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Hangzhou International School

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Lower School

In Lower School our goal is to build on our students’ natural curiosity and eagerness to acquire and master new information by developing a solid foundation of cognitive skills and learning habits through our inquiry-based approach to learning.

Learning in Grades 1-5 incorporates a range of subject areas including Art, Language, Mathematics, Music, Personal, Social and Physical Education, Social Studies and Science.

By the end of 5th grade, our Lower School students advance to Upper School with not only a high level of academic and social skills, but also a sincere appreciation and understanding of what it means to be global citizens and culturally competent.

Sample Lower School Schedules

Inquiry-based Learning

At HIS we follow an inquiry-based curriculum framework which was designed to meet the needs of families living in diverse international communities.

Our teachers design inquiry-based units which ensure rigorous learning, through a range of exciting, active and meaningful experiences for children. Learning at HIS takes a global approach; helping children to reflect on the similarities and differences between their home and host countries; embrace diversity, and consider multiple perspectives.

Our units of inquiry are based on transdisciplinary themes which run from Pre-School to Grade 5. In Pre-School and Pre-K teachers choose four of these themes as a basis for the Early Years Units of Inquiry.

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.

Key Concepts

Teachers design units which explore a main question, and focus on up to three concepts. Our students are encouraged to ask questions and to pursue explorations into their own areas of interest. Learning experiences are designed to inspire children’s curiosity and creativity and to develop their ability to be well-rounded citizens of the world.

Form

What's it like? - The understanding that everything has a form with recognizable features that can be observed, identified, described and categorized.

Function

How does it work? The understanding that everything has a purpose, a role or a way of behaving that can be investigated.

Causation

Why is it like it is? The understanding that things do not just happen, that there are causal relationships at work, and that actions have consequences.

Change

How is it changing? The understanding that change is the process of movement from one state to another. It is universal and inevitable.

Connection

How is it connected to other things? The understanding that we live in a world of interacting systems in which the actions of any individual element affect others.

Perspective

What are the points of view? The understanding that knowledge is moderated by perspectives; different perspectives lead to different interpretations, understandings and findings; perspectives may be individual, group, cultural or disciplinary.

Responsibility

What is our responsibility? The understanding that people make choices based on their understandings, and the actions they take as a result do make a difference.

Reflection

How do we know? The understanding that there are different ways of knowing, and that it is important to reflect on our conclusions, to consider our methods of reasoning, and the quality and the reliability of the evidence we have considered.

To read more about the IB Primary Years Programme, click here.

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