual help is also available.
Mrs Effron also walked me through the admission process. It is a bit more complicated than in other private schools in Geneva and involves preparation of a portfolio by a child, working independently. The portfolio includes a drawing, a craft and a text for comprehension. There are also interviews with both the child and the parents. To an interview the child must bring “an object of desire”, which can be a puppy, a book or even, for example, a friendship bracelet. Mrs Effron explained that this allows her to connect better with a child.
Ecole Moser is happy to accept children in the middle of the academic year, subject to availability. However, despite being smaller, school in Nyon generally has more available spaces than Ecole Moser in Geneva.
Ecole Moser is very proud of its career advice service. The school organises visits to the top UK universities (including Kings and Imperial Colleges in London) and Ivy League universities in the US.
Tour of the primaire in Ecole Moser
After the meeting, Mrs Effront kindly asked one of her colleagues to show me around the primaire building of Ecole Moser. The primaire looked a lot busier than the main building and a bit less “presentable”. I was a little surprised to see grey concrete walls in the common areas that were not even painted. They were however decorated with the lovely children’s art works.
I loved the large and bright classrooms with the tables organised around the room to cater for work in the small groups. I was explained that this unconventional for Swiss schools arrangement allows differentiating the tasks for children of different levels. More advanced students get harder exercises, while children who are slightly behind the programme will get additional work to ensure full comprehension.
In the hallway, just outside the classrooms there were two or three tables for one to one work with a teacher. If a child is struggling to understand a particular concept, the teacher would take him or her outside and explain it again individually, without slowing down the rest of the class. I thought that it was a great idea, which I have not seen in other schools.
The primaire also has its own beautiful and cosy library. Each class has a special time in their schedule allocated for library time. There are books in all three Ecole Moser languages and a selection is placed on low shelves for easy access.
Mr Schröder, who was giving me the tour of the primaire also told me about the school’s ateliers. Wednesdays are generally a short day in Swiss schools, but in Ecole Moser, instead of going home, many children stay on for ateliers. These are the workshops for kids of all primaire age groups in 11 subjects including the judo, sparkle science (in English) and journalism taught by Mr Schröder himself. He gave me a copy of the newspaper which children have put together during the atelier.
Unlike the main building with a designated canteen, in the primaire canteen is cleverly housed in the gym. The tables are hidden behind the wall panels and get pulled out during the lunch time.
After the tour I was allowed to walk around the school building to see the rest of the territory. I thought that the school grounds were not very large and not particularly green, although there are a lot of trees just outside the school fence.
The school has overcome what is usually mentioned as one of the main disadvantages of Swiss education – lack of differentiation between students of different abilities, while also providing a range of extracurricular activities and extra homework support. I have also heard great personal recommendations from the former students who have thoroughly enjoyed their time at Ecole Moser.