Teaching & Learning - Primary
In Grades 1-5 in the Lower School, our students are engaged in learning that inspires them to want to investigate further, to understand more fully, to apply learning and to become enthusiastic and passionate participants in their varying environments; school, local, global and virtual.
Our students come together from a diversity of cultures, nationalities, experiences, understandings, linguistic backgrounds and identities. As a PYP Authorized school, we aim to use a global perspective as our context for learning, engaging our students in reflection on their place, role and responsibility as participants within this diverse environment both within and outside of school and to be resilient throughout life.
At ISL, we recognise and respect the diversity of our learners in terms of background, culture, language, gender, interests, readiness to learn, modes and rates of learning, confidence and independence as learners.
All learning at ISL is governed by 8 Key Principles that are aligned with the Primary Years Programme (PYP). We believe that:
- The goal of learning is to gain lasting understanding
- Learning with understanding is enhanced by self-assessment, reflection and thinking about the way we think
- Learning with understanding is facilitated when students construct meaning around the major concepts and principles of a discipline, make connections among the disciplines and apply trans-disciplinary skills
- Learners benefit from continuous assessment that provides clear, thorough and individual feedback
- Learners learn most effectively when they take an active role through inquiry, analysis, problem solving and discovery
- Learners learn best when they are appropriately challenged, interested in the material, find it relevant and are confident that success is within their grasp
- Learners learn in many different ways, have diverse abilities which are most effectively addressed when teachers differentiate instructional opportunities
We recognise that students differ as learners in terms of background, culture, language, gender, interests, readiness to learn, modes of learning, speed of learning, support systems for learning, self-awareness as a learner, confidence as a learner and independence as a learner.
These differences profoundly impact how students learn and the support they will need at various points in the learning process. Teachers create flexible, rich learning environments and construct learning experiences based on what they know about each of their learners in order for each student to continue to develop further.
Teaching and Learning at ISL is based on the Primary Years Programme (PYP) framework.
The PYP curriculum framework begins with the premise that students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritises people and their relationships to build a strong learning community.
ISL is an authorized Primary Years Programme school. We are among a community of schools that share a common philosophy—a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education that we at ISL believe is important for our students.
We use the standards and benchmarks from the PYP and AERO to define what we believe to be the most important understandings, concepts, knowledge and skills our students should attain at particular stages in their learning development. In order to meet the needs of our international student population, the curriculum brings in the best of national and PYP standards to ensure rigour and rich learning. The framework for student learning and development of Units of Inquiry is informed by these standards and benchmarks.
The Primary Years Program (PYP) is an educational framework designed for children aged three to twelve years. It is a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is a globally recognized education system. The PYP focuses on developing the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills of the children, preparing them for a successful future.
The PYP curriculum is centered around six transdisciplinary themes, which are explored through different subjects such as language, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. The themes are designed to be relevant to the real world, allowing students to apply their learning to real-life situations.
In addition to the academic curriculum, the PYP also focuses on the development of key skills such as critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. These skills are essential for success in the 21st century, where the ability to adapt to change and solve complex problems is crucial.
Overall, the PYP provides a well-rounded education that prepares children for the challenges of the future. If you are interested in enrolling your child in an international school that follows the PYP curriculum, it is important to research and choose a school that aligns with your values and goals for your child's education.
- Learner Profile
- Approaches to Learning Skills
- Units of Inquiry
- Physical Education
IB Learner Profile
As an IB PYP School, the Learner Profile provides the framework for the development of learners that are internationally minded that recognise our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet to help.
IB learners strive to be:
We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others.We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.
We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.
The International Baccleaurate’s Approaches to Learning Skills (ATLs) are the skills students use to “learn how to learn.” These skills support the development of learner agency by encouraging students to set effective goals, self-regulate their actions, reflect on and monitor their progress, and to develop a growth mindset. All teachers in the Lower School are responsible for the development of these skills.
- Social Skills: Interpersonal relationships, social and emotional intelligence
- Thinking Skills: Analyzing, evaluating, formulating decision, generating novel ideas, considering new perspectives, information transfer, reflection and metacognition, wondering and asking questions
- Research Skills: Formulating & Planning, Data Gathering & Recording, Synthesising & Interpreting, Evaluating & Communicating, Media Literacy, Ethical use of media/information
- Communication Skills: Listening, Interpreting, Speaking, Reading, Writing, ICT
- Self Management Skills: Organization, mindfulness, perseverance, emotional management, self motivation, resilience, goal setting
The ATLs are explicitly taught and embedded into the units of inquiry as well as across the curriculum. They are the tools that students apply to their personal, social and academic learning. These skills are developed throughout the entire school from Early Years to the IB Diploma Program.
In the Primary Years Program (PYP), units of inquiry are the central focus of the curriculum.
