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Academics Overview PS

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.

Philosophy

The GAIS Preschool is a German immersion program where we believe that social, physical, emotional, and cognitive growth are interrelated and are of equal value. Children learn and grow as whole individuals through a balance between exploration, play and structure.

The Preschool encourages and guides children in the development of self-direction, individual responsibility, and intellectual growth.

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Children can reach their fullest potential if they develop a positive self-image.

To emphasize this goal, our Preschool offers an environment in which they learn to choose their activities, cooperate, share and form friendships with peers.

Teaching Methodology

Teachers at GAIS Preschool support students’ interests, build up their self- esteem and confidence, and respond to spontaneous events, as well as support the development of skills in all cognitive areas in relevant ways.

In Preschool the teachers collaboratively developed 8 units that are being taught over the timeframe of 2 years. Knowledge in the PYP is framed in the form of units of inquiry.

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These units have a global relevance, are engaging and significant for the age group and students of all culture.

For four to six weeks’ students inquire into concepts such as family, self, expression through music and dramatic play, life cycles, 5 senses and community members.

GAIS’ small class sizes and nurturing environment ensure that the teachers and staff can give students individual attention.

Curriculum

The GAIS Preschool program provides:

  • Mixed-age, developmentally appropriate classes
  • A balance between structured activities and time for free exploration Creative and hands-on activities
  • Development of social skills, fine and gross motor skills as well as emotional and cognitive skills
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  • An expansive play yard with a large shaded area in our redwood grove, space for bike riding, a large sand and water play area, an outdoor crafts area, garden and composting, a lawn for running and games, and an animal area
  • Cooking, planting and experimenting
  • Animal care for bunny, guinea pig, corn snake, fish, and crabs
  • Self-initiation and self-exploration
  • A fun and nurturing environment
  • Music, arts, crafts, movement, science, math and pre-literacy activities

Teachers

The Preschool teachers hold degrees that go beyond what is required for early childhood education; most assistants are fully qualified teachers.

We have low faculty turnover. Many staff members have been with for GAIS six to twelve years. All staff members are first aid and CPR certified.

IB training is an important component of our teachers’ professional development.

Social Environment

Field Trips: 

Each class does several field trips each year. Popular trips include: Youth Theatre, visit to the post office or fire station, train trip, local park for nature hikes.

Visitors:

Visitors to the preschool are an important part of the program. Recent visitors include: The Lizard Lady, a puppet theatre, and mini concerts. Parents are always welcome to participate in the classroom.