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Mother Tongue Language Programme


Many children today are growing up in a multilingual environment: they may speak one or two languages
with their parents at home, and English or another language at school. Multilingualism and intercultural
competencies are increasingly important in our globalised world as well as in our private and professional lives.

ISBerne has forged a partnership with the educational department of the canton of Berne. Through and in conjunction with the HSK (Heimatsprachliche Sprache und Kultur) ‘Mother Tongue’ classes are offered throughout the canton, enabling multilingual students to expand their skills, knowledge and understanding in their first language. This supplements the teaching of languages in their regular classes and positively affects respective learning processes.

The classes are offered 2-4 times per week at various locations in the Berne area, some of which are held at the ISBerne Campus.

In total, 400 courses are offered in more than 20 languages per week.

These are often conducted by embassies or parent organisations for the canton.

They provide an established curriculum which is controlled through the governmental agency AKVB (Amt für Kindergarten, Volksschule und Beratung) to ensure a comparable course quality across languages.

Available Languages

Please click on this link to see curriculum documentation (available in 21 languages):

These languages are currently available: Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Macedonian, Portuguese (Brazil/ Portugal), Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish (Latin America/ Spain), Tamil (TEF, TESS, Valluvan), Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Please note that these offerings are subject to change and languages may be added or dropped.

Registration is for one academic year. Course fees vary, some are free, some incur course fees. (Please note that these decisions are made by each non-profit organisation offering the courses and that ISBerne is not involved in setting course fees.)

Usually, sessions start around 4 p.m., but this can differ depending on language and location. Most courses are open to students from Kindergarten to Grade 10, although some may only accept students starting in Grade 1, 2, or older. Parents will receive a formal report once a year (Grades 1-6) or twice a year (Grades 7-10) from course teachers. The assessment report contains information on the working, learning and social behaviour as well as any progress made in the subject matter.

How To Register

Please follow these steps to register your child:

Step 1 – Go to this website:

Step 2 – Select a language, your preferred day, grade level, your preferred area in the canton of Berne and then choose “Anzeigen”.

If the displayed course times, location, etc do not suit you, you can widen the search by looking within the canton rather than a specific location.

There are four age groups available:

  • Kindergarten (KG1, KG2),
  • Primary School (G1-G6),
  • Secondary I (G7-9), and
  • Secondary II (G10).

Step 3 – Please see the list of coordinators on the following page and contact the person responsible for your selected language and course location to register your child by telephone or email.

In case you would like to look at a translated version of the HSK information flyer, please click on this link:

German will continue as a mother tongue option in Elementary School here at ISBerne because it is not
offered by the HSK program. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Languages Coordinator, Eric Müller, should you have any further questions.

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