Primary School

Uncovering Potential – Early Years 3 to Grade 5

Children are naturally curious about the world around them and love to question and inquire. Our children are supported through the early years in getting to understand themselves and their environment, and in learning essential skills and knowledge. We offer our children the opportunity to learn through a wide range of rich, meaningful and multisensory practical experiences, in both indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Our Primary School is a welcoming, safe and nurturing school that offers a sense of belonging. Using children’s strengths and talents, we provide a challenging, stimulating environment, and support in order to enable children to flourish in a collaborative international community. We aim to make learning creative, inclusive, meaningful and fun.

The Primary School includes three years of Early Years (Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten), followed by Grade 1 through to Grade 5. A normal day in Primary School runs weekly from 8:25 until 15:35 from Monday to Thursday and from 8:25 until 14:00 on Friday.

FIS is a candidate school for the PYP. We are pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.

* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes visit http://www.ibo.org.

Primary Years Programme (PYP)

Our development of the International Baccalaureate’s PYP forms the cornerstone of our holistic educational approach, nurturing young minds aged 3 to 12 in a dynamic and globally-minded environment. Rooted in inquiry-based learning, the PYP encourages our students to explore, question, and engage with the world around them, fostering a deep love for learning. With an emphasis on developing essential skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, our students are empowered to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners. Through a transdisciplinary curriculum, students seamlessly integrate knowledge across subjects, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the interconnectedness of our world. At the FIS, the PYP not only prepares students for academic success but also equips them with the attributes and attitudes necessary to thrive as responsible global citizens.

Units of Inquiry

Students in the Primary School typically inquire into 6 transdisciplinary units of inquiry (UOI). Our UOI’s are carefully mapped horizontally within a grade and vertically from Early Years 3 to Grade 5, under 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.

Together, these themes form our Programme of Inquiry (POI). Each UOI is a captivating educational journey designed to ignite curiosity and foster a deep understanding of the world. Rooted in the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate, these units are thematic and transdisciplinary in nature, spanning across subjects and grade levels. Each UOI revolves around a central idea that intrigues and engages young learners.

Students embark on a collaborative exploration, guided by thought-provoking questions that encourage critical thinking and research skills. Throughout the unit, students delve into a range of activities, including hands-on experiments, discussions, creative projects, and interactions with experts. This holistic approach not only enhances academic knowledge but also cultivates attributes such as inquiry, communication, and open-mindedness. At the heart of a PYP unit of inquiry lies the pursuit of knowledge, the development of essential skills, and the cultivation of a lifelong love for learning.

Learner Profile Attributes

The learner profile attributes serve as guiding principles that nurture the holistic development of young learners. They are:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers

These attributes encompass a range of qualities, fostering not only academic excellence but also the growth of well-rounded individuals. As inquirers, students display a natural curiosity and a desire to learn, actively engaging with the world around them. They become knowledgeable by exploring various subjects and ideas. Open-mindedness encourages respect for diverse perspectives, cultivating an environment of acceptance and understanding. Caring emphasizes empathy and kindness, promoting positive relationships among peers. Students learn to be risk-takers, embracing challenges and developing resilience in the face of difficulties. Thinkers develop critical thinking skills, while communicators express themselves effectively. Principles of balance teach students to manage their responsibilities and well-being, and being reflective encourages self-assessment and personal growth. In this way, primary school students imbued with the IB learner profile attributes are prepared to become lifelong learners who contribute positively to their communities.

English Language Arts (ELA)

We aim to develop confident students through an exciting and engaging language arts program. We empower our students with the skills to read, write, speak and listen both critically, strategically, and creatively. Thus, we equip them with the tools to become lifelong, independent learners. Students are taught meaningful language activities through a variety of media integrated wherever possible to our PYP units of inquiry.

Reading at the FIS

Each student at the FIS has the opportunity to read a diverse range of engaging books. We do this through classroom read-alouds, library lessons, guided reading times, phonics groups, and providing environments where reading is fostered. Students can enjoy a book from one of our well-sourced libraries, take home a Big Cat Collins Home Reader or choose from the Big Cat Collins eBook collection.

Little Wandle Phonics Program

Starting in EY4, students start to explore letters and sounds through the Little Wandle program. Every 6 weeks, students are assessed to see what sounds they know and what sounds they need to continue to learn. You can learn more about how to support your child with phonics here.

Big Cat Collins Reading Program

Starting in EY3 up into Grade 5 students can enjoy a wide variety of text from Big Cat Collins during the school day and while at home. We highly recommend parents listen to their child read daily and ask comprehension questions, which they can find in the back of the Big Cat Collins books or here. It is also okay for students to read with a sibling or pet!

Big Cat Collins Assessments

Students are assessed on their fluency and comprehension levels many different times throughout the school year. Parents will receive information from the homeroom teacher regarding their child’s reading level, in the form of a color band.

Big Cat Color Bands

Below is a list of the Big Cat color bands. These colors serve to guide teachers, parents and students to choose a book at the appropriate level to foster their love for reading. When children choose a book at their correct reading level, not only will they be able to read the books fluently, they will also be able to comprehend what they are reading.

GradeColor Band
EY3Lilac
EY4Pink, Red, Yellow, Blue
EY5Green, Orange, Turquoise
Grade 1Purple, Gold, White/Plus, Lime/Plus
Grade 2Copper, Topaz
Grade 3Ruby, Emerald
Grade 4Sapphire
Grade 5Diamond, Pearl

Big Cat Collins Home Readers and eBooks

Each child at the FIS has a Big Cat Home Reader’s pouch to take one book home each day. The FIS doors open at 8:20 for students who would like to exchange their Big Cat Home Reader for a new book. Students can also choose from a wide range of books from the Big Cat Collins eBook collection. Login information for the eBook collection is provided by homeroom teachers.

Mathematics Curriculum

We aim to develop confident mathematicians who are passionate about their learning. We strive to teach for an understanding of mathematical concepts, the “why” something works, and not only the “how”. Therefore allowing the students to transfer and apply their knowledge to new situations. This is ensured by providing ‘real life’ scenarios for students thus developing mathematical reasoning, inquiry and problem-solving. We encourage the use of multiple strategies to solve mathematical problems and include hands-on activities. The use of manipulatives, visuals and games are all used to support the consolidation of understanding.

Responsible Behavior Guide

Our Responsible Behavior Guide is in place in our Primary School to support students and members of staff. Through following the plan, we ensure a caring and cooperative environment in which effective learning takes place and all individuals may flourish. Our school community is guided by the following principles:

  • Be safe
  • Be responsible
  • Be respectful

Communication Guidelines

The Franconian International School encourages communication that fosters close cooperation between parents, teachers, and students. There is a scheduled conference time in semester one, and semester two. These are an opportunity for teachers, parents and students to sit together and celebrate the learning so far and discuss goals ahead.

You can always communicate specific questions about your child’s progress directly to the teacher, be it the homeroom teacher or subject specialist, in person or via email following the Home School Partnership and Conflict Resolution Procedure.