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Elementary Education

The schools of Zurich city aim to ensure that the abilities of every child and every adolescent are encouraged. All pupils are to benefit from the best possible preconditions in order to become motivated and competent individuals in our society.

An overview of the school system

Elementary education is mandatory and accessible to all children - regardless of gender, religion or origin. Everyone will be given the same opportunities.

Elementary education usually includes kindergarten (2 years), Primary School (6 years) and Secondary School (3 years).

An overview of the school system

Allocations to schools and kindergartens

The city of Zurich is divided into seven school councils. Depending on the home address, it will be decided in which school or kindergarten the child will go. The allocation to the schools and kindergartens is determined by the respective school supervisory authority, schools and kindergartens cannot be chosen freely .


  • 30 500 pupils and kindergarten children
  • 3100 teaching staff
  • 2000 nursery («Betreuung») employees
  • 85 caretakers
  • 99 school units


Daily routines and timetable

Daily routines

By offering various types of childcare programmes, the school contributes to support and relieve families in their everyday life.

  • In the nurseries («Betreuung»), pupils can spend time with a small group of other children and receive healthy food. The «Hort» locations vary; sometimes they are located within the school facilities, sometimes outside.
  • The day schools («Tagesschulen») are childcare facilities which combine both education and after-school activities. Children who attend the «Tagesschulen» usually join the programme in their first school year and stay throughout Primary School, however there are only five of its sort in Zurich.
  • Pupil’s clubs («Schülerclubs») are an additional offer of the Primary School that combine education, meals and after-school activities.


Teaching hours

In the morning: usually 8.20 a.m. - 11:55 a.m. (4 lessons of 45 minutes)
In the afternoon: usually 1:45 p.m. - 3:25 p.m. (2 lessons of 45 minutes)
For pupils attending Secondary School, classes may begin at 07.30 a.m. in the morning and end at 5.15 the afternoon.

Block schedule

Teaching hours are based on so-called «block scheduling» which means that the children attend school every Monday to Friday morning for usually four lessons. In addition to this, the pupils also attend school between two and four afternoons a week, but never on Wednesdays.


Homework is a supplement to the in-class education. The pupils should learn how to trust in their own abilities, work independently and learn how to structure their time. The pupils should be able to do their homework without parental assistance.

Elementary education curriculum

The elementary education curriculum consists: «Mensch und Umwelt», languages, mathematics, arts and physical education.

  • «Mensch und Umwelt» includes subjects such as history, geography, technology, science, philosophy and religion. These subjects are taught from the first year of Primary School.
  • Language classes challenge and encourage the pupils within the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking in German, French and English. English is taught from the second year of primary school, French from the fifth and Italian is offered as an elective subject as of Secondary School level.
  • Mathematics and physical education are taught from the first year of Primary School.
  • Handicraft is taught from the second year of Primary School.
  • Swimming lessons are mandatory from the first until the fourth year of Primary School. Usually, swimming facilities, with professional swimming instructors, are accessible to the pupils.

In Secondary School, there is a distinction between mandatory subjects and electives.

Regulations for elementary education

The regulations for elementary education are set by the Office of Elementary Education, Canton of Zurich.

Upper secondary school

The Department of Education, Canton of Zurich, is responsible for administrating the upper Secondary School.

Private schools

An overview of all private schools in Zurich as well as across Switzerland can be found on Privatschulverzeichnis.

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