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Bilingual Kindergarten

Students doing role play as construction workers
2 kindergarten girls playing in the snow

Bilingual Kindergarten

Children are interested observers and curious explorers who are continually constructing meaning to make sense of the world around them (Yogman et al. 2018). They learn through self-discovery and discovery in social environments.  For the early learners in our Kindergarten, we follow an inquiry-based approach using the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), for which the school is fully accredited.

At ISL, Kindergarten (called maternelle in French) comprises:

  • Transition Kindergarten (TK), for children turning 3 years old (toute petite section, TPS)
  • Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K), for 3–4 year olds (petite section, PS)
  • Junior Kindergarten (JK), for 4–5 year olds (moyenne section, MS)
  • Senior Kindergarten (SK), for 5–6 year olds (grande section, GS)

Play and Learning in a Bilingual PYP Environment

The Kindergarten is staffed by fully qualified teachers who are supported by experienced teaching assistants. The children follow a bilingual immersion programme in which a quarter of their school week is conducted in French and the remainder in English. 

Areas of learning such as language acquisition, mathematical skills, scientific investigations, visual arts, music and physical development are explored through four Units of Inquiry. Kindergarten children benefit from frequent in-school workshops and visits to the local community linked to their learning. They also use facilities such as our school library, gym and the recently installed artificial-turf multi-sports terrain, which they regularly use during outdoor learning. The children have access to age-appropriate designed toilet facilities, a nap room (Pre-K) and a snack/lunchroom. 

The programme for the early learners prioritises the IB approaches to learning skills (ATL) and the attributes of the IB learner profile, which are central to the PYP Programme. These are both important in the development of social and emotional skills including self-management, self-care and ultimately, independence.

The school offers after-school care at an additional cost.

Play-Based Learning

Inquiry through play in Kindergarten supports the notion that learning is an active process. Safe, stimulating and inviting learning environments and supportive relationships, created and demonstrated by the learning community, further support this learning process.

Diagram showing how play supports the development of young learners in a variety of ways
Play supports the development of young learners in a variety of ways

When these elements are in place, children respond with curiosity, imagination, creativity and agency. Through this active inquiry process, they naturally develop language ability, practise symbolic exploration and expression, and become self-regulated learners. As their skills evolve, children develop a positive sense of identity to interact, reflect and contribute to their own and others’ learning and development.

See below for some of the types of play children engage in at ISL.

2 students trying to balance as many coat hangers as possible on a single hanger

Collaborative Play

Collaborative Play enables children to work cooperatively, taking turns, sharing resources and solving problems together.

3 students dressed as surgeons

Role Play

Role Play helps children to make sense of the world around them by taking on pretend roles and situations and in developing empathy and an understanding of their feelings.

2 students playing with dinosaur toys

Small-World Play

Small-World Play allows children to act out scenarios from real life, or stories they have heard in a miniature form, using small figures and objects.

3 students playing with foam as a form of sensory play

Sensory Play

Sensory Play provides opportunities for children to actively explore their world using their five senses.

4 students climbing on a play structure

Playtime or Recess Play

Recess Play gives children opportunities for independently navigating friendships, practising conflict/resolution skills, increases physical activity that helps with memory, attention, and concentration.

A student drawing a picture

Physical Play: Fine Motor

Fine-Motor Play activities help children to develop the skills needed for handwriting and self care tasks.

kindergarten students playing with a parachute

Physical Play: Gross Motor

Gross-Motor Play activities help children to develop skills through using the large muscles of the body in a coordinated and controlled way.

Kindergarten students using an eye dropper to add blue water to a cylinder to demonstrate how rain works

Inquiry-Based Play

Inquiry-Based Play encourages children in planning and carrying out investigations, proposing explanations, asking “what if” questions and making connections in their learning.

2 students hitting pans with sticks to make music

Creative Play

Creative Play enables children to express their ideas, experiences and emotions through a variety of ways whilst they are learning how to articulate their thoughts clearly.

A student picking strawberries in the school garden

Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play gives children the experience of learning in a sensory-rich environment with fewer restrictions of space, noise and allowing greater opportunities for social interaction.

A student making 3D shapes with straws and connectors

Maths Through Play

Maths Through Play enables children to explore and make sense of the world by finding patterns, manipulating shapes, measuring, sorting, counting, estimating, posing problems and solving them.

2 students reading a French book together

Literacy Through Play

Literacy Through Play helps children to find new ways of making meaning and exploring the world through spoken language, in books and in written form.

For additional details of our Kindergarten and Primary curriculum, please consult our PYP documentation:

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