Sylvia Leck

Filed in Guest Blogs by on February 3, 2012 0 Comments

Our Featured Guest Blog this month is an interview with Sylvia Leck, Academic Director of the Foundations for Learning in Zurich. A Service providing learning support to children of all ages.

Question: Sylvia,  I understand that your business Foundations for Learning is not so much a new service in Zurich anymore but one that is rapidly expanding. Do tell me first of all a little about why and how you set up the company?

Foundations For Learning has been in existence for nearly three years. I have worked as a learning support teacher for many years in England , Mexico, Singapore , Venezuela and Switzerland and am fascinated by the different ways that children learn. I decided to start the Foundation as I saw that even though many schools have outstanding Learning Support Departments the demand for Learning Support was growing rapidly. Many children need a little  extra support at one time or another and I wanted to offer a Zurich-wide support service where parents could find a range of options available in one place.

Question: And what about the new premises?  Will you still be working out of Witikon?

We are very lucky in that we now have three locations where we can work with children  Hinteregg, Witikonerstrasse 50 and now Waltikon, near Zumikon This means that we are able to work with children from many different parts of Zurich. In Waltikon we have just opened an extended support centre for children who have more complex needs. This centre is run in partnership with ICS international school. Children who need a personalized teaching programme for their academic subjects receive that in our new centre. They go to the main school for break and lunchtime to socialise with their peers and for subjects such as Art, Music, Drama and P.E.  We are very excited about being able to offer this new programme.

Question:  As well as helping children and teenagers, I understand that you are also running courses for adults now – what sort of courses are these?

We are now running a Teaching Assistant´s Course for people interested in working in schools as Teaching Assistants. The course is a year long and consists of 10 modules . We cover many different topics such as language development in children, reading, sensory integration and teaching maths. This year we are running our 3rd training course and we are so pleased that many of our participants have already gained employed in schools in Zurich. We also offer a wide range of training courses for teachers.. We are also looking to develop some workshops for parents and I would really welcome any suggestions from parents regarding  topics they think would be most useful and relevant for them.

Question: If parents feel that their child is falling behind in school work or not working to the best of his or her ability are there any tips that you can give them?

If parents have a concern that their child may be experiencing some difficulty in a particular aspect of their learning I would really urge them to write down their observations and to try to make them as specific as possible. For example it would be far more useful for teachers if parents wrote for example, ” My son seems able to decode words accurately but does not seem to understand what he reads ” compared to  ” My son is not a good reader”. Once you have made these observations it is important that these are shared with your child´s class teacher.

At Foundations For Learning we work closely with schools as it is so important that a cohesive system of support is in place for a child and all members of the child´s learning network need to work closely together. Parents can always call us at the Foundation for advice, without committing themselves to working with us in any way.

Sylvia can be contacted at the Foundations for Learning on +41 (0)78 912 61 55 of click here for the website.


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