The non-profit association Swedish School of Geneva was created during the autumn of 1972 by the first School President Bo Mårsäter and his wife Ulla. From the very beginning, parents and school staff have worked hand-in-hand to make the school a wonderful place for children to learn.
With an ethos of teaching for the individual, the Swedish School of Geneva prides itself of its small classes. Teachers support each student’s continuous learning and knowledge development. The school combines a high level of education with a safe and creative environment, ensuring students are well-equipped for the next level of education anywhere in the world.
The school offers bilingual classes (Swedish-French or English-French) for children between one and eight years old, and an extensive array of language courses.
From the beginning, In 1973, the school operated out of classrooms in other schools. At first, there were 37 Swedish-speaking children taking classes in Swedish, math and English outside regular school hours at a school called Collège de Budé. Then, the primary school was established with just 12 students at the Collège des Coudrier.
In January 1974, the Swedish School of Geneva moved to the current premises in Meyrin, and Stina Lagergren became president. A group of 30 parents decorated and fitted out the interior during evenings and weekends ahead of the opening after Easter.
The official inauguration was held in June 1974 in the presence of the Swedish Ambassador Sven-Eric Nilsson, Consul General Patrik Falkman, Geneva school minister André Chavanne, the Headmaster of Collège des Coudriers and Swedish pastor Lennart Söderström, among others.
As the school was not yet financially secure at this time, Monica Sagnell, the school’s accountant, paid the first rent privately. To save money on postage, she ordered books in 5kg packages from Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande i Utlandet (Association for the Preservation of Swedishness Abroad). During the first summer, the postman arrived almost every day to drop off another package and ask for a glass of water!
By the mid 1980s, the school had developed to offer preschool, primary and secondary (by distance learning), and had grown to 60 students and 10 teachers. However, budgets and enrolment fluctuated year on year.
The Swedish International School of Geneva is today an international school using the Swedish Approach to help students develop a love for learning, build their self-esteem and spark their curiosity so they can find their unique way to thrive in the world.
Albert Einstein once said that logic will take you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere. Children are naturally original and creative, which is why the school encourages pupils to be curious, explore their own interests and think for themselves. Innovative teaching methods, tailored by a talented team to small student groups, allow the pupils to progress with excellent results to top schools anywhere in the world.
With around 140 pupils and 40 teaching staff, the Swedish International School of Geneva is small enough to feel like a home away from home, where everyone knows each other and children can be themselves. Above all else, the focus is on growing a child’s self-esteem – valuing and respecting them for who they are. When pupils have a sense of security and community at school, it helps them develop a lifelong desire to learn.
The school is located in Meyrin, about 5kms from central Geneva. In the summer of 2017, the school moved to a new building in the eco-neighbourhood of Les Vergers, ready for the school start in August. The new premises give the children more space, and there are horses, chickens and rabbits living next door!
Les Vergers has been built with respect for the environment, and is surrounded by natural beauty. There is also easy access to a lake, swimming pool, ice rink and sports fields.
Swedish School of Geneva, edited by Tor Kjolberg
All images © Swedish International School of Geneva