Curriculum

The Curriculum

The AICS Primary is excited to join the IB World School community and has successfully gained IB authorisation as of September. This enables us to better align our programme with the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma in the Secondary School.

The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for children aged 3-12. It reflects the best of educational research, thought leadership and experience derived from IB World Schools.

The PYP has evolved to become a world leader in future-focused education. The PYP is an example of best educational practice globally, responding to the challenges and opportunities facing young students in our rapidly changing world.

"Primary Years Programme (PYP)". International Baccalaureate®, 2021, https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/.

The IB Learner Profile in the PYP

 

The IB learner profile represents a broad range of human dispositions, capacities and traits that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth. Developing and demonstrating the attributes of the learner profile is an expression of what the IB means by international-mindedness.

The IB learner profile permeates all facets of school life in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). All members of the learning community from the youngest learners to school leaders to parents, educators and beyond, have a responsibility to be guided by and demonstrate a commitment to the development of the IB learner profile attributes.

"The Learner". International Baccalaureate®, 2021, https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/curriculum/the-learner/.

The Learner Profile dispositions are:

Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, Reflective 

These ten skills and dispositions contribute to the alignment of our school’s programmes: PYP, MYP, CP and DP.

Specialist lessons

Specialist classes consist of English Language Acquisition, Dutch Language Acquisition, Dutch Language and Literature, Physical & Health Education (PHE), and the Performing Arts. These classes are given by specialist teachers and where appropriate take place in specially equipped learning environments. These lessons are timetabled throughout the week and located in the appropriate specialist learning area. Specialist teachers work closely with classroom teachers to ensure students gain opportunities for learning consolidation, transfer of learning to new situations and for learning to be transdisciplinary.

Transdisciplinary Learning

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a transdisciplinary curriculum framework that offers authentic learning experiences.

The PYP encourages students to learn to appreciate knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and personal attributes as a connected whole.

Each school collaboratively develops a programme of inquiry to reflect the unique aspects of that school’s community. The programme of inquiry is organized and framed by six transdisciplinary themes:

  • 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.

These transdisciplinary themes together provide children with authentic learning experiences that are not confined to the boundaries of traditional subjects. Although subjects play an important role in learning, PYP learners explore real-world problems by going beyond subject boundaries. Students have opportunities to reflect on the significance of their learning to take meaningful action in their community and the wider world.

"How The PYP Works". International Baccalaureate®, 2021, https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/how-the-pyp-works/.

Mathematics and Languages are critical elements of learning to learn in the Primary years, and so we also deliver these as individual subjects within the weekly timetable.

The AICS is committed to students’ holistic development in arts, science and physical agility. The transdisciplinary units of inquiry also often include Dance and Coordination, Ceramics, Gymnastics, Visual Arts, World Music, Cookery, Yoga, Science, Dutch Culture/Traditions and World Culture.

The Amsterdam City Council Special Programmes include activities such as swimming, ice skating, art/music/museum trips and nature programmes.

See our School Guide for more information about the curriculum and the specialist lessons.

Mindfulness at the AICS

A growing number of classes in the Primary School carry out mindfulness activities as part of their daily or weekly routine. For many children, this is as simple as sitting in silence and observing their breath for a few minutes. It may also include reflections on students’ emotional well-being, gentle physical stretches, and direct and mindful focus on movements and actions. We believe in equipping our students with tools that will enable them to calm themselves in stressful situations. It is our hope that through learning some very simple mindfulness activities at a young age, our children will be able to navigate the challenges of life with balance, calmness and compassion.

Educational Play

Engagement in various forms of purposeful and imaginative play is an essential aspect within Inquiry-based learning. It is through purposeful play that students are given the opportunity to construct meaning individually and collectively, deepen sensory experiences, generate inner dialogue, self-reflect and self-regulate. Well-designed learning activities that involve Play are a cornerstone of creativity and imagination—characteristics we seek to develop in students as citizens of the world, today and tomorrow.

