From playgroup to primary school
There are many playgroups in Luzern, a few which are bilingual, offering to look after your child from age 2.5 until 5 (some will take younger children). These are privately run playgroups but the town will support parents with incomes of less than CHF 60 000.- a year. You can choose which playgroup you would like to send your child to.
Any child who turns 5 before November 1st is eligible for a place in kindergarten. Luzern also offers an “early kindergarten” year as long as the child proves to be relatively independent (can dress themselves, are potty trained and can walk to school by themselves), meaning that your child could integrate in February already instead of August. The town will decide which kindergarten your child will be sent to.
Primary school begins at age 6 (November 1st rule applies) and lasts 6 years, again the town will place your child in the school of their choosing.
If your child does not speak sufficient German they will take part in the Deutsch Als Zweitsprache (German as second language) class. These can take place during school hours but sometimes after hours, and in some cases, the child will be sent to a special school in order to intensively learn the language before integrating the regular school.
Regular school hours tend to be from 8.15 to 11.45 and then again from 13.45 to 15.20 (sometimes extra classes are added). Children are expected to go home for lunch. The city does provide before and after school supervision as well as lunchtime care but you have to apply well in advance for this as the classes tend to fill up relatively quickly.
More information can be found at the Lucerne canton’s education website: www.volksschulbildung.lu.ch