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IST's Junior School Sector is typically a five-year programme starting at approximately age 6. Unlike the Pre-School's 100% immersion programme, the Junior School is one of dual-immersion : students follow their studies in two Languages A. Most families elect English and Chinese / French / German / Spanish, although IST does not require that English be chosen. They spend half a day in full-immersion in one Language A, and then at lunchtime take their books and their bags and change rooms and teachers for full-immersion in their other Language A.
The Junior School focus also changes from the Pre-School focus on Speaking to one on Writing. We believe that by learning to write, students will of necessity learn to read, and that while reading can be practised and developed one one's own, a teacher is needed. Students seeking to enter Junior School must usually have conversational ability in both Languages A chosen. Families whose child(ren) is not at this level may need to arrange for intensive coaching before s/he can enter. Please contact us for more information.
The Junior School day is an hour longer than the Pre-School's, providing for the dual-immersion and allowing for the Specialist programme. We maintain the mid-Session Breaks (or recess) thus, the AM and PM Sessions each contain two 90-minute blocks. The Co-curricular programme has a higher profile and a greater importance in the Junior School, particularly Visits (visiting experts and speakers) and Trips (students leave campus), and the two ninety-minute sessions easily allow for both without impinging on other elements of the School day.
Launched in 2008/2009 and adding a level each year, IST's Junior School programme will not suit every child. The programme is unashamedly academic; samples of our year-by-year Expectations (or Learning Outcomes or competencies) can be found below. We believe that learning can be fun, and our skills-based or activity-based approaches ensure students are busy and actively engaged.
Standards, Testing and Assessment
Junior School students are continually assessed through their daily classroom activities, sometimes formally and mostly informally. Report cards are sent home at the end of each semester, with 30% of the grade coming from Tests which are benchmarked to external standards by selecting questions taken from preparation materials for American SAT and Stanford 9 assessments, English SAT and Key Stage assessments and so on. Our students also enter relevant competitions such as State and national writing competitions, or the national French Contest which further allow for objective performance comparisons. From 20011/2012, our J4 students will enter the Royal Schools of Music music examnations, and the International Schools Assessment.
Junior School students begin receiving homework in J1 with 15 minutes per night alternating between the Languages A. We not agree with "busy work" or with assigning curricular content which was not covered during the School Day. Our main purposes in assigning homework are to develop the habit of study and the responsibilyt for one's own learning, while also providing for useful skills practice.
More information and answers to specific questions can be found in the Junior School Parent Handbook.