Our Gymi Curriculum Focus

Gymnasium in Küsnacht (Canton Zurich)

Tandem IMS's Gymnasium’s (secondary level ) pedagogical concept focuses on student-centred learning, collaboration, open-mindedness, creative and critical thinking, and values such as empathy, honesty, responsibility, and helping others. These objectives will be a vital focus of all work at Tandem IMS Gymnasium as we aim to prepare the next generations to take action, responsibility and become involved in and for their future communities. 

Our educational approach prioritises personalised guidance for each student, while also emphasising their role within the broader community. In a world influenced by social media with often a focus on individual success stories of wealth and personal appearance, we wish to integrate digital technologies to redirect attention towards sustainable and humanitarian goals. 

By nurturing a mindset that values collective well-being over self-centeredness, we empower students to use their knowledge and skills for social projects - for others, as well as for themselves. Our goal is to cultivate socially conscious and responsible individuals who can positively impact society through their future studies, careers, and life engagements, ultimately fostering a more compassionate and sustainable world.

In addition, the programme emphasises multilingualism and multiculturalism, which has been the strength of Tandem IMS for two decades. We enable students to approach various cultural, social and economic topics from a very broad and international perspective.

Design Studies

This specific pathway is based on well-known curricula already implemented in many international countries at secondary level and is also part of the Diploma programme of the International Baccalaureate. Offering it as part of a Matura programme is a first in Canton Zurich. 

The Design Studies pathway at our school equips students with essential skills for today's changing technological world. Our curriculum especially blends design thinking, problem-solving, and technical expertise to address real-world challenges. We encourage students to develop a wide and diverse range of practical design and technology skills with extensive equipment at their disposal.

  • Students gain hands-on experience in areas such as product design, architecture, interior design, as well as visual digital technologies such as educational game design or digital music. 
  • Students explore design history, basic marketing and communication skills like visual communication, user-centric approach, aesthetics, and branding.
  • Students develop an understanding of engineering design by applying all of the above skills and principles to explore innovative solutions in the medical field, to find sustainable solutions to environmental problems and to respond to humanitarian crises or sustainable human life cycles.
  • The crossover with in-depth IT development is equally at the heart of the whole experience with for example practical IT design applications such as CAD software, website and app designs, as well as other IT foundation skills for example in coding, robotics, automation and of course AI integration.
  • Industry collaborations and internships enhance students’ understanding of practical applications and prepare them for success in various industries.

Humanitarian Studies

The whole of Tandem IMS, especially at Gymnasium level, implements a philosophy of “Humanitarian Action and Sustainability”. We recognise the significance of non-profit organisations in society, both locally and globally. This philosophy aims to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of complex issues affecting sustainability, including poverty, health, education, and human rights.

These lessons will include many similarities to the subjects of the traditional Swiss Gymi profile “Wirtschaft und Recht”, yet it will differ in that the focus is on Non-Profit organisations and addressing humanitarian studies instead.

By fostering open-minded, responsible and committed young individuals, the curriculum aims to develop informed and engaged citizens capable of making a positive impact on the world. 

This innovative approach prepares students also for the non-profit sector or for fields like international relations, diplomacy, journalism, and environmental studies. Students will:

  • Understand the history, trends, and challenges of the non-profit sector, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and their relevance, fair trade principles, ethical and sustainable businesses in different countries around the world. Explore how language, culture and tradition influence them.
  • Learn basic international legal frameworks, budgeting and fundraising techniques as well as basic project management, evaluation and reporting skills. 
  • Analyse and develop an understanding for social issues whilst exploring their root causes and potential solutions through case studies of humanitarian crises.
  • Gain practical skills in project management, communication, leadership and ethics, which are vital for NGO work.
  • Explore sustainability through three main pillars: environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Our offer and how we differ from other Gymnasiums 

  • We strive to create a unique curriculum by combining elements from the Canton of Zurich's Gymnasium curricula with inputs from international curricula. Our approach emphasises student-centred and enquiry-based learning, promoting project-based work instead of traditional knowledge transfer or traditional assessment methods.
  • We offer the Swiss path of study leading to an Eidgenössische Matura / Maturité Fédérale, focused on modern languages with a far greater emphasis on English and French. We will also offer an awareness for multiple other languages. 
  • We provide students with the option to choose between the two tracks: German-English, and German-French (with the aim to later offer French-English). Moreover, all students will engage in specialised projects within a main innovative academic focus on Design Technology.
  • This pathway will be supported by lessons in Humanitarian Studies.
  • We specifically encourage students to direct their Design Technology projects towards humanitarian and ecological solutions.

Community Projects

Volunteering with NGOs, promoting sustainability and taking part in cultural exchanges will be a part of the programme and greatly encouraged. Gymnasium students will engage in community service projects, fostering essential skills like multiculturalism, leadership and problem-solving while positively impacting their community and developing key multilingual skills. The approach connects their work to real-world issues, boosting motivation and engagement. Objectives include hands-on experience, empathy development, and projects focused on conservation and humanitarian initiatives. 

Correlation of Design Technology with Humanitarian Studies

Tandem IMS Gymnasium links Design Technology to Humanitarian Studies by focusing on human-centred design principles and sustainable design practices. This includes considering user needs, accessibility, and the environment to create inclusive and eco-friendly products as well as innovative solutions with an open-minded and multicultural perspective.