The Footprints International School, Primary Program provides a learning environment that fosters positive learning opportunities both socially and academically. Our students become citizens who approach life through the lens of our core values (Responsibility, Determination and Compassion) and become confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged learners. Core subject areas blend frameworks derived from the Cambridge International Examinations and Jig Saw PSHE with instruction that considers context and diversity, while applying best instructional practice in the classroom. Our specialist subject program aims to equip our students with 21st century skills while also providing opportunities for students to express themselves creatively and form healthy, lifelong habits.
The curriculum itself is divided into four strands of English: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Having developed a sound phonemic awareness, and being secure in their ability to retrieve high frequency words in our ECP Program, children in Grades 1 through 5 work through themed activities that act as a vehicle to support student achievement of outcomes derived from Cambridge International Examinations Primary English Framework. Themes covered in the Cambridge Primary English curriculum fosters freedom for teachers
to apply pedagogical approaches that meet the learning needs of their students and create opportunities for their students to participate in learning-centered, activity-based lessons.
The foundations of sentence structure can be difficult for English language learners to
grasp. Our ‘Caught ya’ writing program focuses on developing solid foundations in sentence
structure so our students can portray their desired message through whole texts
constructed in our writing program. ‘Caught ya’ is a running script presented by teachers
daily. The script has a number of mistakes and in ten minutes, students are challenged to
identify the intentional mistakes made by the teacher. Mistakes include simple spelling
mistakes, incorrect tenses and plurals and incorrect punctuation. If a mistake has been
missed by the student, the teacher whispers ‘caught ya,’ in the students ear and challenges
them with finding the missing mistake.
The Footprints International School writing program takes the foundations of English developed in the Cambridge Primary English Curriculum and encourages students to apply those foundations when for different purposes (genres). At the end of each term, students produce an assessed piece of writing that either informs, persuades or entertains their audience. Pieces of writing are kept in student portfolios and used by teachers to further support writing instruction, act as a point of reference during parent teacher conferences and further develop writing instruction throughout the program.
In Grades one and two, our reading program aims to build students’ phonemic awareness so as to foster strong word attack skills and fluency, while also targeting reading instruction at the students’ level through small group instruction. A typical reading program lesson at FIS in Grades one and two consists of a fifteen minute phonics lesson where students secure their ability to sound clusters of letters by reading a story and answering questions focused on the sound of focus. Students then break into differentiated groups where they receive targeted instruction for twenty minutes, at their reading level, which focuses on improving their reading fluency and ability to comprehend explicit and implicit information from the text.
In Grades three through five, students read engaging literature, targeted at their level, as a whole class. Books selected are chapter books and lessons foster high expectations from the students so as to accelerate their growth in reading level attainment. A typical lesson in Grades 3 through 5 includes the teacher facilitating a re-cap of the story so far and introducing tricky vocabulary found in the chapter about to be read. Students then read parts of the story as a class, parts of the story with a partner and answer targeted questions that require students retrieve explicit information, make analytical statements about what they’ve read and implicit statements about the plot.
The FIS Primary program follows the Cambridge Mathematics framework. The
framework explores five content areas: Numbers (which include mental strategies), Geometry, Measure, Handling Data and Problem Solving (which involves applying techniques, skills and understanding in order to solve problems). The framework is presented through different learning objectives. The learning objectives detail what the learner should know as well as do in each year of the program. Learning objectives are organized into the five content areas listed above, which are also known as ‘strands’, with each strand being broken down further into sub-strands (for example ‘calculation’). Like Cambridge Primary English, the curriculum fosters freedom for teachers to apply different pedagogical approaches that meet the learning needs of the students and give them opportunities to participate in learning-centered, activity-based
lessons. All teachers have student texts to support the delivery of the content but lesson construction is not based on the texts, and at times may not require their use – but rather the use of a range of manipulative materials to help secure the students’ understanding.
In Social Studies, the Primary Program follows the Cambridge Global Perspectives curriculum.
The Global Perspectives framework focuses on transferable skills – including critical thinking, research and collaboration. It nurtures in students the ability to complete projects using their own problem solving skills. In a Social Studies unit students will typically work through a process of research, analysis, evaluation, reflection, collaboration and communication. These skills are invaluable in preparing students for the collaborative projects many are likely to encounter in the working world.
Students receive weekly PSHE sessions following the ‘Jigsaw’ PSHE framework. Jigsaw is a unique, spiral, progressive and effective scheme of work, aiming to prepare children for life, helping them really know and value who they truly are and understand how they relate to other people in this ever-changing world. Jigsaw is a mindfulness based curriculum. Primary students will take part in a weekly meditation with their class and afterwards reflect on their own emotions and issues raised as they continue to develop from children to young adults.
Student in the Primary program regularly complete both Formative and Summative Assessments.
Formative assessments experienced by students in the Primary Program aims to identify the students’ level of understanding of the lesson just taught and inform subsequent instruction. All teachers in the FIS Primary program regularly formatively assess students in their class by applying a range of techniques. In any given lesson students will demonstrate their understanding by self-assessing, writing an answer on a mini-whiteboard, answering a few differentiated questions on an exit ticket or through completed work in their notebook.
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS – CIE PROGRESSION TESTS
Summative assess student success in a unit, strand or entire subject area. Throughout the year, students in Grades 1 through 5 will complete a number of summative assessments written in house. Students in Grades 3 through 5 complete externally written assessments created by Cambridge, called Progression Tests. Cambridge English, Science and Mathematics require students to complete a progression test. Results from progression tests are shared with families, compared with external norms and used to better target instruction in the program.
Our IT curriculum is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of how to
best select and apply digital technologies used to present core content from the Primary
curriculum. While focused on the integrated project, students develop IT specific skills according to the digital technology of focus.