The Primary School provides a dynamic learning environment which is full of energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. The experience, expertise and dedication of our highly-qualified staff create a positive atmosphere where students thrive and can achieve their very best as independent learners.
All classes have highly qualified and experienced teachers. Each homeroom has an overseas qualified teacher and a local qualified Vietnamese teacher.
AIS has an inquiry-based approach to learning and OUR learning is developed around the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), which is supplemented with elements of the Cambridge International Primary Programme (CIPP).
Some key features of the PYP:
The Learner Profile
We aim to educate unique internationally minded people, who possess the following qualities, which as defined by the PYP are the 10 student-learning outcomes called the ‘learner profile’.
- Inquirers – Their natural curiosity has been nurtured. They have acquired the skills necessary to conduct purposeful, constructive research. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives
- Thinkers – They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to make sound decisions and solve complex problems.
- Communicators – They receive and express ideas and information confidently in more than one language, including the language of mathematical symbols.
- Risk-Takers – They approach unfamiliar situations without anxiety and have the confidence and independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are courageous and articulate in defending those things in which they believe.
- Knowledgeable – They have spent time in our schools exploring themes which have global relevance and importance. In so doing, they have acquired a critical mass of significant knowledge.
- Principled – They have a sound grasp of the principles of moral reasoning. They have integrity, honesty and a sense of fairness and justice.
- Caring – They show sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a sense of personal commitment to action and service.
- Open-minded – They respect the views, values and traditions of other individuals and cultures and are accustomed to seeking and considering a range of points of view.
- Balanced – They understands the importance of physical and mental balance and personal well-being.
- Reflective – They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and analyse their personal strengths and weaknesses in a constructive manner.
What students learn
We strive for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action.
The body of significant and relevant subject matter students explore and know about is referred to as knowledge. This knowledge is represented through 6 subject areas: Languages, Social Studies, Science and Technology, Mathematics, Arts, and Personal, Social and Physical Education.
Key concepts are expressed as questions:
- Form (What is it like?)
- Function (How does it work?)
- Causation (Why is it like it is?)
- Change (How is it changing?)
- Connection (How is it connected to other things?)
- Perspective (What are the points of view?)
- Responsibility (What is our responsibility?)
- Reflection (How do we know?).
The PYP identifies sets of disciplinary and cross-curricular skills, outlined below, that are acquired in the process of structured inquiry.
- Thinking skills: the acquisition of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, dialectical thought, and metacognition.
- Research skills: formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting and recording data, organising and interpreting data, and presenting research findings.
- Communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and non-verbal communication.
- Self-management skills: gross and fine motor skills, spatial awareness, organisation, time management, safety, a healthy lifestyle, codes of behaviour and making informed choices.
- Social skills: accepting responsibility, respecting others, cooperating, resolving conflict, group decision making, and adopting a variety of group roles.
Students develop attitudes or expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people, such as appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.
Students are encouraged to reflect, choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community. Through such service, students are able to grow socially and personally, developing skills such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution and creative and critical thinking.
At the heart of the PYP’s philosophy is a commitment to structured inquiry as an ideal vehicle for learning. Teachers and students are guided by 6 transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from the 6 subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organise ourselves
- Sharing the planet
How students are assessed
Assessment in the PYP identifies what students know, understand, can do and value at different stages in the teaching and learning process. Assessing the result of inquiry as well as the process of inquiry are important objectives of the programme.
The principal purposes of assessment in the PYP are to:
- Provide feedback to students, parents and teachers
- Determine what the student knows and understands about the world
- Inform and differentiate teaching and learning
- Monitor student progress in the development of the IB learner profile attributes
- Monitor the effectiveness of the programme.
Essentially, there are two types of assessment in the PYP, each of which has a specific function.
- Formative assessment is embedded in the teaching and learning process and therefore occurs in the daily routine of a classroom. It aims to support students to become better learners and helps teachers to plan the next stage of learning.
