"The Primary school community provides a diverse range of authentic opportunities both in and out of the classroom to engage children and make learning fun."
- Language Arts
- Language Acquisition
- Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
- International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
- Learning Support
- Physical Education (PE)
Mathematics is a powerful tool for describing and analysing the world around us to help us to solve problems. We aim to support students to appreciate the intrinsic fascination of mathematics and to explore the world through its unique perceptions.
Our programme aims to provide students with the opportunity to see themselves as ‘mathematicians’ by developing a growth mindset to mathematics, where they enjoy and are enthusiastic when exploring, inquiring and learning about mathematics.
At ISH, our mathematics curriculum supports a mastery approach to learning. ‘Maths Mastery’ is achieved through exploration, clarification, practice and application over time.
The aim is for students to be able to demonstrate a deep, conceptual understanding of a topic, as a way of thinking, rather than simply memorising key facts and procedures.
We believe that a mathematical concept or skill has been fully mastered when a student;
- can represent it in multiple ways
- has the mathematical language to reason and communicate related ideas
- can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations
When introduced to a new concept, be it fractions, measurement, or shape, children build competency by having the opportunity to develop their understanding of the concept. Children use manipulatives, before progressing to pictorial representations and then finally working confidently with a more abstract approach to key concepts.
Emphasis is placed on pre-assessment opportunities at the beginning of a unit to find out what children already know to determine where to start teaching.
Children use an inquiry approach to carry out mathematical investigations, where they can engage with ideas to develop their conceptual understanding, which can then be applied to new situations.
EAL Students and Mathematics
For the majority of learners who are new to English, there are many language demands for students to access mathematics lessons, and an understanding of the key features of mathematical language is essential for success in this subject area.
We support students by ensuring children have the mathematical vocabulary and concepts needed to engage with a unit. For example in Year 2, at the beginning of the ‘fractions’ unit, we would determine if children have an understanding of the concept ‘whole’ before launching into further learning.
We also allow students to conduct ‘number talks’ in their home language to help improve their understanding of both mathematical concepts and vocabulary. ‘Number talks’ are a strategy to build vocabulary and conceptual meaning around numbers.
They encourage students to problem solve by thinking visually, to calculate quickly and to use higher level thinking skills and flexibility in their use of mathematical strategies.
At ISH we aim for primary students to:
- gain reading skills for decoding, meaning making and research
- read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts
- become lifelong readers who read for pleasure and purpose
- see themselves as writers with something important to say
- write to inform, persuade and entertain
- develop knowledge and skills to support their writing
Language Arts instruction at ISH follows a ‘Workshop’ approach to the areas of reading, writing, and word study. This empowers students to see themselves as readers and writers capable of influencing others through the power of words. The Language Arts Curriculum is taught through Units of Study, which were developed by the Teachers’ College at Columbia University.
From EY1 - Year 6, students study three main genres of writing: narrative, informational and opinion. Within these genres, students may study more specific forms of writing, such as personal narratives, writing series fiction, lab reports, historical information writing, reviews and persuasive essays. Students are encouraged to write about topics and ideas which interest them, to write for a purpose, and to share their writing with the wider community. Students are taught to move through the writing process: generating ideas, planning, drafting, revising and editing their written work. Through this programme, students write with increasing stamina and accuracy, and learn to apply a range of craft skills to make their writing informative, interesting or persuasive.
We provide a text-rich environment, with access to high-quality literature through classroom books and the primary library. Students experience reading a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and develop their accuracy, fluency and comprehension in reading increasingly complex texts. We place an emphasis on book talk, with students sharing their reading with partners in younger years, and taking part in book clubs in upper year groups.
Word and Sentence Study
Students from EY-Year 3 follow Units of Study in Phonics, where they are taught the letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns that they use in their reading and writing. Years 4-6 continue this learning in Word and Sentence Study lessons, where they continue to learn English language spelling patterns, following the Words their Way curriculum. Explicit grammar instruction is also incorporated into Word and Sentence Study lessons.
EAL learners are supported by the use of mentor texts, small group instruction and translation tools. We place an emphasis on translanguaging for all learners, so that students develop understanding of concepts in both English and their home language(s).
Dutch is our host language and whilst living in the Netherlands, all students have the opportunity to learn Dutch. Children in all age groups learn Dutch from a specialist language teacher and in addition they explore the history, culture and geography of the Netherlands.
Understanding the local culture and its language supports our value of international and intercultural understanding, as well as complimenting our multilingual ethos.
The content of our unique, ISH Dutch curriculum is driven by the communication needs of the students and their language proficiency level.
Students who are speakers of Dutch will be supported to further develop and strengthen their social and academic understanding of the language. Children who are new to Dutch will be supported to acquire basic communicative competence in the language.
