Curriculum

Art

Broadly following the National Curriculum in England, many different types of art, craft and design flourish at GES. We aim to engage, inspire and challenge the pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create. We encourage them to think critically and develop a real understanding of art and design.

Children develop the skills of painting, claywork, woodwork, collage, mosaics, model making, sewing, embroidery and knitting. They are taught to care for and use the materials intelligently and creatively. All children participate in Art lessons once or twice a week according to their age.

Links are made with other subjects to show how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of the world. We take advantage of our location to inspire creativity and link to projects at, for example, the United Nations. Curriculum art is enhanced by a variety of opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school activities which may focus on specific types of art such as watercolour or printing.

Computing

We aim to stretch pupils’ understanding of technology and foster confidence in approaching new technology. This is an essential preparation for their digital future when they will need to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world!

In addition to weekly computing lessons, computers are used as tools to enhance and facilitate learning across all subjects. Our trolleys of Apple MacBooks and iPads are brilliant for researching and recording learning in many different ways. This includes children developing the skills to create music, movies and podcasts.

The computing curriculum broadly follows the National Curriculum in England and is designed to enable our children to use technology effectively in order to solve problems. We explore and create algorithms, designing programs and fixing bugs to accomplish specific goals. We learn about computer networks, including the internet - how they can provide multiple services, such as the world-wide web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration. We select, use and combine a variety of software to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information. And at all times, we use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognising acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and knowing how to report concerns.

Curriculum computing is enhanced by opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school activities which may focus on specific types of computing such as coding or robotics.

Dance

Dance develops children’s ability to collaborate, communicate and express themselves creatively through movement.

As well as being taught specific dance skills, the children get to learn the way their bodies can move. They participate in choreographing, rehearsing, performing and appreciating a range of dance styles in an enjoyable, relaxed environment. They compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.

Curriculum dance is enhanced by opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school activities which may focus on specific types of dance such as street dance or ballet.

Drama

Drama is part of our weekly curriculum and is invaluable as a means of developing language skills, encouraging positive social interaction, and building confidence and creativity. The children’s imagination is stimulated by role play and improvisation activities, which are often linked to other curriculum areas.

There are many opportunities, such as Christmas, Spring and Summer performances and assemblies, for the children to express their creativity, demonstrate their presentation skills and learn how to listen and respond appropriately.

Curriculum drama is enhanced by opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school activities such as Lower School drama, Performing Arts or French Theatre, where the children can improve their skills and express their talent and beyond.

English

Mastery of language through the expression of thoughts, beliefs, concepts and feelings helps communication and confidence. The English curriculum broadly follows the National Curriculum in England and aims to ensure that all children are taught the necessary skills to use English effectively, confidently and accurately to the best of their ability.

Children are encouraged to apply their skills and knowledge in a variety of contexts, to different audiences and for the purposes of communication, creativity and enjoyment. From the beginning, children have the chance to express their thoughts and ideas in speech, drama and writing.

Our English curriculum has been designed to ensure that students will acquire essential skills in:

  • Speaking and listening
  • Writing, including spelling and handwriting
  • Reading

Jolly Phonics is the scheme used in Reception and provides a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It uses a method of teaching the letter sounds in a way that is fun and multi-sensory. Children learn how to use the letter sounds to read and write words.

Jolly Grammar is the next stage of the scheme and is taught in Key Stage 1 and 2. It is an active and multi-sensory way of helping children to develop an understanding of how grammar works while consolidating their knowledge from Jolly Phonics. By teaching key essential grammar rules and then more complex concepts, it helps children bring diversity to their writing and improve their spelling in a structured way. Children learn a wide range of language forms, spelling rules, punctuation, grammar, and parts of speech in engaging, memorable ways.

Creative writing is enhanced using the Talk for Writing scheme. This approach,developed by the educational writer and poet, Pie Corbett, is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn; modelling words, encouraging children to read and understand them, before writing their own version.

Children read regularly at GES, both individually and in groups to develop their skills,, and extend their comprehension and ability to express themselves. They follow the English book bands to help them progess in the right way and their reading is regularly assessed . Children bring books home daily with a reading record to ensure communication between school and home. They also visit the school library each week to choose other books they want to read, and to learn the skills and joy of using a library.

To encourage 7 to 12 year olds to keep enjoying their reading, we subscribe to an online site called Reading Eggspress. The site is packed with hundreds of great online activities, books, and games designed to help children to improve their reading skills in an engaging and age-appropriate way. Click here to visit Reading Eggspress.

French

French is taught by a staff of six qualified and experienced mother-tongue teachers. Children are grouped according to their knowledge and ability.

French lessons for the younger children focus on conversation, collaborative games and songs to help them easily absorb grammar and new vocabulary. As the children progress through GES, more emphasis is placed on writing and grammar while continuing their French speaking. In Years 5 and 6, children are taught part of their Science lessons in French to build French language skills and to learn French in a different way. Year 6 have pen-friends from Saint Jean-Baptiste school in Megève and meet with them twice a year.

