Our classes are small, a maximum of 10 children per teacher in the nursery groups (maternelle) and about 14 in the primary levels. This enables each child to also receive individual attention from their teacher, thus developing their language and reading skills at their own pace. The children stay with their class teacher for the whole school year, sometimes joining up with another class for story time or other special activities, such as preparing the Christmas Show. Our experienced teachers are all native speakers from a variety of Anglophone countries.
The Nursery Section
Maternelle 1, age 3-4 (Petite section)
One morning a week (2.5 hrs)
The classes are taught by a trained Montessori teacher. Montessori methods are used to develop the children’s manual, visual and organisational skills. They are exposed to language in a wide variety of contexts with plenty of opportunity for story time and songs to enlarge their vocabulary and strengthen their ‘feeling’ for the language.
Maternelle 2-3, age 4-6 (Moyenne and Grande section)
Two half days a week (5 hrs / week)
Each week, the children are introduced to a new letter sound. The group activities then revolve around that week’s letter sound, building up their vocabulary and confidence to speak in the group. We use craft activities where appropriate to explore some of the culture and traditions of the Anglophone world.
During the year reading is gradually introduced to the 4 to 5 year old group. The 5 to 6 year olds begin work on word formation and simple sentence construction. Each child has an individual reading session with a teacher every week.
A reading book and a library book are to be read at home each week.
Last but not least, twice a year, over Christmas and at the end of the school year, the children perform in a traditional show for their families.
The Primary Section
Primary 1, age 6-8 (CP to CE1)
The CP and CE1 classes focus on building the children’s confidence and enjoyment of English. They are encouraged to participate orally in simple class discussions and news sharing times, as well as singing and oral games. They are exposed to different accents from each other and the teachers and a shared story time is a popular part of the afternoon. Once a term the children will do craft activities to celebrate a specific event, often learning about English/American cultures and traditions. The teachers follow the British National Curriculum.
Age 6 – 7 (CP) – Wednesday afternoon (2.5 hrs/week)
We build upon the child’s basic reading and writing skills, moving beyond the simple ‘consonant-vowel-consonant’ words (c-a-t, h-e-n, p-i-g etc.) to diphthongs (sh, gr, pl etc), letter patterns (-all, -ill, -ack, -ink etc.), magic ‘e’ (hop -> hope), high frequency words (such as ‘the’, ‘with’), word families (colours, weather etc.) opposites and more. We develop their rhyming skills, broadening and enriching their vocabulary, and work on simple writing in a variety of ways. Basic grammar is introduced: punctuation, plurals, alphabetical order etc.
Also, the children have an individual 10 minute reading session with a teacher who monitors their progress and helps them to select their reading and library books for the following week.
There is homework every week and parental involvement is very important at this stage to ensure the homework is done and if possible, to go through the mistakes being made together. The children should read aloud to an adult regularly.
Age 7 – 8 (CE1) – Wednesday afternoon (2.5 hrs/week)
The children will be building up their writing skills in a variety of contexts, often using their spelling words in more complex sentences. Diary keeping is used in the holidays to develop their skills in writing and reporting back to the class, as do the book reports they will be encouraged to write. There is a strong focus on adjectives to expand their vocabulary and enrich their writing, also including UN- words, –ful/-less adjectives, and comparisons. More complex spelling patterns are studied (EE or EA?, OW or OU? etc.), parts of language (nouns, including compound nouns, adjectives and verbs), and asking questions, not only answering.
Non-fiction texts are introduced and the children begin to search for information, as well as two class reading books which form the basis for much of the classroom work. The children continue to have an individual 10 minute reading session with the reading teacher and take home a library book to read, along with their class reader. The children still need to read aloud to an adult regularly and will need parental involvement for the class readers.
There is homework every week and parental involvement remains important to ensure the homework is done and to go through the mistakes being made together.
Primary 2, age 8-11(CE2 to CM2)
The Primary II classes continue to build up the child’s grammar and writing skills through weekly exercises, as well as providing various contexts for them to practise their verbal presentation skills. Each class has three set reading books per year. There are roughly 1 ½ hours of homework per week, as well as some reading.
The teachers follow the British National Curriculum. However, with just 2 ½ hours of lessons at OurSchool per week, homework makes up an essential part if you wish your child to get the most out of the lessons and make visible progress. Your support and encouragement therefore remain a vital element to the programme.
Each class has three set reading books per year. There are roughly 1 ½ hours of homework per week, as well as some reading.
Age 8 – 9 (CE2) Wednesday afternoon (2.5 hrs/week)
In the CE2 class, the children will recount actual events and present to the class, write simple poetry and also reports on work they have researched. They will look more closely at key elements of creative writing and how to make written work interesting, in particular plot and character development. The use of simple paragraphs and conjunctions to this aim will also be worked on. The children will learn to spell words that don’t follow typical spelling patterns, work a great deal on homophones (pear/pair, there/their/they’re etc.), contractions (he’ll, I’d, we’re) and punctuation, such as commas and speech marks.
Age 9 – 11 (CM1 & CM2) Wednesday afternoon (2.5 hrs/week/level)
These two classes build upon and deepen the skills introduced in the CE2 class. The children will regularly present to the rest of the class and participate in class discussions. They will be encouraged to differentiate between fact and opinion. Progress will be made on their creative writing, recognizing main and secondary characters, identifying and developing the setting, plot (moral and theme) and the conflict/problem.
They will write their own short stories, often using a text as a prompt for their creative writing. As well as a book review, they will be asked to rewrite elements of text in their own words and later summarize the content of a longer text. They will work towards gaining a better understanding of how writing, its form, language and content all work. Towards the end they will be reading and writing from different points of view, as well as writing their own autobiography.
Vocabulary work will focus on word origins and derivations from Greek and Latin, synonyms and antonyms, and later prefixes and suffixes. We will look closely at words with multiple meanings, such as vision, light, treat etc. Later the children will practice explaining figurative and metaphorical use of words in context, and use similes and alliteration. Spelling is reviewed through different activities and then reinforced by spelling tests, placing the word in context and dictionary work.
Parts of speech will be revised, including the use of adverbs, and punctuation, particularly direct and indirect speech, and paragraphs. They will also be able to distinguish between active and passive verbs. Compound sentences and conjunctions will be worked on to improve the quality of the written work being produced.