Cologne International School | Curriculum and Structure
Die internationale Schule in Köln – Mehrsprachiger Unterricht, kleine Klassengrößen und eine große Auswahl extra-curricularer Aktivitäten: Schule, die auf die Welt von morgen vorbereitet - the international school in Cologne
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The Primary School Curriculum

Our primary school provides our families with the best of two worlds: we are a colorful, diverse international school – representing more than 45 nationalities – with roots in the local German community. We offer a unique combination of international and national curricula, which we teach bilingually, using a dynamic, forward-thinking approach. Students are exposed to a range of cultures and learning styles, which fosters the development of crucial social-emotional and intellectual skills, such as empathy, reflection, independence and responsibility. They learn to view the world from different perspectives, to ask critical questions and to think outside of the box.

As an IB World School, lessons are based on the internationally implemented Primary Years Programme (PYP), which makes it possible to find schools following the same or similar curriculum in every major city in the world, providing for a smooth transition for mobile families. Furthermore, all of the benchmarks of the North Rhine Westphalian curriculum are integrated into our lesson plans, meaning that those who would like to join our school from the public school system will also be able to do so with ease.

One major advantage of the PYP is its commitment to interdisciplinary learning – subject lessons revolve around one central theme. This hands-on, inquiry-based approach lets students investigate a topic from all angles, drawing on their natural curiosity and enabling them to help steer their learning paths. This is complemented by stimulating field trips, where students can experience the real-world application of newly-acquired skills and knowledge. Our weekly library lessons enable children to delve further into units or topics of interest – space exploration, ocean life, ancient civilizations – while also giving them an opportunity to regularly discover and borrow books for leisure reading.

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In addition to the standard primary lessons – maths, social studies, sport, art and music – our pupils also learn world religions, Spanish, tai chi and kung fu, and have instrumental tuition. The languages of instruction throughout the day – in all core academic subjects – are both English and German. Individual support is available to any student, in all aspects of school life, ensuring each child has a positive learning experience and reaches their full academic and personal potential.

We also have quite an extensive extracurricular programme, giving our pupils the opportunity to do further sport, art, music, language learning or other activities outside of the academic structure. Lastly, each class organizes an overnight trip at the end of the school year, where teachers and students alike reflect on their growth over the past year, test their boundaries and look forward to the summer and new school year ahead.

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Class Structure

We have composite classes of grades 1-2 and grades 3-4, with a maximum of 24 pupils per class. Each class has two homeroom teachers – one German speaker and one English speaker – who team-teach the class bilingually. The homeroom teachers guide students through the core academic content in both languages, while also fostering the positive social and emotional development of each child.

Having two homeroom teachers allows for intensive learning in smaller groups of 10-12, which is enhanced through our building structure – each class has two physical working spaces they can freely move between. The composition of the smaller groups changes depending on the need and task at hand – we may separate the class based on grade, language, academic strengths or interests. As the students adopt different roles – sometimes being the strongest in a group, other times in more need of support – they experience a variety of perspectives.

When your child has successfully completed our primary school programme, they will have developed into well-rounded, inquisitive and mature young people, fluent in both English and German, with all of the necessary skills and qualifications to be able to join either the International Secondary School or Gymnasium bilingual +.

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