There’s an outstanding school in the heart of one of the prosperous countries in the world. It is a school that enables young people to meet and learn about people from different nations, their cultures, and their values. It is an establishment located in a natural environment where education focuses on the whole person as an individual. It helps students find their talents and recognize their intellect while guiding them towards success. It’s a school that has preserved a tradition of nurturing its pupils and helping them grow into accomplished adults equipped for the modern world.
At The Knowledge Review, it’s an honor for us to present you Institut Montana Zugerberg, a school with a long history of leading its students towards their individual path of excellence. The school seeks to ignite its students’ curiosity and brings out the best in every individual.
History Worth Remembering
Institut Montana’s history goes back to the early 20th century. When he set it up, Dr. Max Husmann, the school’s founder, dreamt of a school surrounded by nature. A school with a caring environment that would encourage young people to grow into global citizens with an appreciation for the cultural diversity that enriches human society. With these ambitions, this school in the heart of Switzerland opened its doors on May 3rd, 1926.
By 1937, Institut Montana had become a much-loved Swiss International boarding school. The school grew larger and became home to over 200 students. At that time, its infrastructure included science laboratories and workshops, sports fields, and a huge swimming pool. But its development came to a halt during World War II.
After emerging from the harmful consequences of the war, the school came back and continued its mission to educate young people to become global citizens. It was awarded IB World School status in 1987. Today, Institut Montana offers a combination of Swiss and international academic programs in a location of outstanding natural beauty and within easy reach of Zurich.
The 60-acre campus is on the Zugerberg, where forests and pastures rise above the city of Zug. With panoramic views across the lake to snow-capped mountains and water from their own spring, it’s an inspiring place to study. The two main school buildings were originally elegant hotels for visitors. Tourists would come to enjoy the Zugerberg’s healthy air. Today these buildings have been renovated to provide spacious and comfortable facilities for a modern school while retaining their historic charm.
Freedom of Choice
Institut Montana’s motto – ‘My Place to Grow’ – sums up its vision. The idea of growth has a long educational history based on the belief that learning is holistic.
The school’s mission is to help all students grow healthily: intellectually, emotionally, and physically. It views each one of its pupils as an individual with their own talents and the school’s aim is to help each one find their path and to nurture personal growth. To help achieve these goals, Institut Montana maintains a high ratio of teachers to students.
The school’s emblem, an olive branch and the planet earth, represents the Spirit of Montana. It is sustained by the joy of learning, the celebration of tolerance and integrity, and the warmth of lasting friendships that reach out across the globe.
Students at Institut Montana have different options to pursue their paths:
The Bilingual Elementary School uses a curriculum based on the Canton of Zug and is delivered in English and German. It teaches basic skills of language, numeracy, and ICT literacy, at the same time as nurturing creativity.
The Bilingual Secondary School bases its program on the Lehrplan 21, a newly formulated Swiss skill-based curriculum opening opportunities for future studies or career paths. It is delivered in English and German.
The Swiss High School is for students to work towards the Swiss Matura. It teaches the curriculum in German and there is a bilingual option where some subjects are taught in English.
At the International School, early grades follow the Cambridge Lower Secondary and IGSCE programs, a strong foundation for international education. The final two years of the school follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs (IBDP), a respected qualification that opens the doors of prestigious universities around the world.
Summer Sessions is a summer school combining learning with fun. Intensive classes in English or German and afternoon workshops in business and leadership, science and technology, and creativity and the arts.
A Fostering Environment
Since the beginnings of Institut Montana, its teaching culture has been centered around the development of individual students and fostering their learning skills. There is a strong system of individual support with learning and languages. At the end of the school day, subject ateliers help students to develop good study habits and provides them with individualized learning support.
Institut Montana welcomes students from all around the world. They quickly settle into the international learning environment.
The school has traditional roots but also believes in looking forward and has adapted to modern educational practice, making good use of online platforms such as Managebac. The teaching approach focuses on motivation, using inspiring initiatives such as Project Weeks to create an environment where students are thoroughly engaged with their learning.
A full range of extracurricular activities is available at Institut Montana. The long list includes usual sports as well as golf, Zumba dance, climbing, archery, mountain biking and yoga. Along with these, there are options for science and technology, textile design, entrepreneurship and chess. There are also courses in mental resilience and well-being, preparing students for real-world challenges.
Returning to Alma Mater
Leaders are often people who value their early experiences. But only a few get the opportunity to lead the institution that contributed to their development into the adults they became. Alexander Biner, Director and Chairman of the Board of Institut Montana is one such individual who now serves the school of which he is an alumnus.
After acquiring extensive experiences throughout his career, Mr. Biner finally decided to pursue his passion for education. He believes strongly in the school’s founding values and its unique educational environment. When asked about his views about the school, Mr. Biner answered, “I grew up at this school, as did my brother and later my son. It was our home away from home. Here on the Zugerberg, we grew healthily: breathing clean air, studying under the guidance of great teachers while learning to use our minds for more than passing exams. We made friendships that would last for life.”
Immersing and Empowering Students
Institut Montana strives to maintain an environment where its students learn by doing. The IB CAS program offered by the school is an immersive way for young people to be involved in worthwhile projects that aim to help the local community as well as overseas initiatives. These projects aim to encourage students to grow up as compassionate adults.
Institut Montana’s college counseling service guides students as they identify their talents and ambitions and seek out courses of interest at universities worldwide. This process begins early so that students can understand the entry requirements with ongoing guidance about the best ‘fit’ for their academic profiles and aspirations. It also advises students on personal statements, appropriate work experience, and internships. The school provides full support throughout the application period, including a post-IB results service for students to ensure all can graduate with an appropriate university placement.
At Institut Montana, school is about more than exams. They explain that there is a wealth of knowledge, skills to learn, challenges to overcome, experiences to enjoy, that come together to shape students into the adults they will become. It structures the school life on the three pillars –
Internationalism:”If young people learn to understand and respect cultures other than their own, the blind prejudices of nationalism and racism could be eradicated. They could rebuild our world on tolerance and peace. These are the global citizens the world needs.”
Individualism:”If young people are treated as valued individuals if their differences are honoured, their unique talents, and strengths are brought to light, they will grow confident and mentally strong. These are the well-rounded individuals the world needs.”
Integration:”If young people grow healthily in a supportive, multi-cultural community, then mutual respect and harmony become attainable. These are the thoughtful, compassionate human beings the world needs.”
An Inspiring Message
Institut Montana believes that it is educating young people to be prepared for the modern world. As the school puts emphasis on the learning process, it encourages young people to focus on their creativity and to develop a love for learning. It wants them to develop into independent thinkers, who can cut through the noise to understand what is really important. It also urges them to follow the words of its founding father, ”People should learn to get along together.”
Lighting the Road Ahead
Looking towards its Centenary in 2026, Institut Montana is planning to upgrade its infrastructure, to develop its curriculum to focus on the needs of the 21st century and to continue to help young people with diverse aptitudes, talents and cultural backgrounds to strive for excellence. A key part of the plan is to turn its Chalet Suisse (first built to represent Switzerland at the 1906 World Trade Fair in Milan) into a Learning Incubator for special projects that go beyond the classroom. Comprising of well-designed spaces, it will provide a Center for Entrepreneurship, facilities for Science and Technology, Media-Lab and conference areas. With the innovative atmosphere of a startup, it will inspire students to develop their experimental approach. This concept will prepare them for the world beyond school and may finally help bring about the world peace that Dr. Husmann dreamed of.