This is achieved through real and authentic experiences. In the words of Eowyn Crisfield, an expert in the field of language development:
The ultimate goals of host country language teaching are communication within the environment, and cultural connections to the host country. Neither of these are going to happen by memorising vocabulary, doing dictation, and completing worksheets. Understanding the host culture and having interactions with friends, neighbours, shopkeepers, requires real, living language experience. This is the root of developing international mindedness and global citizenship.
(Eowyn Crisfield, April 2018)
The degree of proficiency attained is strongly dependent on the student’s engagement with the Dutch language outside of the school context alongside the Dutch provision at school.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
The ISH curriculum is delivered in English to children of many nations, languages and cultures. We are very proud that our children come to us as multilingual learners with important experiences in other languages.
The role of our EAL teachers is to aid children in learning English, while supporting the development of their mother tongue and our host language, Dutch. This approach not only value where our children come from, they also accelerate their access to the school curriculum.
The ISH provides a full EAL programme to support English learners. In addition, all classroom teachers and assistants are trained in ways to help children participate in the school curriculum. We offer an environment in which children feel nurtured and comfortable whilst learning the language and skills they need to access the curriculum and build friendships.
As a truly international school the ISH is committed to the development of every child’s Mother Tongue. This is normally the language their parents have used to communicate with them since they were born, to tell them their first stories, to comfort them when they were afraid or hurt and is often the same language spoken by their grandparents.
Research has proven that a strong Mother Tongue contributes to the successful acquisition of new languages. It also provides children with access to their own culture and family background, giving status and value to their multi-lingual and cultural identity.
Within the curriculum the teachers ensure that on a weekly basis there are opportunities for children to use their Mother Tongue either individually or in groups. Children participate in a variety of meaningful learning opportunities, which include researching, preparing presentations and sharing their thoughts through speaking and listening activities.
This learning takes place predominantly through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) but increasingly teachers are identifying opportunities in other curriculum areas. Wherever possible the children are supported by their peers who share the same Mother Tongue. Secondary students also support the programme and we actively encourage parents and members of the wider ISH community to become involved.
We recognise that although our programme within the curriculum provides the children with an opportunity to use their Mother Tongue, there is limited scope for them to further develop their language skills. For this reason we also have an after school Mother Tongue programme.
During this programme the children concentrate on the expansion of their ‘Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency’ (CALP) and the development of their reading and writing skills. These skills are transferable between languages and are necessary for children to move beyond the social to the academic. We offer this programme in as many languages as possible although this is dependent on the availability of qualified tutors.
The aim of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) at ISH is to ensure all children have the knowledge, skills, and competencies to succeed in school and in life. The programme supports young people to become self-aware, caring and connected, responsible, engaged, and lifelong learners who work together to achieve their goals and create a more inclusive, just, and equitable world.
Social and emotional education is central to helping children acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions.
Research demonstrates that an education that promotes Social and Emotional Learning has a positive impact on a wide range of outcomes, including academic performance, healthy relationships and mental wellness.
At ISH we encourage pupils to have a mature and respectful appreciation for difference and diversity. Through discussions about what it means to be a global citizen, children engage critically with stereotypes and prejudices and develop an understanding of how we can celebrate our own heritage and home cultures, whilst also embracing the diverse culture of our communities.
The Social and Emotional Learning programme covers five core social and emotional competencies;
- Self awareness
- Self management
- Responsible decision making
- Relationship skills
- Social awareness
There are opportunities to integrate the Social and Emotional Curriculum in all elements of the ISH learning programme. In addition, social and emotional skills and attitudes are taught and practised through explicit instruction.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education
As part of the ‘Relationships Skills’ strand we equip children with knowledge, skills, attitude and values that will empower them to;
- realise their health, well-being, and dignity
- develop respectful social and sexual relationships
- consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others
- understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives
CSE is delivered through our ‘Spring Fever’ programme, which is a Dutch resource that offers an age appropriate method of acquiring the knowledge, attitudes and skills for relationship and health education.
The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is a comprehensive, child-centred curriculum, driven by inquiry.
In each unit, the teacher and students together engage in, and research concepts to develop key knowledge, skills and conceptual understandings. Students are encouraged to be curious, to think creatively and to build understandings that they can transfer to new situations. Units are carefully planned across the year groups from EY1 to Year 6 to ensure sufficient coverage of each of the IPC subject areas; science, history, geography, international, art, design, technology and innovation, ICT and health and wellbeing.
Through exploration and research, students learn how to collaborate, act with compassion and become global citizens.
In keeping with the overall philosophy and vision at ISH, the IPC curriculum supports your child’s sense of their own nationality and languages, as well as developing a strong respect for the nationalities and cultures of others.
At ISH, we strive to connect our learners to both the local and global environment. One way that we do this is by connecting our units of inquiry to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What does this look like in practice?
