Lower Senior School (Grades 6 - 8)
During their last years of middle childhood, children exhibit a natural willingness and enthusiasm to accept challenges. This natural state should be valued as a catapult for creativity, critical thinking, drive, resilience and the courage to try new things, outside of their comfort zones. Grade 6 is therefore a phase where students use this energy to establish profound meaning to the knowledge they have acquired and embrace the Key Stage Three curriculum. It is a transition phase that promotes high levels of autonomy and project work. Project work continues to connect subjects together and challenges students even further. We place a high importance on the intellectual dimension of the programme as well as soft skills in order to create well rounded caring individuals.
Grade 7 students continue to study an adaptation of the Cambridge International Curriculum, a renowned international curriculum that gains an academic advantage over national curriculums because of the flexibility of its syllabus. By Lower Senior School, students have progressed to Key Stage 3 level. The open-ended character of the curriculum allows us to continue to emphasise the Portuguese Language and History while implementing the Cambridge International programme at the same time. We recognise that our pedagogical model is of great value. We therefore keep working under the same axioms which have built our school: project-based learning, differentiated teaching and learning, and a special focus on communication and technology. We continue to mentor children to become innovators, responsible and happy adults with the necessary skills for the 21st Century and our globalised world. As part of our laptop BYOD programme, starting in Grade 7, our students have access to digital resources and technology that can enhance their learning experience and prepare them for today's tech-savvy workplace.
The main objective of implementing an international programme goes beyond the scope of its syllabus. We essentially want to mentor children to become curious, knowledgeable, caring, empathic and driven for success. We hope that our students grow wanting to create a better world, while practising respect and comprehension for other people and cultures.
Students are encouraged to experiment with different approaches to learning and take responsibility for their own educational progress. Our pedagogy helps students make challenging questions, to think critically and to develop their research capacity.
During the three years of the Lower Senior School, students study in depth both English and Portuguese Language and Literature, Maths, the three natural sciences (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), a range of Humanities (Geography and History), a range of Arts (Art, Design, Drama, and Music), Physical Education, ICT, and a choice of Modern Foreign Languages (currently French and Spanish). We keep the curriculum broad to ensure students have a range of choices available to them at IGCSE and IB DP, but also ensure their studies are knowledge-rich and skills-focused.
Our teaching and learning practices can be organised under four pedagogical axioms:
Project-based Learning: Project learning involves researching themes or finding solutions to set problems. An inquiry-based student profile is cultivated. Projects combine various subjects’ syllabus under one umbrella theme. The syllabus is then taught by the students as they present their work/findings to the class. This is especially evident in the Creative Arts where the students complete a transdisciplinary piece of work across the arts known as the BEATS project.
Communication: Great importance is placed on the presentation and communication of all student work. Teachers encourage sharing larger projects or smaller activities, such as a written text. Arrangements are made so that students share their presentations and work collaboratively with other year groups as well as with parents and the school community. Public Speaking skills are taught through Drama, English, and Portuguese classes.
Autonomous work and Individual Learning Improvement: Gaining in-depth knowledge of subject contents. Producing intellectual material under the guidance of the subject teachers. Teachers will be available to students that need individual learning improvement. Our Assessment, Reporting, and Intervention systems ensure all students are supported in their specific learning needs.
Class Management and Organisation: Tutor Time and Social Skills are moments to discuss the daily life of each class/group. The monthly plan is designed and reviewed as a class and specific tasks are assigned to students on a rotating basis and students will evaluate and be evaluated for their involvement in school life.