Interview with School Director and owner, Judith Ravas

Hands on Kids
School Director and owner, Judith Ravas

What makes Hands-On Kids International different from other international schools?

The main thing that makes us different from other schools is our small, family-like atmosphere. We strive to make sure everyone who walks through our doors feels welcome and are met with a smile and a personal, first name basis, greeting. Our team is committed to providing a warm and encouraging atmosphere, and we have the flexibility to provide additional care as needed, very often on short notice as well.

 “Hands-On Kids” seems like a strange name for a day care and school. What is the reasoning behind it?

Hands-on means “learning by doing”, which is the basis of our school’s concept. Children are taught how to do life skills such as tying their shoes or brushing their teeth, as well as cognitive concepts like reading, writing, and math through hands-on activities. Studies in brain development support that children who have opportunities to manipulate objects like blocks and Legos or who frequently go to the forest where they can interact with nature have a better foundation in math and science than those who are expected to sit in a classroom and learn by rote. Furthermore, children who have the opportunity to learn languages through immersion at a young age are more likely to be able to speak those languages without an accent later in life, which in our case, happen to be German and English.

Aren’t children under a lot of stress to learn at such a young age?

At our school, a lot of learning takes place when children are having fun, so stress is not even in the equation!  Children are given age-appropriate materials to manipulate and through play, discover basic concepts which are essential for making connections to learning concepts at a later time. For example, children are given playdough with different textures and colors. While they are experimenting with it, a teacher is using language to enrich the experience through questions like “Would you like to play with the orange or the blue playdough?” or “Feel how soft this playdough is…does the other dough feel the same? How is it different?” Years later, when children are learning, for example, about adjectives in primary school, these early experiences with playdough and language enrichment will be recalled and the children can make connections to past experiences, thus making lessons in grammar easier to grasp.

When did Hands-On Kids International Preschool open its doors?

Hands-on Kids was founded in August 2002 as an English preschool with after school programs as well. Since then, the school has grown to include a bilingual daycare, kindergarten and primary school, with after school classes still being held primarily in English.

Did you establish the school?

No. I started working at the school in October 2002 as a teacher, but was offered to take over the school in 2012, which I was pleased to do. Under my guidance, the daycare and primary school received official certification and were approved by the local authorities, which of course, I am very proud of.


Hands-On Kids

Hands-On Kids

Rütlistrasse 21, 8307 Effretikon, Switzerland

T: +41 (0)52 347 01 20   F: +41 (0)52 347 01 21


Welcome to our bilingual daycare, preschool, kindergarten, after-school and primary first grade school at Hands-On Kids International Preschool in Effretikon. Our commitment is to provide high quality and positive nursery, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and primary school experiences in English and in German. 

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