In EY1, the children study the unit ‘Our World’, where they develop knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding linked to the generalisation that;
‘Different habitats support a wide range of living things.’
Through exploration and study of a number of habitats in the local environment, they develop an understanding of how living things need to live in places that meet their needs. In addition, the children look at how they might want to make improvements to our school and community environment and explore ways that they can protect and conserve habitats in our community.
All children learn in different ways and at different rates. As a result it is sometimes necessary to provide additional support to individuals and groups of children to help them successfully access their learning.
Support in the classroom is provided by the class teacher and their teaching assistant through a differentiated programme.
In some cases the production of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are produced in conjunction with our Learning Support (LS) Team.
Our LS team uses the “response-to-intervention” approach, which seeks to prevent severe difficulties through early intervention, monitoring progress and increasingly intense intervention for children who continue to experience difficulty. We also engage the services of outside school professionals, agencies and Dutch institutions to support individuals and groups of children.
The LS team consists of learning support teachers and teaching assistants. We are a mainstream school and as a result are limited in the number of children and types of support we can provide for.
We offer a broad and balanced PE programme, designed to harness your child's natural energy, encouraging a love of physical education and sport for life-long engagement. The PE team at ISH support and guide children to develop competence and confidence in a range of physical activities to suit diverse needs. We actively promote an understanding of how the body works in action - challenging children to think, select and apply their new skills in a physical setting. The Physical Education programme promotes a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle, thereby building a strong base for children to make informed choices about physical activities now and in the future to develop an understanding of the importance of exercise for both body and mind.
Throughout the year all students work on the following units, adapting skills to their age level.
- Fundamental skills
- Team games
- Dance / Movement to music
- Games with simple rules
The PE department has access to sports facilities both indoors and outside. We also participate in yearly sports tournaments, events, sports days, local fun runs and musical and dance performances.
At ISH we know that music can have a positive effect on a child's learning and can engage their brains on a number of levels. We provide your child with the opportunity to listen, compose and perform in order to develop their inner musicality and creativity. Simply playing a musical instrument or listening attentively to music can have a positive impact on a children’s learning as a whole.
The aim of the music programme at The ISH is to enable each child’s musicality and creativity to blossom. Students are active music makers throughout the Primary years, from EY through to Year 6, experiencing music through performance, listening, exploration, improvisation and composition. The conceptual areas explored in lessons and units include:
- Beat and rhythm
- Pitch and melody
- Rhythmic and melodic patterns
- Texture (musical layers)
- Musical structures and form
- Lyrics and songwriting
- Chords and chords progressions
- Musical styles
- Mood, expression and communication
- Music in societies / an introduction to music history
The programme exposes children to diverse musical styles which include; classical, modern, jazz, world music, pop and blues music, allowing a deeper understanding of the diverse approaches to basic musical elements. Children listen to and identify music elements and are gradually introduced to musical terminology. The students also engage in vocal and instrumental performance tasks.
Music lessons offer the children an opportunity to approach new challenges, according to their creativity and curiosity. They can experiment and explore music composition, including the use of music technology, such as video, sound-editing and composing software. In particular, the students explore the expressive interaction and similarities between the Arts, focussing on the relationship between music and image within a narrative context (e.g. film music).
Our extracurricular programme enables children to further develop their musical interest and talents. These opportunities include;
- Year 3 - 4 Choir
- Year 5 - 6 Choir
- Primary Rock Band
- Primary Orchestra.
Through our approach to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) we emphasise the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world.
The children become empowered learners, innovative designers and knowledge constructors. We encourage global collaboration whilst also ensuring our students stay safe online through our Digital Leaders and Digital Citizens programmes.
ICT is integrated into every aspect of the curriculum to enhance your child’s learning experiences. Children use a wide range of ICT tools and information sources to support their work in other subjects.
Learners benefit from a central IT lab, as well as robotics and virtual reality resources, which pupils can use to support their learning across the curriculum. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and a set of iPads, allowing for individual and group work in the classroom. In Years 5 and 6, students have a 1:1 iPad programme.
Our children follow a skills progression from EY through to Year 6, with a focus on Digital Literacy. Your child will learn to use ICT tools to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment. This includes the ability to read and interpret media (text, sound, images), how to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, how to develop and adapt code, and how to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments.
Research skills are developed so that students can decide what information is appropriate for their work. They will begin to question the plausibility and quality of the information availability, enabling them to make educated judgements about information they find online.
Your child will learn how to use ICT to collaborate, communicate and create – all essential skills required for the 21st century.
The ICT CurriculumSubject Leader ensures that IT is well-integrated in the mainstream curriculum by collaborating with teachers and devising and supporting projects and activities which allow for the teaching of specific skills.
ISH Digital Citizens
Find out more about Learning Support in our Primary school