Lower School

Welcome to the Lower School! This is my first year at CDNIS and I am excited to join an incredible team of educators. When I first visited the school, I was inspired by the friendly and welcoming environment I felt the moment I walked through the door. The classrooms were filled with confident, happy students engaged in their learning. Their teachers were dedicated and innovative professionals clearly committed to the development of the children’s values, character, and knowledge.

The Lower School is a dynamic place where students can interact with and explore their world in a caring and supportive environment. The Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate provides the educational framework for students to experience an inquiry-based learning environment that challenges children to think for themselves, take responsibility for their learning, and contribute to the world around them. 

Along with this academic rigour, well-being is a foundational pillar to life-long success. The Lower School pastoral care programme provides the structures, support, and skills for our students to be healthy and balanced young people who are prepared to meet future challenges.

Successful communication, trust, and mutual respect are vital. In order to achieve these values, the Lower School works hard to reinforce the close-knit relationships between the school and our families. Whether you are a prospective family wanting to learn more about our school or a current family here in the CDNIS community, I look forward to meeting with you and answering any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out. I am happy to assist you in any way I can.

Lief Erickson
Lower School Principal

Primary Years Programme

The Lower School comprises all students from Early Years 1 to Grade 5 and represents 60 per cent of the student body of CDNIS.

Our Early Years 1 (EY1) and Early Years 2 (EY2) half-day programmes (7:50am-10:20am or 11:50am-2:20pm) are designed to provide our youngest students with an introduction to school life. The programme offers a varied and "hands on" approach to all the basics, providing a strong foundation in the early years. Students participate in activities and experiences, which promote steady growth in their social, behavioural, physical and cognitive development. Included in the regular curriculum are Mandarin, music, PE and library, which are taught by specialists. There are up to 20 students in both the morning and afternoon EY1 classes, with a full-time teacher and two full-time classroom assistants. The EY2 AM and PM classes have 18 students, with a full-time teacher and a full-time classroom assistant.

The full-day Preparatory programme (7:50am-2:20pm) is a child-centred, activity-based programme. The children enjoy a warm and caring environment where they interact with their peers and nurturing adults in a variety of activities. The activities and experiences provided for the students are designed to capture their interest in learning, encouraging them to be creative and at the same time to satisfy their desire to explore and discover. There are five classes at the Preparatory level with approximately 20 students per class, each with a full-time teacher and a full-time classroom assistant. Included in the regular curriculum the students receive lessons in Mandarin, music, PE and library, which are taught by specialists.

From Early Years 1 to Grade 5, children are taught following the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP). This course of study concentrates on an inquiry-based approach to learning and encourages students to adopt the attributes of the “Learner Profile”. Classes encompass the basics of language arts, mathematics, Mandarin, social sciences, science, computer literacy, art, music and PE.

The primary goal of the Lower School is to have each child become an independent learner. We want students to excel both academically and personally and to show concern and respect for the school community and the community in which they live.

Evaluation and progressive testing is an ongoing process that takes place throughout the year with daily quizzes, participation, projects and home learning.

Please take the time to learn more about our programme by reviewing the PYP Parent Pack or PYP Early Years brochures from the IBO.