Pedagogical work

German, as well as English lessons according to the framework of the local community, for example: International Curriculum.
Lessons are taught in either English or high German.
Meal times and free play times are also part of the children’s development of their self  and social competences.
Experience the indoors and the outdoors (a day in the forest, trips during all seasons, activities at the playground). During special and holiday weeks: we provide care filled with variety and we take the opportunity to dive deeper into certain topics.

Age requirements

It is possible to start kindergarten at the Big Bear House at the beginning of the school year in August and at the start of the second semester in February. 

 

Children who are four years old by July 31st start kindergarten in August.

At their parents' request, children who are four years old by October 31st can undergo an assessment by a kindergarten teacher at the Big Bear House to determine if they are ready for kindergarten. Starting kindergarten in August is possible for these children as well, but requires the recommendation of the kindergarten teacher.

Children who are four years old by January 31st start kindergarten in February.

At their parents' request, children who are four years old by April 31st can undergo an assessment by a kindergarten teacher at the Big Bear House to determine if they are ready for kindergarten. Starting kindergarten in February is possible for these children as well, but requires the recommendation of the kindergarten teacher.

Requirements

Children that join our kindergarten:

....should not wear nappies and are able to go to the toilet by themselves
....are able to show interest and stay focused even without being encouraged
....are able to sit still and pay attention for a longer period of time
....do not need to take afternoon naps

English as a Second Language

The playful use of multiple languages takes advantage of young children's talent for learning them – in our case, learning both German and English. To give the children a solid foundation, half the lesson blocks are taught in German (incl. Standard German), the other half in English. Each person teaching in a particular language must have a native-speaking background in that language. Our basic rule is "one person one language", and each particular lesson is taught entirely in one language. This helps children to learn more quickly, efficiently, and above all: correctly.

Sports and Physical Education

Cognitive learning ability depends very much on physical exercise, which underpins the long-term success of each child in reaching her or his own maximum potential. A healthy body energizes the brain, promoting better concentration and resilience.
This is why our lesson plan always includes gross-motor exercises, with daily physical activities on the playground and outdoors – these are guaranteed components of our program. Furthermore, the schedule includes a weekly sports lesson in a large gymnasium with equipment. Our program also features regular outings devoted to physical activities, in both summer and winter.

Principle of Neutrality

The Big Bear House is a neutral institution that makes no value judgments about the way of life reflected by the children and their families. Furthermore, the Big Bear House is not attached to any pedagogical ideologies and is solely committed to the kindergarten curriculum and guidelines set by the Canton of Zug.

The protection of religious and psychological integrity is fully guaranteed, and religious commitments will be respected as long as they do not conflict with the guidelines of the obligatory kindergarten program (e.g. mandatory lessons, physical education, etc.)

Integration

The Big Bear House kindergarten is not an integrated facility and can only admit fully capable children who satisfy the requirements for attending regular kindergarten. The Big Bear House cannot supervise children with disabilities or who have deficits outside the norm. The teaching staff can be consulted in advance to decide if admission is possible. If the teaching staff notice unusual difficulties during regular lessons, they will discuss this with the parents and suggest a consultation with the relevant school counseling services of the home community. Even if the parents decline such consultation, the Big Bear House still retains the right to terminate the child care agreement if the relevant teaching staff have concluded that the child needs supplementary special care that is not available at the Big Bear House.

Programs During Vacation Weeks

There are no classes at the kindergarten for 11 weeks in each calendar year. In pedagogical terms, this extended vacation time is recommended for every kindergarten, because children need more variety and recovery time than adults do. Nonetheless, the Big Bear House also guarantees a full childcare schedule during its class-free weeks, since parents cannot take as much time off as their children.

Of these 11 weeks, two weeks coincide with the company's annual holiday periods: one week from Christmas to New Year's Day, and another week in summer.

The remaining 9 weeks are occupied by special programming with an essentially leisure character, without a schooloriented agenda. This means having theme weeks and project weeks with fun and games as the main focus. Such programming takes place partly in the regular kindergarten facility, and partly in other locations. Specific days or weeks may consist of openchoice programs that allow children to decide what would be the most fun and what they would like to do.