As YCIS moves into 21st Century learning, our purpose built Learning Communities give students every opportunity to dig deeper into self-directed learning. The development of “soft skills” (including communication, collaboration, co-operation, resilience and flexibility) is fostered and grown and students move into wider thinking, as well as better developed social skills. These learning spaces are flexible, open, transparent and able to be used effectively by both large and small groups of students.
Learning Communities are ideally sized groupings (70-140) of students and teachers (including specialists and learning support), which are designed and organised to facilitate purposeful collaboration, to support the integration of knowledge and to engender a spirit of belonging and connection.
The physical spaces in which Learning Communities operate are flexible and cater for both individual and collective needs and responsibilities. There are spaces for quiet individual study and reflection, for teamwork and conversation, and for small and large group instruction. These spaces, coupled with the furnishings, support the sharing of outcomes and the design and making of the physical manifestations of learning. Creative expression in all its forms is enhanced by the spaces within our Learning Communities.
Every teacher in Years 3, 4 and 5 ensures that each child is treated the same: with the upmost care and respect. We provide a curriculum and learning programme that are both challenging and stimulating, ensuring that children enjoy their learning, as well as feel part of an ever-growing educational environment. Through Character Education, the children acquire the skills of how to become responsible global citizens, as well as learn how to take ownership of their own learning. Our open Learning Community environment helps to provide the students with a sense of well-being and a confidence in being able to communicate in two languages. Students are provided with a plethora of resources and opportunities, enabling a stimulating atmosphere, where creativity, exploration and imagination are greatly encouraged and developed.
Our bilingual teaching and learning programme in the Upper Primary helps students develop the skills they need in English and Chinese in order to become proficient speakers. In each area of the Learning Communities, students immerse themselves in both languages as Western and Chinese Co-teachers facilitate learning and provide feedback.
Students are supported throughout the programme by differentiated classes and groups. YCIS provides services to students who qualify for our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme and for our level-based Chinese classes. We want to build our students up to be capable communicators and confident risk-takers.
Learning Community teams work together to collaborate, innovate, design and implement learning programmes that are engaging, interactive and promote creative and critical thinking. We draw upon student interest to create units of study that follow the standards based on the National Curriculum in England. We find it important that students enjoy learning while exploring and retaining necessary foundational skills. Flexible co-teaching enables us to use fluid grouping not only within our space, but also across the year levels. This allows us to cater for individual needs to deepen understanding and embed concepts. We are also able to provide choices and a differentiated environment where students can thrive.
Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do within our Learning Communities. Teachers openly collaborate on all aspects of learning, which in turn models excellent collaborative skills for the students. Teachers meet every day to discuss and share best practice, to reflect on the day’s learning, to plan the next steps and to ensure that all students within the community are making the necessary progress in all aspects of their learning. As well as collaboration amongst teachers, collaboration amongst students is continually encouraged and improved. Students have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of personalities and nationalities in a variety of engaging projects, to help build their communication skills for now and the future.
The Arts (visual and performing arts, music and violin) are core to the YCIS programme. The Arts encourage students to see what they look at, hear what they listen to, and feel what they touch. Students seek, find and develop multiple solutions to problems, recognising that the world is filled with different possibilities and perspectives. Fine motor skills are developed through creating art works and playing (violin and classroom music instruments). Gross motor skills are developed through movement (dance) and exploration of space (drama).
Year 3 is the final year of the Violin programme. Students are now playing more complex music, and perform as an ensemble throughout the year. Performing Arts is introduced from Year 4, providing students with the opportunity to develop drama and dance related skills and understandings. Self-discipline, including concentration, is important in the Arts subjects. In the Arts classrooms, students are learning and creating with others, developing their collaborative skills. Learning is made visible through displays of student artwork, performing in concerts and in Years 4 and 5, through the recording and performing of music compositions.