Learning

Primary School - IB Programme

Quick Facts

Our student to teacher ratio is approximately 24:1. Grades 1 and 2 have an additional Teaching Assistant.

We offer Dutch and Danish Mother Tongue Programmes.

About 9 languages are offered as part of our Language Enrichment Programme (LEP).

More than 90 Co-Curricular Activities and a Vocal and Instrumental Progamme (one-on-one lessons).

Built upon the IB PYP framework, the Primary School delivers a student-centered, inquiry-driven curriculum for students between the ages of 6 to 11. The curriculum is designed to fulfill every student's individual learning potential while broadening their minds through inter-disciplinary study.

LANGUAGES
CURRICULUM
Class Structure / Sample Timetable
PEDAGOGICAL CONCEPTS
Learning and Language Support
Technology
Participation and Service
Additional Programmes
Buddy System
Enrichment Activities
Transitions

LANGUAGES

The language of instruction is English.

In addition, students attend five weekly lessons of German (as a mother tongue, second language or foreign language) or Danish as a mother tongue. German and Danish mother tongue classes follow national curriculum standards while our German foreign language students write a German A1 exam in Grade 5. There is also an option to study Dutch on mother tongue level after school.

CURRICULUM

Working with the PYP framework, all science and social studies concepts and skills are taught through our Programme of Inquiry, using Australian science and social studies curricula as standards. Every unit of inquiry includes a focus genre or "text type", so that reading and writing activity connects purposefully. Math concepts and skills are taught in isolation from the Programme of Inquiry, but applied during unit work, where possible. Specialist subjects connect conceptually to the Programme of Inquiry to enhance understanding.

Class Structure / Sample Timetable

Following German guidelines, our Grade 1 is designed for students without formal literacy or numeracy skills, however we welcome and adapt teaching for a wide range of learners, including English language learners and those with developed academic skills. Learners should be 6 years old at the start of Grade 1 (please refer to the school's age-grade guidelines for further details). By Grade 3, our standards and student results are equivalent to or above those of any other international school system.

PEDAGOGICAL CONCEPTS

We focus on helping each child find success, not on one-size-fits-all teaching. Teachers differentiate instruction through the Reader's and Writer's Workshop methods and assess students often to ensure math and spelling groups and resources support individual progress. We guide every learner to set and achieve goals, building mastery and ownership. As children thrive when parents and teachers work together, we strive to be open and collaborative with you. We respect the diverse identities of our community and strongly encourage parents to cherish and protect their home languages and cultures.

Learning and Language Support

GESS provides both EAL (English as an Additional Language) and Learning Support services for an additional fee. English fluency is not required, and we welcome English language learners. Those needing EAL lessons are taught in small groups by a specialist teacher for 2 to 10 pull-out or push-in lessons a week, depending on need. Children with diagnosed or suspected learning challenges could be exempted from German to receive five weekly one-to-one or small group support lessons with a specialist teacher.

Technology

GESS provides a 1:1 iPad programme for all students from Grade 1 to 5 and two class sets of Macbooks for students in Grade 4 and 5. These are used for research, collaboration, differentiation and access to Apps that provide specialised learning tools, such as translation, and programmes for students to show their learning creatively. In addition, iPads allow students and teachers to capture, document and reflect on learning milestones with Seesaw, our digital portfolio platform. Seesaw is shared with parents to provide a "real time" window into the classroom and a chance to celebrate and archive their children's learning journey.

Participation and Service

In the Primary School, we support two long-standing projects: the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, for which we raise money to fund swimming lessons for street children in Hanoi, and the Vega "Kits for Kids" Project, for which we purchase educational materials and collect school bags for needy school children in East Timor. Students are also encouraged to take action in response to their learning, and may undertake additional projects to benefit environmental and social causes they care about.

Additional Programmes

Grade 3 learners enjoy an eight week-long string programme which introduces them to violin, viola and cellos in ensemble classes. This programme culminates in an orchestral performance, with their Klasse 3 buddies. After school Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) are offered to both sections and include sports, life skills, mother tongue language classes, technologies and the arts.

Buddy System

When they arrive, new students are welcomed by designated buddies within their classes who guide and support them during their first days at GESS. We try to find buddies who speak the same home language, an invaluable support to newcomers who are learning English. In addition, each class from Grade 1 to 5 has a corresponding buddy class in the German curriculum stream, with whom they collaborate on bonding days, sports days and during the annual Enrichment Week and Swim Gala.

Enrichment Activities

Inquiry-led learning means hands-on, authentic investigations into the world around us. All classes make several day excursions around and outside Singapore each academic year to support units of inquiry: to museums, exhibits, parks, and relevant industries, for example. We take advantage of this opportunity to gain respect and understanding for local culture and history by visiting traditional sites, neighbourhoods and connecting with people.

Grade 3 - Tour and overnight stay at the zoo
Grade 4 - Two days and one night in Sentosa
Grade 5 - A four-day outdoor adventure in Malaysia, together with German Klasse 5 buddies

Transitions

We do not require entrance exams in Primary School, as we have an inclusive admissions policy.

Pre-Primary to Grade 1: We accept students from GESS's English and German Pre-Primary classes, as well as students from around the world. Students are invited to make an orientation visit to Grade 1 classes in late May.

Grade 5 to Grade 6: Grade 6 marks the first year of MYP at GESS. Grade 5 students experience a half-day "taster day" in Grade 6 during Semester One, and a full-day immersion day in Grade 6 during Semester Two.

Both transition processes include parent information evenings.

Social Projects

Kits for Kids Project
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Kits for Kids Project

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KITS FOR KIDS - Providing Learning Materials for Kids in Need.Every year, since 2012, the Primary School students have been packing hundreds of school bags filled with school supplies and handwritten letters for their less fortunate counterparts in neglected Indonesian islands. These bags are transported by Captain Shane Granger and his wife Meggie who sail out to these islands on their 120-year old sailing ship, the Vega, and personally hand out these items. The students later witness the impact of their actions through well-documented videos and photos.

The Blue Dragon Foundation
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The Blue Dragon Foundation

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THE BLUE DRAGON FOUNDATION - Swimming Lessons for Street Children in Vietnam

The Blue Dragon Foundation supports street children in Vietnam. Every May, the school organises a swimming gala for Grade 4 students as part of this venture, whereby parents can donate money per lane swum by their children. The donations are used to pay for swimming lessons for street children in Hanoi. Many children in this area perish by drowning because they have never had the chance to learn how to swim.

Once a year, the head of the organisation Blue Dragon visits GESS together with a child that has received support. This gives the Grade 4 students the chance to directly ask questions and find out more about the life of street children in Hanoi.

Website: www.bluedragon.org

Hear what our students and parents say

Our holistic approach to learning

Entry Requirements

Student wishing to enrol in Grade 1 must be 6 years old as of 31 July. Learn more here.

Further Information

School fees

School fees

PRIMARY SCHOOL (IB)

Fee element Fee (SGD)
Entrance fee* 2,945.00
Tuition per year 26,950.00
Development levy² per year 4,890.00
Learning materials & excursion fees³ 250.00

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* Entrance fees consist of an enrolment fee of S$2,000.00 and non-refundable registration fee of S$945.00
² First year only, from second year onwards and for the third child onwards, it’s reduced to S$2,445.00
³ Learning materials & excursion fees are chargeable at the beginning of the academic year


Miscellaneous Charges (if applicable)*

Fee element Fee (SGD)
Excursion Grade 3 200.00
Excursion Grade 4 300.00
Excursion Grade 5 650.00
EAL training per semester 1,390.00
Learning Support per semester 1,390.00
Dutch Mother Tongue Programme per year 2,140.00

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* Fees are approximate, based on 2017/2018 academic year costs
EAL: English as an Additional Language

Holiday Calendar & Academic Year
Bus information
School Uniform

Holiday Calendar & Academic Year

The academic year (approximately 180 school days) comprises of two semesters. The first semester begins in August and ends in January. The second semester begins in February and ends in June. All Singaporean public holidays are observed.

Bus information

GESS has a local school transport provider, who provides coverage of the main island of Singapore. All seats in every bus are fully equipped with safety belts and there are bus attendants on board. The children will be picked up at your home and brought back safely to your doorstep every day or to the nearest possible pick up point around your house. In addition, the school bus service also offers home drop-off after the Co-Curricular Activities (CCA). Registration for bus service can be done directly upon school registration, but is possible at any other time as well.

School Uniform

Like all schools in Singapore, GESS has a dress code. Students are to remain in school uniform for the entire school day, when on campus after school, as well as, during school trips, unless taking part in a CCA that requires a specific alternative attire.

All items of the GESS uniform are embroidered with the GESS logo. The full uniform is available at the GESS school shop.