Preschool Programme

Our Preschool Programme (1 to 5 years) focuses on the holistic development of our children. In a supportive and enriching environment, our skillful teachers facilitate learning through play-based inquiry. The first step in the internationally-recognised educational framework for young learners, our programme has yielded success in different parts of the world.

Class Groupings

DIS Preschool has single-aged groupings for our youngest learners in order to meet their developmental needs regarding the physical setting, learning opportunities, and teaching strategies. The teaching team meets the Froggies group (Age 1-2) at age one and spends two years with the students, then moving with them into the Ducklings (Age 2-3) classroom and programme. The classroom cap for students in these classes is 12 children.

Multi-age groupings for our three- to five-year-olds (Tigers, Butterflies, Penguins) provide leadership opportunities for all children, make it easier to differentiate for challenges or early cognitive spikes, facilitate continuous progress at an individual’s pace, benefit from powerful peer modeling, and provide meaningful, engaged learning. Children spend two years with the same teaching team, in the same classroom.

Sensory Play

Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Senses include taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, balance and body awareness.

When a child is young and still developing, it is important to engage or activate each of the sensory systems so that they can integrate and grow into one cohesive sensory system.

DIS preschool teachers strive to provide stimulating, sensory opportunities in the classroom, in sport, and in outside play.

Inquiry-based Learning

Inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach of the whole of the Primary Years Programme and is recognised as allowing students to be actively involved in their own learning and to take responsibility for that learning. Inquiry allows each student’s understanding of the world to develop in a manner and at a rate that is unique to that student. Though inquiry may take different forms such as play-based inquiry, student-led inquiry, and teacher-led inquiry, in the broadest sense, inquiry is the process initiated by the students or the teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding.

The inquiry process includes:

  • Exploring, wondering and questioning
  • Experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • Making connections between previous learning and current learning
  • Making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • Collecting data and reporting findings
  • Clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • Deepening understanding through the application of a concept
  • Making and testing theories
  • Researching and seeking information
  • Taking and defending a position
  • Solving problems in a variety of ways

What do we teach at the Preschool?

The IB organization provides a framework for curriculum which includes six organizing themes, in essence, “big ideas” about our world and who we are. The preschool classes work on four of the six units during a school year. Usually, topics for this age group span over a period of four to six weeks. However, some of them are enjoyed all year long.

Theme Year A Year B
Who we are Children develop a sense of self as they grow. People in families care for one another.
How we express ourselves People may express feelings and ideas in different ways. People use rhythm and rhyme to express themselves.
Sharing the planet   Woods are important to the lives of people and animals.
How the world works Water exists in different forms and has different uses. Water exists in different forms and has different uses. Light helps us understand the world around us.
How we organize ourselves People have roles to help communities function.  

Things to know about bilingual education in the DIS Preschool

Whilst English is our primary target language, children are immersed in both German and English as the everyday language of conversation and activity. The target language is used in age-appropriate ways and authentic contexts of the children’s everyday life. The focus is on the languages as means of communication.

Each language is ’recycled’ through songs, stories read aloud, poems, role plays, class routines, experiments and inquiry to encourage a deeper understanding. Parents are encouraged and advised to verbally interact with and read to their children in their mother tongue. The stronger the child’s mother tongue language, the stronger additional languages will be.

Assessment

Assessment is integral to all teaching and learning. The purpose of assessment is to promote student learning, to provide information about student learning and to contribute to the evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme. Much of the assessment documentation for young children is accomplished through anecdotal notes and photography. Children may also explain and demonstrate their knowledge with manipulatives or pictures. Four tools for reporting on children’s development are parent conferences, student portfolios, yearly or semester reports, and student-led conferences. A developmental progress report is given in June to parents of children 1 to 3. Semester report cards are issued for children age 3 to 6.

Diversified Range of Activities

When possible, the preschool and kindergarten teachers plan age-appropriate field trips or guest speakers to provide students with first-hand, personal experiences.

Such trips in the past included a fire station, science lab, hospital, restaurant, Leo Mini Cup, Dresden Zoo, and the public library.

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