Junior School (Grades 1-5)

Grade 1 is when children become students. It is important that every child gains the confidence and strong foundations for the years to come, as well as a love for learning. Personalised learning is crucial to have success in the future and to enhance every child’s learning experience.
At its core, our Junior School pedagogy emphasises the concept of active learning. We guide each student as they build their individual learning journeys. We strive for an atmosphere where learning is enjoyed and believe that students must be active seekers of their own knowledge in order for this to be achieved. All curriculum materials are addressed in a holistic and multidisciplinary manner. Themes and projects may guide various year groups and always integrate the diverse contents of knowledge that the students must grasp. Our students also learn through a construction process with others, peers and teachers. Thus, they develop a sense of belonging in the community while forming their own identity and finding a meaning for their learnings.
In addition, PaRK IS’ pedagogical project includes strategies that promote autonomy, responsibility and academic excellence. We design processes which demonstrate that learning occurs beyond the classroom walls and school grounds. The curious mindset, the capacity for critical thinking, the ability to independently seek knowledge and to commit are characteristics of the learner’s personality that must accompany them throughout life.
In our dynamic and ever-changing society our students will grow as autonomous and dynamic learners. They will demonstrate that they have high critical-thinking skills and high communication skills and therefore understand themselves and those around them. 

From September 2023, our students starting Grade 1 can opt between following the Bilingual Stream until Grade 4 or the English Stream: 


The Bilingual Stream for Grades 1 to 4 offers continuity to the bilingual education that begins in the Early Learning years: it is our goal that by the end of grade 4 students are bilingual in comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. We follow the Portuguese Ministry of Education Curriculum coupled with the Cambridge Curriculum for the English subject; Portuguese is taught in Portuguese while Mathematics (two out of seven hours a week are taught in English) and Social Studies (depending on the topic) are taught in both languages. All other subjects – English, Physical Education, Arts, Dance, Drama, Music and Information & Communication Technology – are taught in English.

The English Stream for Grades 1 to 4 follows the Cambridge Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum, with some adaptations of the Portuguese Ministry of Education Curriculum. All subjects are taught in English, with the exception of Portuguese. English, Mathematics and Social Studies are taught by the Homeroom teacher in English, while Physical Education, Arts, Dance, Theatre, Music and Information and Communication Technology are taught by specialist teachers in English. This programme gives foreign students the opportunity to experience a Portuguese environment and culture, while respecting English as a global language for a full acquisition of content. These students will have the opportunity to develop Portuguese, as a second language, from G1 to G4 both in speaking, reading and writing, with 3 hours per week of this subject.


From Grade 5 all students follow the International Curriculum, an adaptation of the Cambridge International Curriculum (Key Stage 2), a renowned international curriculum that gains an academic advantage over national curriculums because of the flexibility of its syllabus. The open-ended character of the curriculum allows us to continue to emphasise the Portuguese Language and History while, at the same time, implement the Cambridge International programme.  The mathematics curriculum blends the Cambridge Key Stage 2 with the Portuguese programme, ensuring all content is covered.
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, one-to-one 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.
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 pedagogical model helps students to ask challenging questions, to think critically and to develop their research capacity.

Our exclusive programme is based on:

Project-based Learning: Children learn by researching the answers to their questions and finding solutions to set problems. An inquiry-based student profile is cultivated. By working in groups and using projects as a source of knowledge we 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. 

Communication: Great importance is placed in the presentation and communication of all student work and life experiences. Larger projects or smaller activities such as a written text are encouraged by the teachers to be shared. Arrangements are made so that students share their presentations and collaboratively work with other year groups as well as with parents and the school community - by doing this, we teach public speaking from even before Grade 1.

Differentiation  At PaRK IS we believe that every student is unique, has a different rhythm, different motivations and different learning needs, which we must respect. Core subjects are often taught with a complimentary teacher  present to ensure foundations in Portuguese, English  and Mathematics are well consolidated. This allows us to adapt the curriculum to students, abilities and different levels while allowing teachers to establish real goals that will help children actively construct their knowledge always in pursuit of academic excellence.

Autonomous work: One of our most distinguished routines is TEA (“Tempo de Estudo Autónomo” = Autonomous Learning Time). Four days a week the Junior School students have a scheduled moment when they study by themselves. Students plan their study with the teacher and those with no difficulties can move on doing Portuguese, English or Mathematics exercises, working on their Social Studies projects, or collaborating with other students. Teachers have this time to help students in need of extra attention and can adapt the work to each child’s needs. These moments are very important to gain in depth knowledge of subject contents and produce intellectual material under the guidance of the subject teachers, thus developing the metacognition of each student.

Technology: Technology is one of our main strengths and it helps to differentiate the learning journey of each student. Our technological programme is integrated in all projects and themes. It is a resource (among others) that is naturally offered to students despite the subject area. Students learn how to code from Grade 1. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for iPads from Grade 4 provides students with the opportunity to personalise and enhance their learning experience by utilising their own device and its various interactive and multimedia resources, promoting collaboration and creativity in a safe environment,  while preparing them for a technology-driven future. From Grade 5, instead of having a separate class about technology, students use it as a tool across all disciplines in an integrated way.

Class Meeting and Class Organisation: class  meetings and Social Skills are moments to discuss the daily life of each class/group. The weekly 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.  Managing their own path in school helps students develop important skills like critical thinking, time management and decision-making. These skills are essential for success in higher education.


Our academic structure is complemented by activities of two areas considered fundamental for the integral development of our students, and included in the school hours:
– Mindfulness
In an everyday busier world, it is important to know how to stop, so we introduced a daily moment when children meditate. By doing this we teach students how to focus, stay calm and stop to reflect whenever needed.
– My Time
Once a week, Grade 5 students have the opportunity to work in the areas they enjoy most, helping them develop creativity and curiosity. The school offers a wide range of activities and each student chooses the activity that meets their interests. Whether it’s sport, art, music, drama or technology, students can choose an activity that they are passionate about and learn new (or improve existing) skills.