Units of inquiry are designed to be transdisciplinary, meaning they draw upon multiple subject areas and encourage students to make connections between different disciplines. Each unit of inquiry has a central idea, which is the broad idea that students will explore during the unit.
Each year, students engage with the 6 units of inquiry (4 in Early Years and Kindergarten) that cover a wide range of concepts under the broad themes of:
- Where we are in place and time
- How the world works
- Who we are
- How we express ourselves
- Sharing the Planet
- How we organize ourselves
The central idea is supported by a set of key concepts and related lines of inquiry, which help students delve deeper into the central idea and explore it from different lenses.The 7 Key Concepts of PYP are:
- Form: what is it like?
- Function: how does it work?
- Change: how is it changing?
- Perspective: what are the points of view?
- Responsibility: what is our responsibility?
- Connections: how are things related?
- Causation: who is it like it is
During a unit of inquiry, students might engage in activities such as reading and discussing texts, conducting experiments and investigations, creating projects and presentations, and participating in class discussions and debates. Through these activities, students develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication.
Overall, the goal of units of inquiry in a PYP school is to provide students with a rich and engaging learning experience that helps them develop a deep understanding of the world around them and the skills they need to navigate it.
In a PYP school, teachers work to create a literacy-rich environment in which students have opportunities to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills inorder to become skilled and confident communicators and imaginative, productive and empathetic members of a changing, information-rich global society.
At ISL Students will:
- Understand and use the power of language and literature to inspire, inform, persuade, evoke and entertain, for the benefit of themselves and others
- Develop the capacity to examine ideas and arguments critically and to respond to them in a clear and increasingly sophisticated manner
- Use language as one of the essential tools for creative expression
- Recognise and work with a wide variety of texts and media; understanding function, content and purpose
- Develop awareness of different cultural contexts and experiences, and of the capacity of language to reflect and explore these
- Develop the proficiency in English necessary to achieve success across the curriculum
To support the development of literacy through an inquiry and agency-driven lens, ISL utilizes the Teacher’s College Readers and Writers Workshop model within the PYP context. In the reader's workshop, students have the opportunity to read a wide range of texts and to engage in activities that support their reading comprehension and fluency. In writer's workshop, students have the opportunity to write for a variety of purposes and audiences and to engage in activities that support their writing skills.
Reader's and writer's workshop typically involve several key elements:
- Mini-lessons: These are brief, focused lessons that introduce students to new skills or strategies related to reading or writing.
- Independent work: This is time for students to read or write independently, using the skills and strategies they have learned during the mini-lessons.
- Conferencing: This is time for teachers to meet with individual students or small groups to discuss their reading or writing and provide feedback and support.
- Sharing: This is time for students to share their reading or writing with their classmates or the whole class.
These workshops are integrated into the curriculum in a variety of ways. For example, a teacher might use reader's workshop to support the development of reading skills during a unit of inquiry on a specific topic, or they might use writer's workshop to help students write texts related to a particular unit of inquiry.
Overall, the goal of reader's and writer's workshop in a PYP school is to provide students with a rich and engaging learning experience that helps them develop their literacy skills and to use language as a tool for learning, thinking, and expressing themselves.
It is the goal of the International School of Luxembourg to equip each student with the skills, knowledge, and understanding of Mathematics and to see the importance of Mathematics in the real world. We seek to teach the fundamental concepts of Mathematics as well as the critical thinking skills necessary to use that knowledge wisely. AT ISL, we believe that:
- Mathematics is accessible to all students
- Students learn in a variety of ways necessitating experience with a range of instructional strategies
- Students learn more effectively when they communicate and explain their mathematical thinking and understanding verbally, in writing, through diagrams and practical demonstrations
- The development of Mathematical ability involves the learning of procedural skills, reasoning, understanding and problem solving, with an emphasis on real world situations
- Students learn through questioning, exploration and investigation of mathematical concepts using a range of strategies
Our Early Years 3/4 to Grade 12 programme recognises the following as key instructional practices in teaching Mathematics:
- Teachers challenge students to continually develop and demonstrate their understanding
- Teachers develop student understanding when they move from the concrete to the abstract using a wide range of manipulative and visual materials
- Teachers enhance knowledge by providing regular practice of key concepts and skills, including mental mathematical skills
- Teachers provide a consistent mathematical vocabulary that recognises the universal nature of mathematics. Teachers give students opportunities in mathematics to develop and use language widely in classroom activities
- Teachers integrate appropriate use of technology
- Teachers provide a wide variety of assessment experiences to measure and improve student understanding
At ISL, students communicate thought and experience through the acquisition of languages in a multilingual, multicultural community. Students learn languages in a safe and caring environment supported by a relevant and challenging learning programme. Acquiring other languages develops transferable skills that enable students to become life-long learners.
