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CDE Minnows

Ages 4½-6 | Day program


Our youngest CDE members, the Minnows, are exposed to English, or French through daily lessons. Teachers use songs, drama, and activities to learn vocabulary and phrases that they practice every day. 

Our 6-year-old Minnows can choose to stay for an extended day, in which the learning continues through reading and writing activities that support their emerging literacy skills, an introduction to STEAM principles in our Tiny Tinkering Lab, and interactions with older CDE students that help promote social and emotional growth.


Even our youngest students get to explore the wonders of Switzerland! Time off campus gives our Minnows a chance to be together in a new and safe environment. Favorite excursions include visiting an Alpine dairy farm, discovering the Bellinzona castles, going on a nature walk in the Montagnola woods, and exploring downtown Lugano.


Creativity is a necessity of childhood! The Minnows’ learning continues in our Exploration Room each morning, offering direct application of language-learning. Through play-based, child-directed activities, the children engage with language in the moment while learning content-based concepts in science, literacy, and culture. Minnows also participate in a variety of art projects using paints, collage, and clay, all of which are designed to help strengthen fine motor muscles. A special afternoon activity focuses on learning about a visual artist and replicating his or her style to create a new piece. The artwork is displayed during the Summer Arts Festival at the end of each session.

Another favorite activity for our Minnows is singing and playing instruments. Daily music classes teach songs and movements that are performed at each session’s Final Night event.


It never ceases to amaze us just how much a young child can change and grow in only a few weeks. The children learn about each other and create their own community in which each child is valued and supported by one another. We invite you to see for yourself!