Zurich is a top-class center of learning. Its broad range of educational options also includes high-quality public schools. The education system in the Canton of Zurich is governed by the Office of Elementary Education of the Canton of Zurich Department of Education. The information given below has been collated from documents issued by the Volksschulamt (Office of Elementary Education).
Placement With a School
Place of residence is the key factor in a child’s placement with a particular school. If you are a resident in the City of Zurich, the Schulpflege (school committee) for your district will make the decision. If you live within another commune in the canton, the decision lies with the school committee for that commune. These committees are in charge of ensuring that children go to school, and will decide which particular pre-school (kindergarten) or school facility your child will attend.
Starting School for Newly Arrived Children and Students
All children and teenagers of school age who are resident in a commune in Zurich will be enrolled in school when they arrive, regardless of their residency status.
Children and students who do not speak German when they arrive will be given additional lessons to help them learn the language when they start school. Some schools also run «reception classes». Children from different educational backgrounds can attend these classes for a maximum of one year to learn German and prepare their move to a regular class.
Lessons & Teaching
Children who were born between 1 July 2013 and 15 July 2014 will start kindergarten in the 2018/2019 school year. If you have any questions, the school committee for your district will be happy to help. From the 2019/2020 school year, children who have reached the age of four by 31 July of any given year must attend school from the start of the next school year.
The school year begins in mid-August and runs until the beginning of July the following year. Lessons are interrupted by a total of 13 weeks of school holidays: In the autumn, at Christmas, for winter sports, the spring break, and in the summer.
Lessons, or care, begin at 8:00 am for everyone, and go on until 12:00 noon. Children and teenagers have individual timetables in the afternoons.
The communes provide a range of needs-based services for childcare before and after school, subject to a charge. These services include meals.