Primary schoolchildren acquire and develop the basic skills and knowledge needed to further their education.
In Switzerland, compulsory education system is a cantonal responsibility. Differences between the cantons will be gradually erased as the result of the Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS), which came into force in 2009.
In most Swiss cantons, children attend kindergarten or pre-school from the age of four. It is compulsory and lasts two years.
The next stage is primary school which, in most cantons, lasts six years. During this time, children learn to read, write and count. They also acquire a basic knowledge of two other languages (usually a national language and English), and attend geography, history, art and music classes.
Various topics, such as the use of new media, health promotion, education for sustainable development or civic education, are often taught as integral parts of other subjects.