New Beginnings and Smooth Transitions in Primary
The transition to primary school is a milestone for every child. The move might be exciting for some, and daunting for others as students face new opportunities and challenges. With changing locations for some of our YCIS locations, introducing new subjects and classes, and shifting away from a play-based learning environment, a smooth transition is essential to ensure children feel safe and secure. Our dedicated staff strives to provide this experience for students throughout their learning journeys at YCIS Shanghai.
*Year 1 at YCIS is equivalent to Kindergarten at USA/IBO schools.
Transition is an ongoing process that allows students to have the skills needed to move forward in their education. The academic leaders and teachers work together to build a rich transition programme that includes in-class work, activities to familiarise with Primary staff, and a CCA programme built around the interests and skills required for the following school year. For example, this includes gradual reduction of K4 nap time, frequenting the Primary School facilities including Art, Music, ICT, Violin, Gym, English Additional Language (EAL) and Library classrooms, and meeting Year 1 class and EAL teachers.
In addition to the guidance of our ECE teachers, the Primary section is also heavily involved during this time to support the different timetables and schedules of our newest Primary students. For example, students build on their solid learning foundations from our play-based learning curriculum (read Experts Say: Learn Through Play) in ECE and have specific classes every day like Maths, English, Chinese, Topic, etc. In addition, although ECE students will already be familiar with some Specialist teachers, the children are introduced to additional specialist classes such as ICT and Art.
Children in ECE already have a foundation in literacy from their project and play-based learning experiences. In Primary, English or EAL is taught as a separate class and by the English co-teachers and an additional EAL teacher to ensure diverse student needs meet equally. The students will focus on speaking and listening, phonics and spelling, reading and writing, and handwriting through collaborative planning from both teachers that help scaffold students. Students are supported during individualised learning periods such as guided reading, spelling, and phonics practice.
Another similarity children can be comforted with is our bilingual environment, as Chinese begins with our youngest learners in K2. In Lower Primary, the daily lessons in our pioneering, research-based Chinese Language programme start, allowing the students to develop their Chinese listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. One hour of Chinese as an Additional Language (CAL) or Chinese as a First Language (CFL) learning accompanies their other co-taught classes, such as Maths and Topic.
Developing critical thinking and analytical skills are at the core of the YCIS Shanghai curricula across all levels. Primary Mathematics is taught bilingually, is fun and interactive and integrated with technology. Co-teachers differentiate learning for students and focus on number skills to ensure that children understand what mathematical concepts mean and how to solve problems with numbers. Instead of just being able to calculate, we aim for children to develop a deeper understanding of numbers and encourage students to explain their thought processes and what strategies they have used in problem-solving.
To couple our focus on academic excellence, our international curriculum also emphasises life skills through the Lifeskills Programme. We prioritise positive values, healthy relationships, and developing skills to become global citizens starting at K2. In Primary, students will focus on transitions, identity, relationships, personal safety, and digital citizenship. We hope to equip students with the skills to make informed decisions and choices in and outside of school.
At YCIS, we believe the key to seamless transition is to ensure continuity between ECE and Primary and address the individual child's social, emotional, and educational needs on a personalised basis.
Although it might seem like a challenging time for both students and parents alike, moving from ECE to Primary can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. The school offers various information sessions for parents throughout the year, and for each stop on the academic roadmap (read Transitioning from Primary to Secondary With Care and Support), to better understand this process and so that we can work together to provide the very best support for our students.