The French Department organises a variety of interesting outings that help bring French language learning to life for the children. These include:

  • Le théâtre des marionettes: Les Croquettes
  • Le théâtre des marionettes de Genève
  • Musée d’histoire naturelle
  • Alimentarium (Vevey)
  • Vieille ville de Genève pour l’Escalade
  • Pièces de théâtre à AmStramGram
  • Musée du château de Prangins
  • Le cirque Starlight
  • Concerts au Conservatoire de Musique de Genève
  • Concerts au Victoria Hall
  • Pièces de théâtre au théâtre du Loup à Genève

Throughout the year, pupils celebrate Swiss and French festivities such as l'Escalade, l'Epiphanie (Galette des Rois), La Chandeleur (pancake party), and Pâques (Easter).

Mathematics

The mathematics curriculum has been developed in line with the National Curriculum in England to ensure that our children receive a thorough grounding in basic mathematical skills and concepts.

Early mathematical experiences lay the foundation for future expertise. Through imaginative, differentiated and practical activities, we ensure children find enjoyment in their learning, as well as appreciating the importance of mathematics.

The Abacus scheme is used as the basis of the mathematics curriculum from Years 1 - 6, with extension and support activities planned to ensure each child is appropriately challenged. Problem solving, investigation and high order thinking skills play a large part in the learning process.

Mathematics includes discussions, manipulation of concrete materials, investigations, problem solving, mental maths, practice and consolidation. The mathematics curriculum is divided into four main strands:

  • Number, including pattern and function, number systems, computation, decimals, percentages, fractions and numerical patterns
  • Data handling, including graph work and probability
  • Measurement
  • Shape and Space

To support children in their learning both at school and at home, we subscribe to 'Active Learn'. Visit the Active Learn website.

Music

We want our children to find their music learning motivating, interesting and stimulating.

They discover music through singing, movement, dance and instrumental activities. In their lessons, children explore the main concepts of music (rhythm, melody, texture, tone, colour, dynamics and form) through the elements of composing, performing, listening and appraising.

Curriculum music is enhanced by a variety of opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school activities such as guitar groups, ensembles and the Lower and Upper School choirs. Around a third of the pupils receive individual music tuition (guitar, violin, drums, piano, recorder, flute, saxophone) from visiting music teachers each week and children are encouraged to perform in assemblies to showcase their talents.

A carol concert is held before Christmas, and both Lower and Upper School classes prepare and perform a musical show during the year.

Outdoor education

GES benefits from an amazing location and lots of outdoor space. Teachers imaginatively use natural resources as learning tools and get outdoors when they can to further promote learning through moving and doing.

A shady outdoor classroom is used for a variety of activities throughout the year – from mathematical shape hunts to storytelling.

A new natural outdoor area with sensory paths, a bug hotel, a willow walk and fire pit is currently under development.

History & Geography

Whilst we generally follow the National Curriculum in England for History and Geography, much use is made of our local and international context and environment. Geneva and its surroundings provide a rich diversity of culture, language, history and geographical features ensuring that children have first-hand experience on which to build their understanding.

Excursions to museums and other places of interest take full advantage of learning out of the classroom.

We look to encourage an interest in the world, its history and its people. Children learn how other people live and have lived, making the most of connections within our own community of students and staff when we can. Emphasis is put on the ability to find information from a variety of sources, to communicate findings through an appropriate medium, to interpret texts, pictures, charts and maps, and to evaluate information.

This year, following Barry Gray's visit, the whole school got involved in several Antarctica projects, focusing on its geographic situation, climate, glaciers, animals, explorers and more.

Physical education

GES provides children with a programme which promotes learning through movement. A wide range of sporting activities (as part of the curriculum and co-curricular) provide the opportunity for each child to discover that physical activity is an important and enjoyable part of their personal wellbeing.

Our PE lessons focus on a range of sports and games to enable pupils to develop their physical fitness and skills. Although competition is introduced and encouraged, the emphasis during the primary years is on participation in an enjoyable, safe and non-threatening environment.

Curriculum PE is enhanced by a variety of opportunities to participate in lunchtime and after school sports and physical activities such as netball, football, rugby, basketball, cricket, golf, yoga, athletics, cross-country running, hockey and cricket. An annual ski competition is organized at a nearby ski station in which over half the school, from Nursery upwards, take part.

GES takes part in inter-school competitions in various sports including:

  • COBIS (Council of British International Schools) competitions
  • Local netball competitions
  • Tournoi Scolaire football competition
  • Local boys and girls football tournaments
  • British Inter-school Ski Challenge in Les Houches
  • SGIS (Swiss Group of International Schools) ski competitions
  • UK netball tour
  • UK rugby tour
  • GES inter-schools athletics competition
  • GES inter-schools cross-country competition
  • GES inter-schools netball competition

Science

Science learning at GES broadly follows the English National Curriculum in England. Children are encouraged to explore and investigate in order to have a greater understanding and appreciation of how science has changed, and continues to change, our lives.

As they explore key concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise and suggest rational explanations, and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the world around us. They learn to understand how scientific models can be used to explain observations, make predictions and to suggest further exploration and research.

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