Founded in 1947, La Garenne International School is a leading primary boarding school located in the Swiss Alps. Owned and managed for two generations by the Méan family, our school is set in the charming French-speaking ski resort of Villars-sur-Ollon providing a secure picturesque environment for our students. Our philosophy is based on the traditional values of responsibility, kindness and security, which are key elements for a successful and balanced life.
Our school enjoys an exceptional location, perched at an altitude of 1’300m. Villars-sur-Ollon faces the sun whilst being refreshed by pure alpine air. Surrounded by majestic mountain peaks which include Mont Blanc, we overlook the Rhone Valley and the famous Swiss Riviera - Montreux, Lausanne and Geneva.
In addition to our regular school year, each winter we welcome young learners aged 8 to 14 years old. Along with our academic year students, the school body represents over 30 different nationalities from around the world. They enjoy our renowned authentic Swiss Style Winter Camp. A choice of sessions take place in January, February and March, during which campers experience a varied programme with language lessons in the morning - French or English taught from beginner to advanced levels - and every afternoon, Ski or Snowboarding, sports, cultural and leisure activities. Campers enjoy learning, playing, discovering and sharing in a warm abd reassuring family environment. Our ‘adult to student’ ratio is 1:2; these adults are teachers and monitors who are employed all year round by La Garenne, to ensure camps are safe and memorable.
Based on the traditional values of our Philosophy - "Be responsible, Never give up, Act kindly and Make an effort" - our mission is to offer academic excellence and original times, insure our campers experience an unforgettable stay in a warm international family environment, full of diverse opportunities, and in a safe location of exceptional surroundings, as in a home away from home. With this in mind, and the knowledge that no two children are alike, we promote respect, tolerance, politeness, challenging oneself and citizenship.
Switzerland, a country recognised for its stability and security, provides a healthy environment for your child(ren). La Garenne is equipped with the latest safety standards including safe play equipment.
The health of your child(ren) is of upmost importance to us. We have put in place some rules to ensure the daily well-being of each child. Known as the Four Pillars, these are a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, a variety of daily activities and a healthy mind.
We have chosen the ‘Eldora’ food specialist group to provide school meals. They are committed to delivering varied and balanced menus using high quality local products and guaranteeing the highest levels in food production, hygiene, preparation and storage.
We ensure that children sleep for 9 to 10 hours each night, in modern and comfortable rooms. Sports and leisure activities are daily and varied. Our professional team does its utmost to provide stability and pastoral care.
Switzerland is world renowned for the excellent medical training of its health professionals and the latest technologies in hospitals - which guarantee quality care. Given the close proximity to the local doctor, we are able to take care of an unwell child immediately when first symptoms of illness appear. The school benefits from a wide network of health specialists (orthodontists, dermatolo-gists, ophthalmologists and psychologists) who help us provide the best possible care of your child(ren). The paediatrics department of Aigle Hospital is 10 km from school, and the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) is 40 minutes away. A nurse is responsible of the daily health and well-being of the children in our care and staff members are trained in First Aid annually (BLS/AED).
Each academic year we welcome 80 boarding and 30 day students, aged from 4 to 14 years and from over 25 countries. La Garenne prides itself of an English-French bilingual approach, it gives students expertise in two languages. Students follow the English official national curriculum, from Reception to Year 8 (to Year 9 from 2017), taught in small classes by experienced teachers from the UK. The school aims also to develop a high level of mastery of the French language, even though the main language of study is English. All Junior students take lessons in French as a Foreign Language. The students are prepared for the official French language examinations, the DELF programme and for those students who are native speakers and those who have a strong level of French, we offer an optional programme called ‘Français renforcé’. Our French teachers are all mother-tongue French speakers and many other members of staff are highly proficient in French.
During both programmes, the regular school year and Winter Camp, we maximise opportunities in skiing, expeditions in the region, art and music, school trips, cultural excursions and offer teaching of over eight languages as part of the clubs.
An exciting renovation has been underway since 2008; most recently the dining hall and bedrooms in the main building. A state of the art new building ‘Academia’ opened in 2012 to serve the requirements of 21st century learning, and September 2016 will see the opening of an ambitious new building ‘Beau Site’, located just below ‘Academia’, providing high quality boarding accommodation, common areas and a multi-function room for leisure, drama, examinations and celebrations.
In addition to our regular school year and winter camps, each summer we welcome 90 young learners aged 5 to 13 years from more than 25 countries. They enjoy our renowned authentic Swiss Style Summer Camp, with French or English language courses each morning followed by fun cultural activities and themed evenings - all in a warm, reassuring family ambience.