The key objectives of the ISL Language Acquisition Programme are:
- use target languages as a tool for communicating in a variety of authentic settings
- develop insight into languages, leading to a greater understanding of self and other cultures
- actively participate in a learning environment that is challenging, intellectually relevant and emotionally safe
- participate in the local and global community
The Lower School French programme (Early Years – Grade 5) provides opportunities for children to develop basic communication skills as they learn to appreciate other languages and cultures. We respect the developmental aspects of the child by concentrating on oral and aural competency in the early years and introducing reading and writing as first-language literacy becomes established. We believe that a developmentally sound approach to language learning will ensure that our students attain competence and confidence in their ability to communicate in French.
Students participate in a variety of activities that support different learning styles and rates. These might include role-playing, “Total Physical Response”, rhymes, songs, games, reading stories or factual texts, filming, recording, dictations, puzzles, projects, videos, computer-based learning or interactive white board lessons. Many of these same techniques are also used to assess student progress in the skill areas of speaking and listening, reading, writing, research skills and cultural development.
French instruction begins in Early Years 4 beginning in an exposure model with classes grouped by ability beginning in Grade 1. Although ours is a foreign language programme, we do our best to accommodate native speakers.
In the Primary Years Program (PYP), the arts are an integral part of the curriculum. The arts are understood to include a range of creative and expressive activities, such as music, dance, drama, visual arts, and media arts.
In a PYP school, the arts are integrated into the curriculum in a variety of ways. For example, students might:
- Engage in artistic expression: Students have opportunities to create and perform in a range of artistic media, such as music, dance, drama, and visual arts. They might create their own compositions, performances, or works of art, or they might interpret the works of others.
- Explore the elements of the arts: Students learn about the fundamental elements of the arts, such as form, line, color, and texture, and how these elements can be used to create meaning and expression.
- Analyze and interpret the arts: Students learn to analyze and interpret works of art, music, dance, and drama from different cultures and historical periods. They might also learn to reflect on their own artistic expression and the expression of others.
- Use the arts as a tool for learning: Students use the arts as a tool for learning and expression across all subject areas. For example, they might use music to learn math concepts, or they might use drama to explore social studies concepts.
The goal of the arts at ISL is to help students develop their creativity, self-expression, and appreciation for the arts. Through the arts, students learn to communicate and express themselves in new and meaningful ways, and they develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity.
At ISL we believe the Arts positively stimulate, inform and empower human development. Engagement in the Arts promotes creativity, self-expression, self-discipline, problem-solving, social interaction and an understanding of the human condition. We aim to inspire all students to develop their artistic literacies in positive learning environments through exploration, application, analysis and critical reflection. We encourage a lifelong appreciation for the relevance of the Arts in our lives.
Art is an integral part of the Lower School curriculum. Within our programme Lower School students are encouraged to experiment with a variety of media, techniques and processes in order to learn skills for self-realisation through visual expression. The art program leads increasingly to an interdisciplinary study where inquiry in art is woven, when applicable, into the class Units of Learning. Our art programme aims to develop visual awareness and creative expression providing the students with an opportunity to talk and write about art in the manner of artists, art critics and art historians.
Creativity and skills development are at the heart of our programme. Students learn to coordinate their hands and minds in explorations of the visual world as well as to evaluate the merits of their efforts. They learn to make choices that enhance communication of their ideas. Their natural inquisitiveness is promoted, also the value of perseverance. Students are further encouraged to express their sense of joy and their continued desire to learn as they make and share their works of art with others. Students from grade one to grade five attend art classes taught by specialist teachers. Art is integrated into the Early Years Program by the classroom teachers.
From as early as Early Years 3, Lower School Students participate in regular music classes. All students are encouraged to sing, dance, improvise and perform through a sequential music curriculum. Students participate in concerts, musicals and other performances at least twice during the school year. Students begin to learn the recorder in Grade 2, learning to read music in preparation for the Beginner Band Programme which the students can opt to take part in from Grade 4. Creative intelligence is developed through projects and compositions.
Physical Education (PE) is an integral part of a student’s education. It makes a great contribution to the health, growth and physical development of the student by teaching skills and concepts for everyday living. Through specific activities, individual, team and life sports PE assists students in developing physical qualities, motor skills and health related fitness.
In Preschool through to Grade 2, students have the opportunity to explore basic body actions to help them understand their body’s movements. They are introduced to social games to extend their vocabulary and practice control and coordination of their body.
In Grades 3-5, students have the opportunity to participate in a mix of activities that develop gross motor skills in; striking and fielding, net games, invasion games and life skills. The Physical Education programme aims to encourage students to become lifelong physically educated learners. Swimming lesson within the PE classes are provided for students in Grades 3-5.