Sotogrande International School is a World IB School offering the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (3 – 11 years old). The curriculum is inquiry-based and concept-driven which equips students with the skills needed for their future. For our youngest students (4 months – 3 years) we have a separate Reggio Emilia inspired Early Years Centre, Fundamentals.
At Sotogrande, not only do we strive for academic excellence, but we focus on the development of the whole child, using a multitude of exciting learning environments. Classrooms are modern and equipped with the latest Apple technology, allowing teachers to be creative and prepare interactive and fun lessons. Outside children have access to playgrounds, woodlands with play areas and even a bug hotel!
Our established, passionate and experienced teaching teams offer a personalised approach to learning, providing extraordinary educational experiences that allow our students to connect with, and explore their passions and purpose. Within Primary this is supported by teams of homeroom teachers, teaching assistants and specialists in Spanish, music, drama, sports and technology. In addition, we have dedicated Student Support Services, an English Language Development department and a peripatetic music team.
We offer a full and varied extra-curricular activities programme providing many opportunities for students to explore their unique interests, gifts and talents. Activities range from music and expressive arts to STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths), chess and sporting clubs.
Our experienced Fundamentals Team are passionate about young children’s development and education. The learning environment is calm and happy, and there are lots of green outdoor spaces to play in and explore.
The development of individuals is key, and children take part in Reggio Emilia inspired activities and experiences to develop their curiosity, creativity and confidence.
From the first day, families are welcomed as part of the school community. We work to create strong bonds and a setting that feels like home. Education and development are important, but we know that nothing matters more than the safety, security and the health of your child.
Children in Early Childhood receive an international, child-centred education based on the latest research. We offer, unique to this area of Spain, the International Baccalaureate Curriculum, Primary Years Programme, with a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to learning. This approach is student-centred and uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
Children are taught by passionate, experienced and dedicated teaching teams of homeroom teachers and specialist language, music, drama, sports and IT teachers with excellent teacher/student ratios.
Within our designated Early Childhood building we have open-plan learning spaces. Our rooms are filled with natural light, calmness and beauty to encourage collaboration, communication and exploration. We believe that learning should happen in and beyond the classroom and therefore have developed outdoor learning spaces to facilitate this. Our students have the opportunity to use our carefully designed outdoor classrooms, a large playground and our safe, natural, forest area.
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a well established curriculum introduced in 1997, that was created specially for international schools. Sotogrande began working with the PYP in 2003 and has now become a well renowned provider of the programme. Our own Head of Primary is an experienced workshop leader and facilitates PYP training for schools across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The PYP is more than just a curriculum, it is a holistic learning experience, in which social and emotional development are combined with high academic standards. The essential elements of the PYP include:
The PYP framework enables these elements to be interwoven through units of inquiry and school life. The careful combination of these elements deepens students’ understanding of complex ideas. Teachers use the framework to create authentic learning experiences by identifying the most relevant skills, concepts, knowledge and dispositions from different subject areas. Student’s contributions and involvement is enthusiastically encouraged, it makes learning meaningful and relevant to each child as they make connections to their culture and outside interests, as well as exploring new ideas. The PYP is adapted to state and national standards internationally which makes for a smooth transition to other curricula.
The PYP provides a structure which is not only concerned with what and when, but also how effective learning happens. We know that successful people and innovations are the result of people who are resilient, creative thinkers who can apply skills from across traditional subjects to explore new ideas. The PYP nurtures this adaptability and confidence to explore, make choices, draw conclusions and communicate effectively. Deeper understanding is developed by using facts and knowledge to test out their theories and conclusions. Students are nurtured as learners, guided and supported to take responsibility for their learning. Year by year we see those students who achieve the highest results in IB Diploma are those who started their learning journey in the Primary School.
At SIS our Mathematics Curriculum provides a sequential, activity-based program which enables student learning through the provision of meaningful experiences that relate to real-life situations. In the PYP, mathematics is viewed as a vehicle to support inquiry, providing a global language through which we make sense of the world around us. Our maths programme is divided into five strands:
We help children to develop a positive attitude and appreciation of mathematics as part of everyday life, that is useful, relevant and enjoyable. Our personalised approach provides for children’s individual needs and builds upon prior experiences. Through flexible groupings and regular assessments, we develop the skills, concepts and strategies necessary to be successful in mathematical situations. It is intended that students become users of the language of mathematics, appreciate it’s beauty and the crucial role it plays in the world, and reach their full potential.