“Early learning in the PYP is a holistic learning experience that integrates socio-emotional, physical and cognitive development. In the PYP classroom, it takes place in dynamic environments that promote play, discovery and exploration.” 

"The Learner". International Baccalaureate®, 2021, https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/curriculum/the-learner/.

The IB Learner Profile in the PYP

The IB learner profile represents a broad range of human dispositions, capacities and traits that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth. Developing and demonstrating the attributes of the learner profile is an expression of what the IB means by international-mindedness.

The IB learner profile permeates all facets of school life in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). All members of the learning community from the youngest learners to school leaders to parents, educators and beyond, have a responsibility to be guided by and demonstrate a commitment to the development of the IB learner profile attributes.

"The Learner". International Baccalaureate®, 2021, https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/curriculum/the-learner/.

The Learner Profile dispositions are:

Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, Reflective 

These ten skills and dispositions contribute to the alignment of our school’s programmes: PYP, MYP, CP and DP.

Specialist lessons

Specialist classes consist of English Language Acquisition, Dutch Language Acquisition, Dutch Language and Literature, Physical & Health Education (PHE), and the Performing Arts. These classes are given by specialist teachers and where appropriate take place in specially equipped learning environments. These lessons are timetabled throughout the week. 

English Language Acquisition (ELA): Students with little or no English are called ELA Starters. We invite ELA Starters to join small pull-out sessions with a specialist English teacher; in these lessons, the focus is on Basic Inter-Communication Skills* involving speaking, listening and phonics. This course lasts for one academic year and takes place during the three hours of Dutch Language lessons.

Dutch: There are two routes through the Dutch Language Programme, depending on the needs and requirements of the international child:

Dutch Language Acquisition (DLA) - This is a Dutch Language course which also focuses on culture. The focus is on Speaking and Listening in Dutch. The purpose of the course is to allow our children to integrate locally into their community whilst connecting globally with their neighbours. This is achieved through knowing how to communicate confidently in the Dutch language and experiential knowledge of the traditions of the Netherlands.

Dutch Language and Literature (DLL): The focus is on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening in Dutch. This programme is designed for children who have Dutch passports or a Dutch family background and the purpose is to gain fluency in their best or home language.

Physical & Health Education classes are provided for all age groups and are taught by a specialist P.E. teacher. Children learn about healthy lifestyles and performing a range of movement activities. They are taught about developing physical competence and confidence, developing creativity and imagination, teamwork and communication. The knowledge, skills and understanding which children gain through their study of physical education can be regarded in terms of skills, planning, performance, evaluation, fitness and health. Students will have the opportunity to participate in gymnastics, ball games, athletics and dance.

The Magic Roundabout is a multifaceted brain-based programme that stimulates students’ holistic development in arts, science and physical agility. Activities are organised on Wednesdays and may include Dance and Coordination, Ceramics, Gymnastics, Visual Arts, World Music, Cookery, Yoga, Science, Dutch Culture/Traditions and World Culture.

The Amsterdam City Council Special Programmes include activities such as swimming, ice skating, art/music/museum trips and nature programmes.

See our School Guide for more information about the curriculum and the specialist lessons.

Mindfulness at the AICS

A growing number of classes in the Primary School carry out mindfulness activities as part of their daily or weekly routine. For many children, this is as simple as sitting in silence and observing their breath for a few minutes. It may also include reflections on students’ emotional well-being, gentle physical stretches, and direct and mindful focus on movements and actions. We believe in equipping our students with tools that will enable them to calm themselves in stressful situations. It is our hope that through learning some very simple mindfulness activities at a young age, our children will be able to navigate the challenges of life with calmness and compassion.

 

Educational Play

Engagement in various forms of purposeful and imaginative play is an essential aspect within Inquiry-based learning. It is through purposeful play that students are given the opportunity to construct meaning individually and collectively, deepen sensory experiences, generate inner dialogue, self-reflect and self-regulate. Well-designed learning activities that involve Play are a cornerstone of creativity and imagination—characteristics we seek to develop in students as citizens of the world, today and tomorrow.