A primary school which offers every student a solid cultural education and an excellent preparation in all subjects. An elementary school characterized by innovation and proposing a bilingual curriculum offering subjects taught in English by teachers who are native English speakers and the use of new technologies (Interactive Whiteboards, tablets, laptops).
The teaching at the Elementary School is conceived for families that believe in a school with a solid educational base guaranteed in the paritaria tradition (DM n. 150 del 17/06/2013) and, at the same time, choose a quality education in a second language. The curriculum conforms to programmes established by the Italian Ministry of Education and relies, in terms of the teaching of English, to the levels established in the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR).
The disciplines that are the base of the curriculum, Italian, History, Geography, Mathematics are taught by a team of Italian teachers to guarantee linguistic fluency as well a preparation conforming to the demands of Ministry requirements.
The English language curriculum (disciplines included are English, Science, Music, Art) is taught by a team of teachers who are native speakers of English, that in addition to the language transmit Anglo-Saxon cultural values (individual responsibility, an expression of collectivity in the creation of associations and societies, a strong sense of duty, etc.) according to the Dewey principle ‘we learn what we live’.
OPENING HOURS – the Elementary School is open Monday to Friday, from 7.30 to 18.00, educational activities begin at 8.30 and end at 16.00.
Campuses – The Elementary School classes are at both the Main Campus (via San Gallo/viale Lavagnini) and the viale Matteotti Campus. Both campuses include:
– a Language Classroom organized as an open classroom with rugs, desks, and thematic areas where the children and teachers (as active participants in learning, co-learning with students) and can learn in an sensorially favourable environment;
– an Art Studio, with large working tables and shelving organized by materials: painting, paper, art books, mixed media; special media (e.g. working with clay).
In addition, at the viale Matteotti Campus, there is a Music Laboratory and a Library.
The Elementary School Day
(Italiano) La scuola è aperta dal 1 settembre al 30 giugno dal lunedì al venerdì in orario7.30 - 18.00. L'attività didattica si svolge dal 15 settembre al 10 giugno, dalle 8.30 alle 16.15.
Educational activities, includes time for a snack (app. 10.30)
Lunch, in line with the nutritional guidelines established by the Regione Toscana. At the Main Campus, lunch is prepared on-site. At the Matteotti Campus lunch is delivered by a company that makes meals that are 100% organic. After lunch, the children play in the classrooms or outside.
Second part of the day’s educational activities. A small snack is offered at 16.00
After school, there is the possibility of taking part in optional extra-curricular activities.
Due to a generous weekly schedule, children receive 10 hours of teaching in English. They are able to learn English at a relatively good pace while continuing to work primarily in their Mother Tongue.
The English language proficiency progression, based on the levels established by the CEFR is as follows:
1st and 2nd grade: A1
3rd, 4th, 5th grade: A2
This gives the children the possibility of taking an external English language accreditation exam.
Initially the English language programme prioritizes comprehension, then capacity of expression, followed by correctness of use, bound to time and length of exposure to the language.
In support of this, we focus on spelling, and phoneme recognition. Particular attention is paid to vocabulary, especially in the first two years of the programme, in order to build a specific and durable lexicon. The foundational linguistic structure is acquired not only through repetition but also in verbal exploration of self-expression and possibilities for communication.
Beginning in Grade One, attention is paid to English language phonetics, especially to sounds in English which are not present in Italian and may successively pose difficulty for writing.
The presentation of subject content, organized thematically, takes place in a way that is structured, visible, and concrete.
The programme conforms to those of the Italian Ministry of Education, and is enriched by the English programme of the British National Curriculum and the United States Common Core Standards Initiative.
At the Kindergarten Elementary School, every week there are 12 classroom hours of English divided thus by subject:
- 6 hours of English
- 2 hours of Science
- 2 hours of Art
- 2 hours of Music
The lessons include: exercises and work completed individually and in groups, interactive lessons, role-play, Cooperative Learning, and homework to be completed at home on the weekend.
The teaching of English has as objectives:
- the comprehension of the language (Oral Comprehension)
- the production of the language (Speaking)
- the capacity to read and write the language (Reading and Writing)
TO KNOW MORE...
The INVALSI school exams are a national evaluation of learning levels and are given to students in Second and Fifth Grades. Usually, the Kindergarten School’s results are, on average, 10 to 14 percentage points above those of the average of Tuscan schools. For us, this is an important indicator confirming the quality of our teaching, appraised at the level of learning.
EDUCATIONAL AND DIDACTIC CONTINUITY
The Kindergarten School pays attention to educational and didactic continuity between the Pre-School and the Elementary, and from the Elementary to the Middle School with the endeavour of harmonising pedagogy. Younger children have the possibility of having a positive first encounter with the Elementary School because it is on the same campus and they already know the teachers. It permits older children to explore a new world while staying within a familiar framework.
In addition, exchanges between teachers of the schools encourage continuity of approach and purpose.
The Kindergarten School takes part in the Educare 2.0 program supported by the Ministry of Education for the purposes of promoting use of new technology for students, teachers, and families.
The following have been in use since the academic year 2012-2013:
- Interactive White Boards (IWB) in all classrooms
- Tablets and laptops for each child (used according to the requirements of the educational programme)
- On-Line Class Register, which parents can consult
Cooperative Learning is a teaching method used in the Middle School in which children work together in small groups to reach a common learning goal, reciprocally improving their learning.
The students become active participants in all the phases of their learning, from planning to evaluation, while the teacher facilitates, guides, and prepares the learning activity.
FIELD TRIPS AND SCHOOL EXCURSIONS
The children take part in a number of field trips during the academic year organized in conjunction with the educational programme. For many years the school has profited from a collaboration with the Friends of the Museum Association (Amici dei musei) which promotes the discovery and exploration of the artistic and historical resources of the city; these are structured in thematic modules that are part of the initiatives of the municipal Keys to the City (Chiavi della Città) educational programme.
Theatrical and musical performances, field trips to farms producing local products, and nature excursions complete the range of our school trips.
At the end of the school year, it is our tradition (of more than 30 years) that each class undertakes a school excursion, of one day for the 1st and 2nd Grades, two days for 3rd Grade, and three days for 4th and 5th Grades. The destinations of the school excursions are of cultural, historical or scientific interest, following the educational programme.