Elementary School CurriculumAt the Elementary School our inquiry-driven approach to teaching and learning is anchored in the PYP. Concepts, skills, attitudes and action are essential components.
Knowledge is developed in an integrated, meaningful way through inquiries into six Transdisciplinary Themes (see below) of global significance. For more information about how FIS organizes the themes into units of inquiry from First Steps to Grade 5, please see the Program Of Inquiry link below.
Specific learner expectations for each subject area (Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies) by grade can be found in the Grade Level Subjects link below.
Your child’s school day
Each child in the Elementary School is a member of a homeroom, a place where they develop strong relationships with our dedicated teachers and their classmates, and where they contribute to creating a community of belonging and learning.
In addition to homeroom class time, daily outdoor play and lunch, students also engage in learning with highly qualified specialist teachers. Most specials are offered through Grade 5.
For a detailed view of our specialists’ programs see the Specialist Subjects link below.
Who We Are
An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
Where We Are in Place and Time
An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
How We Express Ourselves
An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
How the World Works
An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
How We Organize Ourselves
An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
Sharing the Planet
An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.
Program of Inquiry (PoI)
At FIS, learning is structured around 44 significant, engaging, relevant and challenging units of inquiry, each lasting from 3-8 weeks.
Units are cross-curricular, requiring students to use a range of concepts, skills and subject-specific knowledge in order to develop a deeper understanding of six transdisciplinary themes.
The FIS PoI provides an overview of the learning journey from First Steps to the end of Grade 5.
Drama includes the development of creative skills, verbal and non-verbal expression, an awareness of the perspectives of others and aesthetic appreciation. It enables students to communicate in powerful ways that go beyond their spoken language ability.
Through drama, students can begin to construct an understanding of their community, their environment and their own feelings and emotions. The drama scope and sequence framework identifies the major expectations considered essential in the PYP.
These expectations are arranged into six strands: creative exploration and expression, technical incorporation, performance, personal and social development, reflection, evaluation and appreciation and drama in society.
Language Arts (English)
Language involves learning the language, learning about language, and learning through language, using language as a tool to think, discuss and reflect on information, ideas and issues. Reading, writing, oral and visual language are taught separately and within units of inquiry by homeroom teachers.
- View our curriculum for grade-by-grade details on writing
- View our curriculum for grade-by-grade details on literature (fiction)
- View our curriculum for grade-by-grade details on information text (non-fiction)
- View our curriculum for grade-by-grade details on listening and speaking
- View our curriculum for grade-by-grade details on language foundations (grammar, phonics, etc.)
Mathematics is a highly effective tool for solving problems – and a global language through which we make sense of the world. Five strands, including data handling, measurement, shape and space, pattern and function, and number are taught by homeroom teachers, separately and within units of inquiry.
Science and Social Studies
Science and Social Studies are taught within cross-curricular units of instruction built around important global themes. Science units are structured to provide children with meaningful and age-appropriate contexts in which to explore living things, earth and space, materials and matter, and forces and energy; Social Studies focus on meaningful and age-appropriate contexts in which to explore human systems and economic activities, social organizations and cultures, continuity and change through time, human and natural environments, and resources and the environment.
For a look at our grade-by-grade curriculum overviews for Science and Social Studies, please select a link below:
- First Steps curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Pre-Primary curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Primary curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Grade 1 curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Grade 2 curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Grade 3 curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Grade 4 curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
- Grade 5 curriculum overview for Science and Social Studies
German instruction at FIS is organized by proficiency level. This means that whichever grade a student may be in, all students working at the same proficiency level will have similar learning expectations. To ensure that children are challenged at every stage in their development, lesson content and materials become more complex as children progress through the school.
Learning about and through music promotes creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and social interactions. Music experiences include listening, playing instruments, singing, notation, composing, songwriting, recording and performing. Music is taught by specialist music teachers.
Taught by specialist teachers, our physical education program increases students’ awareness of healthy choices, develops fitness and skill levels, and encourages life-long healthy living. Units include collaborative games, team sports, gymnastics, dance, athletics, and adventure challenge.
Art includes a broad range of experiences such as ceramics, collage, drawing, graphic design, mask making, painting, printmaking, sculpture and textiles. Students learn about local and global artists, now and in the past. Art is taught within the classroom and/or by specialist art teachers.