THE BEST LEARNING CAN TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE
PRIMARY YEARS PROGRAMME AT SIS
At Sotogrande we recognise how important those first years of school are. Children are welcomed into the family and made at once to feel safe and at home in their new environment. Our primary staff have years of experience between them; a real knowledge of how to teach effectively and a genuine affinity with young children to help them develop.
Our primary years programme focuses on the development of the whole child, not only in the classroom but also in the outside world, through a multitude of exciting learning environments. We offer a framework that meets children’s spiritual, academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs.
Our primary school follows the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP). The IBPYP is an integrated approach to teaching and learning that balances the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action.
At the heart of the IBPYP is a commitment to using structured inquiry as a vehicle for learning. In this way, students are encouraged to generate questions as well as respond to them. We strive to inspire a spirit of inquiry in the students and to prepare them for international citizenship.
At SIS we believe that some of the best learning can take place outside the classroom, so we take young students out on a day trips to make the most of what our environment can offer: sea, mountains, Roman ruins, Buddist temples, Rock tunnels, local history, fire-stations, farms. As they progress through the Primary school, trips will be further afield, and will involve overnight stays.
OUR LEARNING STRENGTHS
At SIS we recognise that the learning of more than one language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for all children. All primary students at SIS receive tuition in Spanish and in early childhood years all teachers are bilingual. Students new to the Spanish language begin by developing conversational skills and an understanding of Spanish culture. Students at higher levels are able to further develop linguistic competence and native speakers of Spanish follow the curriculum guidelines of the Spanish Ministry of Education.
INFORMATION & TECHNOLOGY
At SIS we believe that you are never too young to start learning computer skills. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills are taught throughout the primary school, from the age of 3. Our ICT programme encompasses the use of a wide range of digital tools, media and learning environments.The programme provides opportunities for students to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize and be responsible for their own learning and actions. All classrooms are well equipped with computers, interactive whiteboards and laptop trolleys, and children are coached in using the internet and the latest software.
The PYP provides a structure of expectations for primary maths in four phases of development. Each of these phases builds upon and complements the previous one. The phases are divided into five strands: number, pattern and function, data handling, measurement and shape and space. Wherever possible, mathematics is taught through the relevant, realistic context of the unit of inquiry. When this is not achievable, mathematics is taught as a stand-alone subject.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Our PE timetable includes gymnastics, dance and games, and for children in P1-P6, weekly swimming lessons in the warmer months. Outdoor sports include football, hockey, rounders and athletics. There is a huge variety of extracurricular clubs and activities on offer for Primary students, enabling even our very youngest students to engage in something different from their usual daytime activities. From sports clubs to music to cookery, there is something for everyone! SIGA, our own fully-federated golf club offers first-class coaching to children from the age of six.
The use of the five artistic disciplines; dance, drama, music, visual arts, and poetry to help individuals discover themselves through spontaneous art is known as “Expressive Art”. At SIS we focus on personalised learning, therefore the expressive arts provide an opportunity to explore the students’ sense of personal, social and cultural identity. These experiences help them to thrive in other academic learning areas, build confidence and improve communication.
WELCOME TO THE PYP
PRIMARY YEARS CURRICULUM
Our programme continually evolves as we strive for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of attitudes and the opportunity for action. It reinforces the pedagogy of authentic learning that is inquiry based and conceptually driven.
In terms of achieving this balance, the programme consists of five components. These are referred to as the essential elements of the written curriculum and are listed below.
Concepts and conceptual questions drive the way we teach and learn in a transdisciplinary context. Traditional subject areas of language, mathematics, science, social studies, art, personal, social and physical education supported by the use of ICT are all taught and practised through units of inquiry.
Key concepts are expressed as questions:
These are acquired through approaches to inquiry based learning. They are the skills of thinking, communication, social, research and self-management.
We describe the attitudes of international mindedness in and through our SIS values. Students develop attitudes of appreciation, cooperation, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.
Demonstrations of positive action and service. Students are encouraged to reflect, choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community.The action component culminates in the PYP exhibition.
The body of significant and relevant subject matter we wish students to explore and know about. The traditional subject disciplines are addressed in an integrated programme of inquiry arranged in six transdisciplinary themes. These themes provide the main structure for the school’s framework of content or Programme of Inquiry.
HOW WILL WE KNOW WHAT THE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED?
At SIS assessment is a collaborative process which occurs at all stages of the learning cycle. It is used to provide feedback on the learning process and judge the effectiveness of both teaching and learning.
A variety of assessment strategies are used in assessing the student’s progress. These include student-teacher consultation, structured observations, written assignments, performance tasks evaluated by means of assessment criteria and various forms of
student self assessment. The school also uses externally published, standardised test materials.
SIS recognises the importance of assessing the actual process of inquiry as well as the outcomes of inquiry and aims to integrate and support both. In accordance with PYP guidelines, we assess both formatively and summatively, that is to say we assess both the process and the end result to give a true picture of performance.
THE TWO ASSESSMENTS
Is a continuous assessment which aids the process of learning and measures how the child is progressing in a low stress way. This is interwoven into daily learning and it helps teachers and children plan each stage of learning. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked: neither can function effectively or purposefully without the other.
Takes place at the end of the teaching and gives the children opportunities to demonstrate what has been learned over the term, year or whole programme. It also aids teachers to analyse the effectiveness of their teaching and of the programme.
SIS stresses the importance of peer and self assessment and reflection.
In the final year of the our PYP, Primary 6 students undertake a collaborative, interdisciplinary inquiry process that requires identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real life issues and present their projects in the PYP Exhibition. As the culminating experience of the PYP, the exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning.