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).
The Learner Profile
We aim to educate unique internationally minded people, who possess the following qualities (known collectively as the Leaner 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 understand 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.
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 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
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 program.
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 program.
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 and Mathematics near the end of Year 6. Children in Year 1 to Year 5 are also formally assessed.
Students who are in Year 6 (the final year of the Primary Year Program) 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 program 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 program. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from PYP to further steps in education.
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 and Chinese work alongside the class teachers to provide a broad and well-structured program.
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.
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 program 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.
Camps form an integral part of the curriculum for all students from Year 2. 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.
Sleepover at school
Madagui Forest Camp
From Year 1 onwards, students can also take part in the After School Activity Program (ASAs). Each semester various activities are offered in the areas of sport, visual and performing arts, music, languages and more.