We believe that our youngest students come to us as individuals, rich in prior knowledge, skills and experiences. They are capable and naturally curious, able to pose and solve their own problems. Relationships are at the heart of our Early Years programme – relationships with people, materials, and spaces.
Self-directed under the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and inspired by Reggio Emilia, our youngest learners see themselves as inquirers and problem solvers. They are offered a great deal of flexibility for curiosity to grow and develop into structured inquiry. Early Years students have a central role in their learning and know their voices and opinions matter. A wide range of collaborative learning experiences provide opportunities for children to express and extend their thinking and reach beyond their current knowledge, skills, and understanding.
Here, in a safe and inclusive environment, children have time and choice to explore personal interests, develop confidence, and be agents of their own learning. As they engage with the people, materials, and spaces in the Early Years Centre, students are constructing meaning and making sense of the world around them.
Pre-K and Kindergarten (K1 & K2) – Ages 3 to 5
In order to best facilitate learning in Early Years, our early education specialist teachers design learning experiences in collaboration with our youngest students, based on discussions, careful observations, documentation, and planning. The environment nurtures caring relationships and a culture of respect.
Designed specifically for small children beginning their learning adventure, our Early Years Centre champions play and discovery through use of all the senses.
Our Centre's fantastic and truly 21st Century spaces support visibility, choice, and flexibility, with floor-heated 'campfires' rather than fixed, traditional classrooms, soft, snug spaces for quiet learning and escape, as well as dynamic furniture that meets the needs of both students and teachers. The dynamic outdoor area offers a diverse range of physical, social, and sensory activities in a fun and safe environment. Fluidly moving from the indoor spaces to outside, our youngest connect their learning to the wider world with a focus on nature and fostering imagination.
Completed in 2019, our world-class Early Years Centre was designed by the renowned Australian studio EIW Architects to embody our school's innovative Strategy: Student Voice and Student Choice and Bursting the Bubble. EIW was recognised for their fresh approach, understanding, and diverse use and design of space at the Learning Environments Australasia Awards in 2020 as a category winner and in 2022 for the Association of Learning Environment's prestigious Kelly Tanner Innovation Award.
The Primary Years Programme lays a solid foundation for future learning with a whole-child approach. All areas of the curriculum encourage inquiry.
The PYP framework in Early Years is a holistic experience that integrates socio-emotional, physical, and cognitive development. It is designed to be responsive to young children’s ways of knowing, providing schools with a thoughtfully designed way to give 3-to-5-year-olds stimulating, supportive interactions with their teachers and the effective use of curricula.
Taking place in dynamic environments that promote play, discovery, and exploration, the PYP acknowledges that each child is unique and appreciates the fact that all children develop differently. Our inclusive mixed age Pre-K and K1 classes offer not only relationship-building, but the opportunity for our youngest to learn from their older peers, and our Kindergarteners to further develop their learning as mentors.
Swimming. Performing Arts. Library. Physical Education. Daily Mandarin.
Our Early Years follows an 8-day schedule with exciting and engaging specialist classes every day that foster inquiry and develop a love of learning. Below is an example of a school day for an Early Years student at NIS.
- 8am: School day begins
- 8:15am: Student choice. Children follow their interests and lead structured inquiry and play using the vast array of learning materials and spaces available in our multi-award-winning Early Years Centre.
- 8:30am: Morning meeting – teachers and students in each class meet to plan, reflect, and spark inspiration for the day ahead.
- 8:50am: Swimming specialty class.
- 9:30am: Healthy snack in our Early Years Cafeteria.
- 9:55am: Read aloud.
- 10:10am: Morning break.
- 1o:30am: Daily Mandarin class in our Early Years Centre or specialty "Hutong" learning space.
- 11:10am: Student choice.
- 11:50am: Lunch in our Early Years Cafeteria. Students have healthy and tasty food options from our school food caterer, AdenEdge, or can bring lunch from home.
- 12:30pm: Half-day Pre-K dismissal / Recess for K1-K2 and opt-in age 4 Pre-K.
- 1:30pm: Advanced small group literacy lessons for K1-K2 and opt-in age 4 Pre-K,
- 2:30pm: Advanced math lessons in counting and cardinality for K1-K2 and opt-in age 4 Pre-K.
- 3:oopm: School day ends.