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Elementary Curriculum



Language is fundamental to learning, thinking and communicating. Structured, purposeful inquiry is the main approach to teaching and learning language in the PYP although other teaching strategies and styles may also be used. Language is developed across the whole curriculum and as a result all teachers at NIS are language teachers who model and teach the use of language.  Learning takes place in authentic contexts, and literature plays a special role in enabling this to happen.

Students learn language when they are using it through speaking, listening, reading and writing in order to understand and express ideas. Teachers provide opportunities for this to happen in a safe and stimulating environment in order to encourage risk-taking and learning.

Our aim is to develop students’ ability to express themselves fluently, confidently and accurately in oral, written and visual communication systems.

While English is the language of instruction at NIS we support mother tongue usage to enhance understanding within the classroom and in other areas of the school provided that usage of another language other than English does not exclude others

Language Strands:

  • Oral communication: listening and speaking
  • Written communication: reading and writing
  • Visual communication: viewing and presenting



Mathematics in the PYP is primarily viewed as a global language through which we make sense of the world around us.   By engaging students in mathematical inquiry, the Math curriculum is learned in relevant, meaningful and realistic contexts, so ensuring that it is understood at a conceptual level.  In this way, students begin to use mathematics as a way of thinking, rather than seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized. 

Our aim is to develop students who are fluent in the language of mathematics and can apply their knowledge and understanding to real world situations.

The Mathematical Strands taught at NIS are:

  • Data handling
  • Measurement
  • Shape and space
  • Pattern and function
  • Number



In the PYP, science is viewed as the exploration of the behaviors of, and the interrelationships among, the natural, physical and material worlds. Science in the curriculum encourages curiosity, develops an understanding of the world and enables students to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and the world. Students actively construct and challenge their understanding of the world around them by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. The scientific process, by encouraging hands-on experience and inquiry, enables the student to make informed and responsible decisions.

Our aim is to develop scientific concepts and knowledge through hypothesizing, making accurate observations and thinking critically about findings.

The Science Strands taught at NIS are:

  • Living things
  • Earth and space
  • Materials and matter
  • Forces and energy



In the PYP, Individuals and Societies is designed to enable students to understand themselves in relation to their community. It is viewed as the study of people in relation to their past, present, future, environment and society.  The curriculum encourages curiosity and develops an understanding of a rapidly changing world. Students develop an understanding of their personal and cultural identities, as well as the skills and knowledge needed to participate actively in their classroom, their school, their community and the world.

The Social Studies strands taught at NIS are:

  • Human systems and economic activities
  • Social organization and culture
  • Continuity and change through time
  • Human and natural environments
  • Resources and the environment



PSPE in the PYP is concerned with the promotion and development of the concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to well-being. An active, healthy lifestyle – for mind and body - demands an awareness of physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development. Equally important is a maturing understanding of self - and capacity to positively affect our relationships with others.

The two subjects under the umbrella of PSPE are as follows:


Through Physical Education in the PYP, students are learning the “language” of physical movement while exploring the skills associated with the different areas of PE. Students learn to understand what they can and cannot do physically. They become aware of their own strengths and areas to develop in this discipline. Physical activity is an essential aspect of a balanced, healthy lifestyle and learning through PE helps build self-esteem, confidence, cooperation and fitness. Our aim is to stimulate students’ awareness of their own physical fitness and to simultaneously develop an interest in, and appreciation of, sport and physical activity. 



Personal and Social Education (PSE) in the PYP provides the models, processes and values for handling social and personal issues and ensuring health and well-being. Through PSE, students will develop their self-identity, use appropriate social skills when interacting with others in a range of situations, and learn to communicate and manage their feelings, emotions and opinions. PSE is integrated into all areas of the curriculum and helps students develop positive attitudes and behaviors in order to meet challenges, make healthy lifestyle choices and serve as responsible, respectful members of society.

The PSPE Strands taught at NIS are:

  • Identity
  • Active living
  • Interactions



Visual & Performing Arts are integral to the PYP. They are a powerful mode of communication through which students explore and construct a sense of self and develop an understanding of the world around them. Visual & Performing Arts provide students with a wide range of opportunities and means to respond to their experiences and engage with historical, social and cultural perspectives. The students are stimulated to think and to articulate their thoughts in new ways and through a variety of media and technologies. The PYP recognizes that not all learning can be supported solely through language and that visual and performing arts as a medium of inquiry also provides opportunities for learning, communication and expression. Learning about and through the visual and performing arts is fundamental to the development of the whole child, promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and social interactions.

At NIS, the performing arts are identified as music, drama and dance. In the elementary school music and art are the focus. Drama and dance may be integrated in specialist and homeroom classes.

The Visual and Performing Arts Strands taught at NIS are:

  • Responding
  • Creating




In the PYP, the ever-increasing impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on teaching and learning is recognized.   The use of technologies is integrated as much as possible into student inquiries.

ICT provides opportunities for the enhancement of learning, and may significantly support students in their inquiries, and in developing their conceptual understanding.  At NIS, technology is considered as a tool for learning, albeit with its own set of skills, as opposed to an additional subject area.

The uses of ICT at NIS include:

  • documentation of the learning, making it available to all parties
  • providing opportunities for rapid feedback and reflection
  • providing opportunities to enhance authentic learning
  • providing access to a broad range of sources of information
  • providing students with a range of tools to store, organize and present their learning
  • encouraging communication with a wide-ranging audience.


Due to increased demand in the community for admissions into NIS for the 2016-2017 school year, some classes are nearing capacity and applicants may be placed on a waitlist. More information can be found here. Please contact the NIS Admissions & Development Office for more information as soon as possible if you are considering NIS as an option for your child.

Elementary News

Secondary Sports Days

Both the Middle School and High School participated in sports day activities to end the school year, with the majority of the activities on Tuesday organized completely by the high school students, who divided up in groups by color and competed in games all day.

Read more about Secondary Sports Days

Elementary School Events