Years 1-3 (ages 5 - 7)

In Years 1-3, our Lower Primary students benefit from YCIS’s international curriculum which provides a strong academic education and a well-rounded experience in a multicultural, supportive, and bilingual environment.


Two co-teachers prepare for class at YCIS Shanghai

Unique Co-Teaching Model

Our Primary classes each have two fully-qualified Co-Teachers, one native English-speaking teacher and one native Chinese-speaking teacher, who work together to create the bilingual setting for which YCIS is known.

The Co-Teachers share equal authority in the classroom, and together they plan and implement lessons that are engaging, interactive, and that promote students’ critical thinking. They draw on the children’s interests to create units of study that follow the standards of the National Curriculum in England.

With two Co-Teachers in each classroom, every child benefits from personalised attention, and teachers are able to ensure that each child is treated with the utmost care and respect and that the children enjoy their learning.


A student learning Chinese characters with her teacher at YCIS Shanghai

Chinese Language and Studies Programme

In Lower Primary, the daily lessons in our pioneering, research-based Chinese Language programme begin, allowing the children to develop their Chinese listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Each school day, the children have a one-hour Chinese language lesson based on their learning level. Additionally, to further integrate our students into the dynamic culture of their host country, they also have one hour of Chinese Studies lessons each week.

Our Co-Teachers also aid in furthering students’ language development by providing additional vocabulary and conversation in both English and Chinese throughout the school day.

At YCIS, we see language as a tool to access culture, and for the students in Years 1-3, their education extends beyond the classroom to integrate their learning and use their Chinese language skills on field trips around Shanghai.


Educational Trips and Excursions

Throughout the school year, our students take trips and excursions as an extension of their learning. From large Shanghai parks to museums, and Chinese cultural sites to farms, these field trips are integrated into the broader YCIS curriculum, and the students are encouraged to reflect with their Co-Teachers’ once they return to their classrooms.


A girl playing violin at YCIS Shanghai primary school

Violin and Music Programme

All students in Years 1-3 learn the violin as part of the robust music curriculum which is designed to help build a foundation of musical skills as well as a lifelong appreciation for music.

During violin lessons, classes are divided into groups according to ability and experience, and taught by specialist violin teachers. Beyond the violin, students also have weekly music lessons during which they experience a great number of musical activities and instruments, as well as explore a wide range of live and recorded music from different eras and cultures.

The YCIS music curriculum also allows for an abundance of performance opportunities throughout the school year to help develop students’ confidence and presentation skills.

The music programme also supports academic achievement with activities which stimulate the brain, boosting language and mathematical development. Through songs, students learn to distinguish between similar speech sounds, which helps with their language development. Learning rhythms, decoding notes and symbols, and looking at patterns in music all help further their mathematical skills.


An asian boy and western girl painting together at YCIS

Primary Art Programme

Through our Primary Art curriculum, the children develop their creativity and imagination. Lessons focus on building fundamental art skills, and students practise with a wide range of materials and processes available in our large and bright art studios. Our experienced specialist art teachers also teach children about different artists as well as the purpose and history of art, craft, and design in different time periods and cultures.


A group of Primary students dancing together at YCIS

Physical Education Programme

In Lower Primary, our Physical Education (PE) Programme develops children’s fitness, co-ordination in movement, and co-operation with teammates through games and gymnastics. Students learn ball handling and equipment skills that are applicable to many different sports. Primary students are also encouraged to get involved in the large range of Co-Curricular sports activities available at our campuses.

Co-Curricular Programme

On both weekdays and weekends, our Lower Primary students are actively engaged in the wide range of Co-Curricular Activities we offer at our campuses. There is something for everyone, and students are encouraged to try their hand at the different options to develop their skills and interests. To learn more about our Co-Curricular Programme, please click here.


A primary girl shaking hands with her teacher during wellbeing assembly time at YCIS

Character Education and Student Wellbeing Programme

Our Character Education and Wellbeing Programme provides children with a focus on positive values and helps them develop the skills to become global citizens. The programme aims to support students in understanding themselves as individuals, developing healthy relationships with others, and the responsibilities of digital citizenship. There is also an important focus on personal safety and body awareness. Through meaningful lessons, this programme equips students with the skills to make informed decisions and choices.

The programme provides a focus on the development of moral character, the importance of helping others, and the desire to make a difference in the world around them.


To learn more about the Years 1-3 Lower Primary Programme at YCIS or to schedule a tour of one of our Primary campuses, please click here to contact our Admissions team.

To learn more about the Years 4-6 Upper Primary Programme at YCIS, please click here.

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