Arriving at Juniors means arriving at that all too familiar phase of children wanting to know more about everything, quite often things that catch us adults out by surprise. We simply adore this phase, the enthusiasm the sparkling eyes as our children explore the mysteries of the world by asking, “Why… ?”
At Escola Internacional de Alphaville, we consider the start of primary school as a very special moment in a child’s learning journey. Here, children become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural via an approach to learning based on care and compassion. We take great care in providing children with a rich educational programme replete with challenges and memorable experiences as they progress through the literacy process in Portuguese and English. Moreover, in Juniors there is a distinct focus on the refining and development of interpersonal skills and autonomy, group work, collaboration and the collective and shared construction of knowledge.
Escola Internacional de Alphaville is a fully authorised International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) world school. This programme begins in early childhood learning through to Junior 5, the end of primary school. We are currently applying to implement the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the renowned IB Diploma Programme (DP).
These are high-quality international educational programmes that place the student at the centre of their own learning, and teaches them to think critically and independently, and how to inquire into themes common to all human beings with care and logic.
All learning at Escola Internacional de Alphaville is based on innovative pedagogical practices so that our students develop linguistic proficiency and knowledge in Portuguese and English, so that they may make great life choices.
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme is for children aged 3 to 12. This programme engages students through an inquiry-led, transdisciplinary curricular framework. Here, students are challenged to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts. For example, an inquiry unit on water might have students draw upon knowledge from subject areas such as geography, social studies and mathematics to help them understand the current water shortage phenomena.
Escola Internacional de Alphaville has fully implemented the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University in New York. Students of Juniors are exposed to a wide selection of reading materials, have reading sessions in the classroom and participate in the construction of collective narratives. Accompanied by experienced teachers, these experiences, amongst others, amount to the development of young readers and writers who are critical thinkers with the capacity to comprehend and produce in Portuguese and English with astonishing facility.
From Juniors onwards, students of Escola Internacional de Alphaville utilise the MakerSpace lab fortnightly as an additional learning environment. The MakerSpace is essentially a ‘fabrication laboratory’, a space that breeds creativity and amplifies possibilities. MakerSpace features hi-tech equipment such as a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and other conventional tools and construction materials that facilitate the creation of prototypes, inventions and anything else that is the product of students’ ideas. A number of key thinking, research and social skills are developed here as children work collaboratively to elaborate their projects.
Drawing knowledge from and making connections across a number of subject areas, students identify issues, develop ideas, create solutions and evaluate. One example is the Noise-O-Meter, the idea conceived and developed by Juniors students to measure the level of noise occurring within the classroom.
The classroom assembly is a weekly event, and is core to the Convivência Ética programme. Its aim is to create a moment where the doubts and issues pertaining to each group can be reflected upon and discussed in a diplomatic manner under the guidance of the respective classroom teacher, who also acts as group counselor.
Assemblies are fundamental in the sense that they strengthen the moral education process, building in students a respect for diversity, a sense of belonging, inclusion, cooperation and collaboration. Future global citizens who are emotionally and socially skilled, assertive and committed to respecting our human commonalities are revealed in the midst of assemblies.