Elementary School

Our Elementary School follows the IB Primary Years Programme in Grades  1 to 5. This prepares our students to become active, caring lifelong learners.

We are committed to fostering a community of learners, and to providing an academic curriculum that enables all children to:

  • Build conceptual understanding
  • Develop international-mindedness
  • Acquire and use 21st century skills including social skills, thinking skills, self-management skills, research skills and communication skills
  • Develop knowledge and skills in the areas of language, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and physical /health education
  • Develop positive, constructive attitudes towards life and learning
  • Take action based on what they have learned

A typical day is structured around eight 40 minute periods with a 30 minute break for snack and play in the morning and one hour given to lunchtime. Nursery and Pre-K students have an extra afternoon snack as well.

Our academic programme is supported by a wide range of sporting, recreational, artistic and cultural activities. We positively encourage parent involvement and participation, indeed many activities are arranged to encourage parents to visit and involve themselves in the learning experiences.

Primary Years Programme

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a dynamic and effective way of guiding young learners through the learning process using inquiry-based learning opportunities. Students are challenged to both answer and ask relevant questions that allow them to discover more about the world around them and to learn about the inter-connectedness of our world.

Key skills, concepts and knowledge are taught by homeroom and subject teachers through a mixture of subject based teaching, and transdisciplinary units of inquiry. Units of inquiry are planned so that students learn about and through the different subject areas in context, by addressing six globally significant themes at each grade level, namely:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet


Homeroom Programme


English language teaching focuses on oral communication (listening and speaking), written communication (reading and writing) and visual communication (viewing and presenting). Students receive direct instruction in literacy skills such as spelling, grammar, and reading strategies, and units of inquiry provide meaningful contexts where children can practice and apply their learning.


Mathematics teaching focuses on five key areas – number, shape and space, data handling, measurement and pattern and function. Learning takes place through a combination of direct instruction, which is differentiated to meet individual student learning needs, and units of inquiry, where mathematical skills and concepts are used to solve real life problems and issues. E.g. creating graphs to record information, and measuring materials that will be used to build structures.


Science teaching focuses on four key areas – living things, earth and space, materials and matter, and forces and energy, which are all taught within units of inquiry.

Social studies

Social Studies teaching focuses on five key areas – human systems and economic activities, social organisation and culture, continuity and change through time, human and natural environments, and resources and the environment, which are all taught within units of inquiry.

Specialist Programme

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts are taught by specialist teachers, who focus on four key areas - creative processes, elements and principles of art and design, visual art in society, and reflection and appreciation. Learning takes place through a combination of direct instruction and integration into units of inquiry, where visual arts skills and concepts are used to solve real life problems and issues.


Music is taught by specialist teachers, who focus on six key areas – performing, singing and playing instruments, creating and composing, notation, listening and appreciation, and music in society. Learning takes place through a combination of direct instruction, and integration into units of inquiry, where music skills and concepts are used to solve real life problems and issues.


Personal, Social and Physical Education is taught by specialist teachers, who focus on ten key areas – self-concept, health & safety, interaction with others, organization for learning, health –related activities, body control & spatial awareness, athletic activities, games, movement to music and adventure challenge. Learning takes place through a combination of direct instruction, and integration into units of inquiry, where PSPE skills and concepts are used to solve real life problems and issues.

Chinese (Pre N - G4)

We believe that children acquire Chinese language in an environment rich in integrated and meaningful learning experiences. We nurture an appreciation of the richness of language, including a love of literature, utilising the experiences that allow children to participate actively in Chinese, age appropriate learning engagements through listening, speaking, reading and writing. We integrate Chinese traditional culture into our teaching so the children develop intercultural understanding and respect.

All Pre Nursery to Kindergarten homerooms have an expat and a Chinese homeroom teacher. In Pre Nursery and Nursery Chinese language and culture is integrated within the daily program and program of inquiry through strong authentic connections. Once in Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten children receive 40 minute Chinese lessons daily provided by their Chinese homeroom teacher.

In Grade 1 to Grade 4 specialist teachers teach Chinese. The children receive five forty-minute Chinese lessons a week and are grouped according to their Chinese language ability.

World Languages (G5)

The Grade 5 World Language programme offers the opportunity for students to meet two key goals of the SSIS curriculum: Developing Global Citizens and Supporting Mother Tongue Development.

Students who are native speakers of German or Chinese are expected to register for these languages as they enter Grade 5. For students who do not speak any one of these languages at home, we offer Chinese at a range of levels from Beginner to Advanced.

English as a Second Language

We ensure that an appropriate level of English support is given to all students depending on their previous learning experiences, current understanding and mother tongue. For non-native English speakers, SSIS offers a comprehensive English as a Second Language (ESL) programme. In the Elementary School students are supported inside the homeroom (In-Class Support) and they also take small groups of Beginner English language learners and Intermediate English language learners out of the homeroom (Pull-Out). Learn more

Assessment & Reporting

The prime objective of assessment in the PYP is to provide feedback on the learning process. Teachers assess student learning in a range of ways and the students themselves are expected to be reflective and to think about their own learning. Evidence of student learning is collected and feedback is given to students regularly and to parents through interim and end of semester reports, and Parent Teacher Conferences. Parents and students share the learning journey through Student Portfolios at Student Led Conferences towards the end of the year.

In the final year of the PYP, students participate in a culminating inquiry, the PYP Exhibition. It is both a transdisciplinary inquiry conducted in a spirit of personal and shared responsibility, as well as a summative assessment activity that is a celebration and rite of passage, symbolic and actual, from the PYP into the middle years of schooling.