Primary Years (K-G5)

As an IB World School, we provide a holistic, child-centred, constructivist programme, which engages children in inquiry-based learning.

At SSIS we believe that each child enters our school already possessing a wide range of knowledge, skills, attitudes and understandings about the world and their place within it. It is our aim to celebrate and build on each child’s strengths, identify areas for growth and development, and work in partnership with parents to create a learning environment where all children will feel safe, supported, and successful. When children join our school, they are placed in the appropriate grade level according to their age.

In Kindergarten, all children are enrolled in homeroom groups led by experienced teaching teams and supported by classroom Ayis. Each homeroom team consists of an expatriate teacher and a Chinese teacher; who plan, teach and assess learning together.

In Grades 1-5, homeroom teachers continue working together to plan instruction and assess student learning. Expatriate homeroom teachers take sole responsibility for teaching Reading, Writing, Maths, Social Studies and Science to their homeroom group, through a combination of integrated units of inquiry and subject-based instruction.

From Kindergarten to Grade 5, specialist ESL teachers provide extra small group and in-class support to children who are learning English as a second language. All children also receive instruction in Chinese, Visual Arts, Music, Library and Physical Education from specialist teachers, and Grade 5 students are able to study an additional language such as Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French or German. Learn more


The school's homework philosophy recognizes that there is a need for balance between formal academic homework and opportunities to engage in enrichment activities such as sports, music, social opportunities and imaginative play. An appropriate level of homework is assigned at each grade level to support learning and encourage the development of effective time-management skills. It is an opportunity for children to share what they are learning with parents, and should be enjoyable for all involved.

LevelAverage Daily Time
Kindergaten10 minutes
Grade 110-20 minutes
Grade 215-30 minutes
Grade 320-40 minutes
Grade 430-50 minutes
Grade 540-60 minutes

Possible homework subjects – Unit of Inquiry, English including reading and spelling, Mathematics, Additional Language, Single Subjects.

Excursions and Field Trips

Children at all grade levels participate in field trips and excursions to support learning during the academic year. Most field trips take place in or around Suzhou; however other possible destinations include Shanghai, Taihu and Changzhou. These trips are linked closely to our programme of inquiry.

Children in Grade 3 are invited to spend a night at the Elementary School, where they take part in games, challenges, events and a sleepover. Children in Grades 4 and 5 have the chance to participate in camps. These camps last for three days and include many exciting activities that promote teamwork and leadership skills.

Special events

Classes take turns leading Elementary School assemblies during the year, to which parents are invited. Many additional special events are also celebrated in classes and at a whole school level. These include the Grade 5 Exhibition, Book Week, Sports Day, the Elementary Swim Carnival, concerts, choirs and other musical performances, plays, art exhibitions and a large Christmas and Chinese New Year celebration.