IB Primary Years Programme

Welcome to the Primary School section of  the International Community School website. Our Primary School (3-11 years)  is located in a tranquil setting in Regent’s Park. The children follow the  IB Primary Years Programme where traditional subjects are integrated to support  inquiry and learning in meaningful contexts. We encourage our children to have  a positive attitude to learning and emphasise the intellectual, physical,  personal and social development of the child.

We have high expectations for  all our students and aim to provide broad and enriching learning experiences  through a stimulating environment. When new students join the school, teachers always take the time  to understand the individual child and to help them recognise their learning  preferences, their areas of strength and areas for development. It is vital  that we understand what each child  enjoys and what motivates them, so that the educational programme is  personalised to reflect these aspects. Our inclusive setting also enables us to  offer structured learning.

At ICS we are skilled at   working with an international community and the range of   English language abilities present in our student body – from fluent,   native English speakers, to students for whom English may be their second   or third language,to English-language beginners. Students for whom   English is an additional language (EAL students) are supported at   different levels and in a variety of ways so that they can maximize their   learning and participate in all aspects of school life.

The Primary Years Foundation Programme (PYF) supports   students whose English skills restrict their ability to independently   participate in the mainstream classes of IB PYP 5 and IB PYP 6. PYF   students are taught in a pull-out PYF class, and some mainstream classes,   to increase their proficiency in English to a point where they can begin   to access the full IB curriculum at the Primary Years level. All PYF   students are fully integrated members of the Primary School community at   ICS.

Primary Years Foundation is a flexible programme, designed   to help each individual learner develop essential communication skills   in English and become familiar with ICS culture and expectations. Key to   this approach is our desire to build on a student’s strengths and   interests, skills and abilities. PYF students receive the majority of   their education within the pullout PYF class and join their year group   for Maths, Music, Physical Education, Foreign Language (Spanish or   Mandarin) and break times.

In PYF classes, teachers raise awareness of   vocabulary and grammar while focusing on the skills of reading, writing,   speaking and listening. Specialized instructional materials, activities,   excursions, and artwork help develop both conversational English and   academic language.

When a PYF student transitions to the mainstream programmes she/he   continues to receive support with their English language learning. This   support addresses the individual needs of students through team-teaching,   work with small groups, and individualized sessions with students.   Teachers work with EAL students on the language, skills and concepts   necessary for full participation in mainstream class. Whenever possible,   the content of the mainstream is used as the context for learning so that   students concurrently progress in their English language and grade-level   subject matter.

Our success with students in the Primary   Years Foundation programme shows that we can facilitate a smooth   transition to meaningful inclusion in the mainstream by virtue of the   support offered by our English language specialists. While progress rates   are unique to each student, the PYF programme moves students gradually   and with support into their year group and to the full curriculum as   soon as possible; most PYF students become proficient users of English   conversational language within the first year at our school. Full mastery   of academic language can take additional years to acquire; at ICS we   continue to provide language support to this end from both EAL and   classroom teachers. Individual cases are reviewed regularly by specialist   and mainstream teachers and support programmes changed accordingly.

At ICS, we promote the mastery of English language whilst still   promoting and facilitating the maintenance of a student’s home language.   We encourage parents to continue to use and develop their child’s mother   tongue because we recognize that children’s acquisition of a second   language builds on the skills and concepts they have acquired through   their first language.