- Summative assessment occurs at the end of the teaching and learning process and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned in a new context. It aims to give teachers, students and parents clear, evidence-based insight into students’ understanding at a particular moment in time.
To have an external benchmark in assessing the students, all students will undertake the Cambridge Checkpoint for English, Mathematics and Science near the end of Year 6.
Students who are in Year 6 (the final year of the Primary Year Programme) are expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project, known as the PYP Exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers.
The Exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesising the essential elements of the programme and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the programme. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from PYP to further steps in education.
English as an additional language (EAL)
The EAL department supports children in becoming proficient English language users in order to develop socially, and achieve academic success across all areas of the curriculum.
All children for whom English is not their mother-tongue are required to take a language assessment before admission to the school. A decision is then made as to whether they have sufficient communication skills to enter the school and if so as to whether additional EAL support is required.
The progress of the children is continually monitored and assessed. Once the children reach a level of English proficiency whereby they no longer need extra EAL support they then exit the programme.
The vast majority of learning in primary takes place in the classroom, with the class teacher and Support Teacher.
However, specialist teachers of Music, PE, swimming, Vietnamese Language & Culture, Vietnamese National Curriculum ICT and Chinese work alongside the class teachers to provide a broad and well-structured programme.
Our students benefit from excellent infrastructure and facilities which include gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms, flood lit astro pitches, covered sports courts, swimming pools, splash pools, libraries, art rooms, science laboratories and computer rooms.
The Enriched Curriculum
Throughout the year, many activities are organised in school to enrich the curriculum. These form an integral part of school life and add that extra dimension to the children’s learning. Activities vary from those involving whole Year groups such as Day Visits as part of the Unit of Inquiry to whole school events such as International Day and the TET Fair.
All Year groups are involved in a programme of field trips and educational visits to places of interest around Ho Chi Minh City like art galleries, parks, places of interest and museums. These are usually closely integrated with the learning taking place in the classroom.
Residential visits form an integral part of the curriculum for all students from Year 3. The visits usually take place in November of each year and provide many opportunities for enriching our curriculum and also for developing social skills and independence.
- Year 3: School sleep-over (1 night)
- Year 4: Vung Tau (1 night)
- Year 5: Dalat (2 nights)
- Year 6: Madagui (2 nights)
House Team Activities
‘Activity Session’ is one part of our educational programme that aims to educate the whole child.
As an IB School we plan opportunities for students to develop their Learner Profile and Attitudes. This is achieved through the Units of Inquiry as well as other traditional learning experiences. In addition to this provision we plan weekly activity sessions that increases the opportunities to develop the Learner Profile and Attitudes.
During these sessions, the students can take action as a result of their learning; apply skills developed in lessons such as PE and music; develop relationships with students from different classes who may be older or younger; develop relationships with teachers who are not the home room teacher; develop IB Learner Profile and Attitudes and prepare and practice for various school and inter-school events or competitions.
Students from Y1 (TT) and Y2 (TD) take part in the programme. The activity sessions last for 60 minutes and are facilitated by homeroom teachers and single subject teachers.
The students are organised in house groups as opposed to homeroom groups. This is a fantastic opportunity for our primary students to be organised vertically as opposed to the traditional horizontal organisation of class groups based on age,
The activities for this year have been organised into the following groups:
- Sport and recreation. This gives opportunities for the students to participate in inter-house competitions and prepare for inter-school competitions.
- Team building activities.
- BP Challenge. These are hands-on activities where students work as a team using simple materials to solve problems.
- House competitions and assemblies.
- Preparation for school and inter-school events. For example students prepared for the Moon Festival during this time.
This offers many opportunities to develop the IB Learner Profile and Attitudes, so will add to the overall assessment of the LP and Attitudes which is reported to parents.
After School Activities
From Year 1 onwards, students can also take part in the After School Programme. Each semester various activities are offered in the areas of sport, visual and performing arts, music, languages and more. Click here for more information.