Language wraps itself around, in, through and between everything that we teachers and learners do in the classroom. (Ritchhart 2002: 141)
At SIS we create a challenging and motivating multilingual environment where the language of instruction is English. The PYP Language Scope and Sequence identifies language within three strands:
Through our English language programme, we aim to develop confident, curious, highly proficient and enthusiastic readers, writers, viewers, presenters, speakers and listeners.
English is always taught meaningfully and in context. We advocate the learning of language through inquiry, allowing students to make connections with context, to explore and investigate. In Primary School, English is integrated into the units of inquiry and also organised into stand-alone language sessions.
For our Early Childhood students who are learning English as an additional language, it is introduced through our immersion programme. A more specialised programme is followed in Primary School. To ensure all students meet their true potential and accelerate progress to the highest level, we offer personalised learning, flexible language groupings and extra English Language Development classes with specialist highly qualified English teachers.
At SIS, all our students have the opportunity to learn Spanish since 3 years old. The learning of the Spanish language can be acquired as “ First Language” or, as “Additional Language”. We are aware that learning more than one language enriches personal growth and facilitates the development of an international mindset.
To study their native language improves the learning outcomes of children, increases their self-esteem and reinforces their cultural identity, both individually and collectively. Because of that, our Spanish students can develop their language through Primary and Secondary. A curriculum based on the language, culture and familiar environment by the child, with appropriate and local developed pedagogical materials, crucial for learning in the Early Years.
To articulate the native language in the early stages of learning in multilingual contexts perfectly joins with childhood-centered policies. Our teachers have and use collaborative educational strategies that activate children in the teaching and learning process. Such strategies are only possible when children understand the language of instruction and therefore, they can have interactive participation.
Our school offers students the opportunity to study the following core subjects in each year: Nature Sciences and Social Sciences in an integrated way and Spanish Language and Literature, according to the Spanish program of the National Curriculum. These lessons are taught by a Spanish teacher with a degree granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education and allow them to obtain the LOMCE Primary Education Certificate.
However, this is not only exclusive for Spanish students, but any student can also obtain this certificate regardless of their nationality. With this certificate, students can continue their studies in any school with a Spanish curriculum.
Spanish as an Additional Language is structured in 2 levels based on PYP ́s phases. Students will begin at any level, depending on their progress in language proficiency, changes will be allowed at an advanced level throughout the teaching-learning process, thinking on each student’s progress and development.
Something to highlight is the opportunity to learn Spanish in the subjects of Sports, Technology, Music and in Extracurricular clubs that will be in contact with the native Spanish-speakers classmates.
This teaching-learning process carries out through authentic experiences that allow students to learn the language in a meaningful and comfort contexts, thus being able to make connections, apply their knowledge and transfer the concepts they have already understood to new situations. Every success is celebrated, knowing that it provides a strong incentive for future achievement.
As a school we have been recognised in many ways as leaders in education. Among our many awards we are proud to be recognised as an Apple Distinguished School, serving as a “lighthouse” for other schools who regularly visit us to find out more about how we integrate technology into our curriculum to support and enhance learning.
IT and encompasses the use of a wide range of digital tools, media and learning environments for teaching, learning and assessing. Technology provides opportunities for the transformation of teaching and learning and enables students to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize and be responsible for their own learning and actions. ICT allows students to make connections and reach a deeper understanding of its relevance and applicability to their everyday lives. Through the use of Technology, learners develop and apply strategies for critical and creative thinking, engage in inquiry, make connections, and apply new understandings and skills in different contexts.
Within our Curriculum, students are supported and use technology as a tool for learning. Throughout Primary we run a 1:1 iPad programme and we are equipped with a dedicated Maclab. In addition we have a full technology programme where teachers and students are supported by a Team of IT specialists who integrate technology throughout the curriculum. Some examples of technology projects include developing computational and critical thinking skills – Coding and robotic, real-world engagement projects using advanced video and audio editing and 3D design.
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