Lower School (Elementary School)
Welcome to the Lower School
Enter the art-adorned hallways and sun-filled classrooms of our Lower School and you'll quickly discover the energy and creativity of our teachers and the endless imagination and curiosity of our students.
The Lower School encompasses Pre-K, Kindergarten (what we call Eingangsstufe, or ES, in German) through Grade 4 and prepares our youngest students for the academic rigors of the Middle and Upper Schools with an interactive, interdisciplinary, challenging and FUN curriculum.
In the Lower School, first grade students must demonstrate a basic understanding of German. Second through four grade students must have the ability to perform at grade level in German.
Our Lower School students learn to read fluently and to express themselves clearly in both written and spoken German and English. To establish a solid foundation for the academic rigors of the International Abitur (DIA) curriculum in the Middle and Upper Schools, most subjects are taught in German. But all students receive daily individualized English instruction taught by our outstanding native English-speaking teachers. For those students for whom German is not their first language and who require a little extra help, our DeutschPlus program offers additional support during the school day as well as an optional after-school class.
Our faculty inspire and challenge students to think creatively and critically with a stimulating cross-curricular approach to learning that opens young minds to the complex connections that shape our world. Students develop a solid foundation in mathematics and science and explore diverse topics in art, music, social studies and history. Focus topics such as “the environment,” “farm life” or “the Middle Ages” are explored through library research, writing assignments, art projects, student presentations and short plays. As students move from the Lower School to the Middle School, they are increasingly able to apply this interdisciplinary mode of thinking to form their own linkages between different branches of knowledge.
Our students have ample opportunity to enhance and demonstrate their confidence and creativity with theatrical and musical productions. From scriptwriting, to costume and set design, to acting, students are involved in all aspects of a show’s development and will be on stage least twice between second and fourth grades.
The Lower School Music program follows the Thüringen Curriculum from Germany and the Orff philosophy, which emphasize the importance of active music making and creativity for young children. Through song, speech, movement and play students engage their bodies and voices in musical play. Students participate in group ensemble work using instruments, folk dance and singing and develop individual skills of improvisation, notation and composition. Instrumental play includes the barred Orff instruments (xylophones and glockenspiels) as well as drums and recorder.
“Elemental music is never just music. It is bound up with movement, dance and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one must participate, in which one is involved not as a listener but as a co-performer. Elemental music is close to the earth, natural and physical, for everyone to learn and experience, according to each child.” Carl Orff
A Growing World View
As an international school, it’s not surprising that we place a high value on cultural understanding and celebrating our differences. To that end, our students, their parents and our faculty are encouraged to share their cultural heritage and traditions through classroom projects and school-wide celebrations that promote awareness of and respect for other cultures. This also teaches children to take pride in their own unique backgrounds.