Elementary School - A PYP IB School
In the PYP the knowledge and skills of traditional disciplines or subjects find links through transdisciplinary units of learning that identify ‘big ideas’ or concepts that link across subjects.
This is supported by the development of: social skills, communication and thinking skills that are embedded in the curriculum. Learning at a conceptual level of understanding ensures students can think critically and creatively and can construct and apply meaningful connections across the curriculum.
- An SFS elementary classroom is a rich mix of multiple perspectives
- The social context for learning sees students, collaborating in flexible groups, discussing ideas, formulating questions, seeking answers and constructing understandings together whilst fostering an understanding of our global context
- Learning is facilitated using technology as a tool
- There is a balance of teacher directed instruction and self-directed learning
- Our classrooms celebrate a learning culture of respect and trust and this is supported by the IB Learner Profile
The location of the school in Seoul provides students with many opportunities for developing their understanding of the curriculum, enriching their learning in a local cultural context. This is evidenced:
- within our units of inquiry, you will find a range of familiar subjects taught across all grades in the Elementary School at SFS
- in the school’s curriculum is supported by learning outcomes for each grade which includes, Mathematics, English, Korean, Chinese, Science, Social Studies, Physical and Social Education, PE, Music and the Arts
- through the outcomes which provide a clear framework for students and parents to see progression and also potentially to facilitate transfer to other curricula or contexts
What is important to note, is the way in which PYP frames the learning for students. With a strong focus on the needs of our learners, current research underpins our beliefs, and teaching and learning practices.
- We believe learning which is significant, relevant, engaging and challenging serves to motivate students to be curious, to question and to be self-directed in their inquiries and research
- An inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning provides a guiding structure with the flexibility to meet the needs of a diverse range of learners and provides for the creative expression of ideas
- One of the aims of successful inquiry is that it will lead to responsible action, initiated by the students as a result of the learning process
- Learners are encouraged to decide on their actions; and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world
Grade Levels and Classrooms
Seoul Foreign Elementary School is organized by grade levels. Within each grade, students belong to a class taught by a highly qualified classroom teacher. Each class is heterogeneously grouped and has a maximum of 14 (Pre-K2), 14 (Pre-K3), 14 (Pre-K4), 20 (Kindergarten), 20 (Grade 1), and 22 (Grades 2 to Grade 5) students.
The classroom teacher instructs the core subject areas: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and Christian studies. Elementary students also attend specialized classes in the areas of physical education, library, art, music (including band and choir for upper grades), and Korean. The amount of time spent in these special classes varies from grade level to grade level due to the developmental age of the students.
Computer Technology instruction is integrated throughout the curriculum by two full time technology integrationists. They utilize computers (laptops on carts and desktops), iPads, and iTouches to provide enriching integrated lessons. Fifth Grade students are part of the SFS 1:1 laptop program. Each student is required to have a parent-owned laptop computer to use each day as one of their learning tools.
A full complement of specialists provides support to children with a range of learning needs. Learning support specialists, ESL teachers, and counselors work closely with classroom teachers to further facilitate student learning.
To maximize usage of SFS’s outstanding facilities, SFES operates on a six-day scheduling cycle. Each day of the school year is designated by a number “Day 1” through “Day 6.” These days are independent of a day of the week. Specialist classes such as art, music, Korean, and PE are assigned according to these various “number” days.
Children in Pre-Kindergarten2 (Pre-K2) to Grade 5 start school at 8:10 am and are dismissed at 3:00 pm (Pre-K2 children have the option of going home at 11:10am). Our younger students (Pre-K2 to Grade 2) have at least three breaks a day: mid-morning snack/recess, lunch recess, and mid-afternoon recess. Our older students (Grades 3 to Grade 5) have two breaks throughout the day: mid-morning snack/recess and lunch recess. After school SWEP activities run from 3:15 – 5:00 and are offered for children in Kindergarten to Grade 5.