Junior School

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WHY Junior School at ESM?
  • We provide quality educational programs which are underpinned by evidence based approach to education and child development.
  • We are consistently pushing an improvement agenda and adopt progressive education programs such as International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) framework in curriculum areas such as Inquiry through Transdisciplinary units.
  • We are a community-focused school which seeks to draw upon the expertise in our community and give back to the community.
  • We develop rich cross-age connections across our school and provide social opportunities for our students to play and work with kids of all ages.
  • Our school is underpinned by an explicit focus on care for others and the celebration of progress and achievement.
  • We pride ourselves in providing a personalized education for each child, knowing each child as learner in the broadest sense.
  • We have an explicit focus on Personal and Social development and on nurturing the whole child.
  • We have highly regarded strengths in educational leadership, being consistently recognized at state, local and international levels for our progressive approach to education.
  • We provide a welcoming, friendly environment for all members of our school community: happy kids, happy teachers in a collaborative, open learning environment.
  • Contributing positively to society and the environment is our shared responsibility.
  • Our lives and the life of the community are enriched by diversity.
  • Nurturing curiosity and creativity stimulates exploration and discovery throughout

The Learner Profile at ESM

ESM expects its students to be:

Caring – I show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. I have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and our environment.

Balanced – I understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for others and myself.

Principled – I act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of individuals, groups and communities. I take responsibility for my actions and the consequences that accompany them.

A Communicator – I understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of ways. I work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

A Thinker – I exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

A Risk-Taker – I approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies.

Knowledgeable – I explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In doing so, I acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of subject areas.

An Inquirer – I develop my natural curiosity. I acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. I actively enjoy learning

Open-minded – I understand and appreciate my culture and will be open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities.

Reflective – I give thoughtful consideration to my learning and experiences. I assess and understand my strengths and limitations in order to support my learning and personal development.

ESM Junior School Curriculum

Nurturing independent learning skills, and encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning, ESM develops students’ academic, social and emotional wellbeing, while simultaneously focusing on international-mindedness and the development of strong personal values.

Our curriculum offers a balanced program of academic studies and extra- curricular activities, which aims at helping all students of all nationalities to develop self-awareness and a love of learning. The philosophy is child- centered and inquiry based, offering a challenging yet supportive learning environment. Students in First Steps through Grade 5 follow the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (PYP).

At the heart of the PYP philosophy is a commitment to structured inquiry as an ideal vehicle for learning. Through a program of inquiry we enable children to view their world with understanding, sensitivity and fairness. We want students to understand how human beings build their cultures, how they value their past, present and future, and how they impact the environment. We also want children to develop the ability to solve problems and recognize the need, value and appropriateness of sharing and co-operation as world citizens, valuing our differences and our similarities as human beings. (For more information you can visit www.ibo.org.)

Knowledge; concepts; skills, attitudes; Action

These five essential elements that students need to lead successful lives underpin the ESM Junior School curriculum framework. We work with the five elements to construct a rigorous and challenging primary education curriculum that is transdisciplinary, engaging, relevant, and significant.

Transdisciplinary themes and the program of inquiry

Students in the ESM explore six units of inquiry a year within the program of inquiry. The program is a matrix of topics organized by themes (see below). Children can learn about significant topics through a variety of disciplines such as science, social studies, and arts, encompassing visual art, music and drama. Language and mathematics support learning within the units, and are also developed as disciplinary skills. The transdisciplinary themes allow students to make connections in their learning from year to year. Careful planning by the grade level and specialist teachers in collaboration with the PYP coordinator ensures that topics are taught in an inquiry based way and that appropriate assessment is developed for each unit. Skills development is a key feature of the program. In addition to disciplinary skills, we expect children to acquire research, thinking, social, and communication skills, which are developed and consolidated as students progress through the school. Further information about the specific units for each grade level is available on the ESM website.

PYP transdisciplinary themes

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.

Literacy

The language of instruction at ESM is English. Children have daily opportunities to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. We offer a balanced literacy program that includes: guided reading when teachers teach specific reading skills and strategies; independent reading when children develop reading stamina by engaging with books at their independent reading level; reading aloud; and shared reading when students develop comprehension skills through book discussions. Independent reading time is an important part of each grade as are home reading programs. Progress is carefully monitored and is dependent upon individual strengths and targets.

The development of writing skills is integrated into the units of inquiry wherever possible. Children write daily for a variety of purposes. The writing engagements include: interactive writing, when children and teachers develop a text collaboratively; shared writing when the teacher models different writing genres; guided writing when the teacher teaches specific skills and strategies; and independent writing. Opportunities are provided for developing ideas through brainstorming with peers, writing rough drafts, editing, revising and publishing or sharing final copies. Students learn from an early age that writing serves a communicative and expressive purpose. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught to all ages as appropriate, frequently using students’ writing as a starting point. Specific learning outcomes for reading, writing and oral language for each grade level are available on the ESM website.

Numeracy Curriculum

Mathematics at ESM Junior School is a positive, engaging and hands on experience, in which our students develop confidence and a sense of achievement from what they learn. Lessons are tailored to the students’ needs and are differentiated to allow for extra support or more challenging learning.

Mathematics influences everyday personal, study and work situations. Learning mathematics involves building upon previous mathematical skills and understandings, making connections between mathematical ideas and generalizing to form new ideas. Mathematical learning experiences provide an opportunity for students to develop their skills and understandings and apply these to other subjects as well as to everyday life situations.

Mathematical ideas evolve constantly and digital technologies are helping students to learn in new and exciting ways. At ESM JS we regularly review the way we teach Mathematics and how we support our students.

Students are provided with opportunities to experience success as mathematicians through a variety of activities including skills development, solving real life problems, experimenting with open ended questions and participating in mathematical games. At ESM, we incorporate explicit learning experiences that assist students to develop skills in the three strands: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.

The four proficiencies of Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning are fundamental to learning mathematics and working mathematically, and are applied across all three strands.

Teachers collaboratively plan to enhance all students’ learning each term. The Numeracy program provides all students with the opportunity to access mathematical experiences in order to:

  • develop an understanding of the role mathematics plays in the functioning of our society.
  • develop positive attitudes towards mathematics.
  • develop mathematical connections and be able to apply mathematical concepts, skills and processes in posing and solving mathematical problems.
  • develop confidence in their personal knowledge of mathematics, be confident to apply knowledge, build upon prior knowledge and be able to acquire new knowledge and skills
  • learn to communicate mathematically.
  • access appropriate materials to support the development of their mathematical understandings.
  • develop thinking skills directed towards explaining, understanding and using mathematical concepts, structures and materials.
  • use technology as a tool to develop and create mathematical skills and understandings.

At ESM JS we make Maths practical and engaging, where students have an opportunity to learn using a range of learning strategies. Mathematics is also linked to other areas of the curriculum and to the students’ everyday lives. Mathematic concepts are explicitly taught alongside children being actively engaged in their own hands on investigations to develop their deep level of understandings in Mathematics.

Teaching Practices

While appreciating that different technique be chosen by individual teachers, all teachers in our school aspire to promote inquiry through the following strategies:

  • Active, hands-on learning
  • Conceptual learning that leads to understanding along with the acquisition of facts
  • Meaningful, relevant learning experiences
  • Interaction between students and teachers;
  • Co-operative learning

Approaches are varied so that individual students’ needs, abilities, interests and learning styles are addressed. A variety of instructional materials and appropriate technology is used. The starting point for learning and teaching is students’ current understanding. Time to reflect on the learning process is considered an essential part of learning and is supported through our portfolio process.