The ISI Lower School nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.
Following the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) we begin with pre-elementary classes for students ages 3 through 5 (kindergarten).
We believe that each child enters our school already possessing a wide range of knowledge, skills, attitudes and understandings about our world. Using our play-based and inquiry-based PYP curriculum, our teachers, all of whom are native speakers of the target language as well as English-proficient, work with and empower our young students to question, problem solve, take action, and reflect.
Through our program, students not only learn to speak an additional language, but they also learn how to successfully navigate change, develop the intercultural competence to easily flow between different cultures, and embrace perspectives other than their own.
Using a structured inquiry-based approach, the PYP gives children a strong foundation in languages, mathematics, social studies, science, visual arts, music, physical education, and personal and social education. The Units of Inquiry are transdisciplinary themes that include and transcend subject areas and are used to learn about the world. Students in the 3 year old class have four units of inquiry, pre-kindergarten have five units of inquiry and starting in Kindergarten each grade level has six units of inquiry.
The Lower School starts classes each morning at 8:15 a.m. and the school day ends each day at 3:00 p.m. All pre-elementary students have morning and lunch recesses, and a nap/quiet time in the afternoon followed by a snack.
With nine teachers and nine assistant teachers, the overall student-faculty ratio in pre-elementary classes is 8:1. Pre-elementary classes can vary in size from very small to a maximum of 14 students in the 3 years old class, 16 in Pre-Kindergarten and 18 in Kindergarten.
Students in preschool (3YOP) and pre-kindergarten learn in, about, and through the French, Spanish, or Mandarin language in a full immersion program. Inquiry-based and play-based learning, centers, and regular routines such as morning meetings provide authentic language learning experiences for children. Oral, pre-reading, reading, pre-writing, and writing skills are taught both explicitly and through the units of inquiry and are integrated into other subject areas.
Learners show an understanding that print represents the real or the imagined world. They know that reading gives them knowledge and pleasure; that it can be a social activity or an individual activity. They have a concept of a “book”, and an awareness of some of its structural elements. They use visual cues to recall sounds and the words they are “reading” to construct meaning.
Learners show an understanding that writing is a form of expression to be enjoyed. They know that how you write and what you write conveys meaning; that writing is a purposeful act, with both individual and collaborative aspects.
Listening & Speaking
Learners show an understanding of the value of speaking and listening to communicate. They recognize that sounds are associated with objects, or with symbolic representations of them. They are using language to name their environment, to get to know each other, to initiate and explore relationships, to question and inquire.
Viewing & Presenting
Learners show an understanding that the world around them is full of visual language that conveys meaning. They are able to interpret and respond to visual texts. Although much of their own visual language is spontaneous, they are extending and using visual language in more purposeful ways.
Mathematics is taught through five content strands: Number, Shape and Space, Pattern and Function, Measurement, and Data Handling, both explicitly in stand-alone units, as well as integrated within the current unit of inquiry. Students justify and discuss their mathematical thinking, identify problem-solving strategies, and reflect on the most efficient strategies. A variety of paths to solving a problem are as valuable as finding the answer itself. Building number sense (the ability to make sense of, compare, operate upon, and manipulate numbers) is central to our math program.
There are four science strands, which are integrated into the units of inquiry at each grade level, ensuring a balance throughout each year. Our learning outcomes are kept up-to-date in consultation with the Science Strands from the IB PYP Scope and Sequence, as well as international and national curriculum standards.
Eight core science skills are developed through the learning experiences across the strands:
Observe carefully in order to gather data
Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately
Use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences
Identify or generate a question or problem to be explored
Plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary
Make and test predictions
Interpret and evaluate data gathered in order to draw conclusions
Consider scientific models and applications of these models (including their limitations)
LIVING THINGS: The study of characteristics, systems, and behaviors of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment. EARTH AND SPACE: The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the systems, distinctive features, and natural phenomena that shape and identify the planet; the infinite and finite resources of the planet. MATERIALS AND MATTER: The study of properties, behaviors, and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose. FORCES AND MACHINES: The study of energy, its origins, storage, and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines. Eight core science skills are developed through the learning experiences across the strands: a. Observe carefully in order to gather data b. Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately.
Social studies learning, like science, is integrated entirely into the Program of Inquiry, using a balanced approach across all grade levels. There are five strands outlined in our social studies program, which also draw from the PYP, as well as documents outlining national and international standards and benchmarks.
Five core social studies skills are developed through the learning experiences across the strands:
Formulate and ask questions about the past, the future, places, and society
Use and analyze evidence from a variety of historical, geographical, and societal sources
Orientate in relation to place and time
Identify roles, rights, and responsibilities in society
Assess the accuracy, validity, and possible bias of sources
HUMAN SYSTEMS AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES: The study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority. SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CULTURE: The study of people, communities, culture, and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups, and societies interact with each other. CONTINUITY AND CHANGE THROUGH TIME: The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present, and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions. HUMAN AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS: The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment. RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment.
The PE curriculum aims to develop habits of healthy, balanced living, as well as gross motor skills.
Individual pursuits: locomotion, motor skills, techniques, rules, purpose, performance, and achievement
Movement composition: sequence, movements, performance, communication, and feelings
Games: categories, space, rules, modification, innovation, and teamwork [cooperation]
Adventure challenges: critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork, goal setting, and roles
Health-related fitness: healthy lifestyle, choices, decision-making, fitness, and development
The Pre-Elementary PSPE program fosters the development of the whole child by engaging in enjoyable games and physical activities that lead to a healthy lifestyle, locomotion and motor skills development, and creative expression. Lessons on mindfulness, cooperation, and the importance of rules, boundaries and safety support the social and emotional development of students.
Music classes incorporate learning in the following five curriculum areas:
Performing: singing and playing instruments
Creating and composing
Listening and Appreciation
Music in society
Pre-Elementary students learn to sing in unison, echo-sing, and play percussion instruments. They learn basic music notes and create vocal and instrumental short patterns of music. In addition, students interpret music through movement.
Following a comprehensive and extensive search process that engaged more than 30 international candidates, the International School of Indiana is thrilled to announce that Timothy Stroh, M.Sc has been selected by Head of School Elizabeth Head and has accepted the position of Lower School Principal, effective July 1, 2023.
Stroh, a native of Indiana, will return to the state with extensive teaching and leadership experience in both independent and international schools. He currently serves as Vice Principal - Academic Achievement and Wellbeing at Berlin Metropolitan School (BMS) in Berlin, Germany.
Kyle Kuzmic attended the International School of Indiana (ISI) from Pre-Kindergarten until he graduated in 2011.
After his time at ISI, Kyle continued his education at Indiana University Bloomington, double-majoring in Human Biology and French. After completing his undergraduate degrees in 2015 he continued his education at the IU School of Dentistry, completing his Doctorate in Dental Surgery and then at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry for his Certificate in Orthodontics and Master’s in Oral Biology.
Kyle credits his education at ISI for opening up doors for him in college and beyond, including using his French to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence for 6 months during college, and to embark on dental service trips to Haiti while in dental school