Academics Overview ES
The Elementary School at GAIS follows the academically rigorous, inquiry-based, trans-disciplinary program developed by the International Baccalaureate and known as the IB: Primary Years Programme (IB PYP).
It is based on the relevant standards from the International Baccalaureate Organization, the State of California, and German-speaking countries.
In the PYP we believe that children learn when they connect new knowledge with existing knowledge. The role of the teacher is to provide opportunities for students to build meaning and refine understanding through structured inquiry. In the process the children learn social, thinking, research, self management and communication skills necessary for all learning.
We have used a whole school approach to develop a Program of Inquiry (POI) that provides students with experiences that have logical sequence and build upon each other from year to year The Units are based on science, social studies and personal and social education. However to be truly educated, students must make connections across all the disciplines, discover ways to integrate the separate subjects and ultimately relate what they learn in life.
The PYP program promotes the use of a range of assessment strategies, which are designed to provide a picture of your child’s progress. These progress reports will be reported to you regularly, both verbally and in writing. Once a year we also have student-led conferences, where the children present their accomplishments as well as their goals for the future.
GAIS’ small class sizes and nurturing environment ensure that the teachers and staff can give students individual attention.
Differentiated teaching is practiced in the Elementary, and individual learning plans can be developed where necessary with parents and students to accelerate learning.
Both the individual attention and the IB allow for students to progress more quickly.
The teaching methodologies that are used in the Elementary are designed to:
- Involve students actively in their own learning
- Pursue open-ended inquiry and real-life investigation
- Build on what the student already knows
- Use a range and balance of best strategies and teaching practices from around the world
- Give students the skills necessary for the 21st century
The curriculum is specifically designed by the school to support the GAIS mission statement, and provide a seamless transition from the Vorschule/Kindergarten and strong preparation for the Middle School.
It is based on an international curriculum that includes the relevant standards from the International Baccalaureate Organization, the State of California, and German-speaking countries.
The teachers at GAIS are highly qualified, and are recruited from around the world. They hold advanced degrees relevant to the subjects that they teach.
IB training is an important component of our teachers’ professional development.
Field trips are a valued part of GAIS’s inquiry-based, real world education. Each class goes on a number of field trips that are directly linked to their unit of study each year.
Recent field trips include:
- Stanford Lively Arts
- The California Academy of Science
- San Mateo County History Museum
- Marine Science Institute
- Art Museum San Jose
- Hidden Villa
- SF Exploratorium
- Chabot Space and Science Center
- Kindergarten overnight at the school as part of their last unit
Community Service & Action
Successful global education leads to responsible student actions to making the world a better place. Students demonstrate this action in school (e.g., organizing events), locally (e.g., food/clothing drives), and globally (e.g., fundraising).
Students should expect to spend between 30 to 60 minutes on homework per night depending on their grade and their assignments. GAIS offers a homework club as an extra-curricular activity.