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Primary Program

Academic Program

Curriculum

The Berlin Bilingual Primary School curriculum takes its framework from the Berlin State Curriculum (Berliner Rahmenlehrplan) and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).  

www.berlin.de/sen/bildung/unterricht/lehrplaene

http://www.greatlearning.com/ipc/ 

Cross-curricular thematic units provide the framework for teaching and learning at BBS. In order to provide enough time to develop these themes, the school day is organized around three flexible 90-minute teaching blocks in addition to traditional 45-minute lessons. Students explore subject areas (language, science, geography) through topics such as Celebrations (grades 1/2), Early Man (grades 3/4) and Government and Climate Control (grades 5/6).  In the course of these units, students develop an understanding of important concepts, and acquire knowledge and essential skills.  

All students take English, German, mathematics, social studies/science, music, physical education and art. Art is taught by the classroom teacher in grades 1/2 and by a subject specialist beginning in grade 3.

Grade 3   Students take one year of swimming instruction

Grade 4   Students take bicycle safety training

Grade 5   Students have the option of adding French to their schedule.

All subjects, besides German and mathematics, are taught in English.  Both languages are taught at a native level: the goal of the program is to achieve academic proficiency in preparation for the dual-language qualifications in Secondary School.

Learning at BBS is based on the principle that children progress at their own pace, building on what they know already.  From the beginning, instruction is differentiated:  within the same classroom, teachers provide students with different avenues to learning in terms of: acquiring content; processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability and age.

The first steps to becoming an independent, lifelong learner are taken in the Primary School.  From the beginning, students have many opportunities for choice, are encouraged to manage their time wisely, follow through on commitments and reflect upon their progress. 

The Primary School Day

Daily Schedule:  Grades 1-4

  • 7:30
    Our doors open for children who arrive to school early. 
    They gather in a Hort room on the ground floor.
  • 8:30-10:00
    First learning block
  • 10:00
    Children eat a healthy snack in their classroom (grades 1/2) or outside (grades 3/4), then all children go outside to play.
  • 10:30-12:00
    Second learning block
  • 12:00-13:00
    Lunch cycle

A catered lunch is served in the cafeteria. Children have 30 minutes of play time outside.

 

Lunch

Yard

Grades 1/2

12:00 – 12:25

12:30 – 12:55

Grades 3/4

12:35 – 12:55

12:00 – 12:30

  • 13:00-13:40
    Class
  • 13:40-14:30
    A 45-minute workshops or 45-minute class 
    Children choose from a wide variety of workshops and keep the same workshop for 6-8 weeks. Different workshops take place on different days, giving the children 3 workshops per week.
  • 14:30-16:00
    Third learning block
  • 16:00-18:00
    Open Hort /Afternoon Hort: children are free to choose a structured activity (for example, choir, karate, or orchestra) or play in one of the after-school rooms.
  • 13:00 
    Fridays early pick-up for grades 1-2
  • 13:40
    Fridays early pick-up for grades 3-4

Daily Schedule: Grades 5-6

  • 7:30
    Our doors open for children who arrive to school early.
  • 8:30-10:45
    First learning block
  • 10:45-11:15
    Children eat a healthy snack and go outside for recess.
  • 11:15-12:45
    Second learning block
  • 12:45-13:40
    A catered lunch is served in the cafeteria. Children have 30 minutes of recess outside.
  • 13:40-14:30
    A 45-minute workshop or 45-minute class
    Children choose from a wide variety of workshops and keep the same workshop for 6-8 weeks. Different workshops take place on different days, giving 5th and 6th graders 1-2 workshops per week.
  • 14:30-16:00
    Third learning block
  • 16:00-18:00
    Open Hort /Afternoon Hort  (grades 5-6)
    Grades 5 and 6 have their own Hort room after school.
  • 14:30
    Fridays early pick-up for grades 5-6
Multi-age Classes

Multi-age classes at BBS span a range of two years – grades 1 and 2 are taught together, as are grades 3 and 4:  

  • 12 first graders and 12 second graders make up a grade 1/2 class
  • 12 third graders and 12 fourth graders make up a grade 3/4 class  
  • Children remain in their groups of 12 through the end of grade 4, after which they are regrouped

We believe that in the early years of primary school, children’s developmental needs are met well in mixed-age classrooms.   Academically, children are able to advance at their own pace, working individually or in small groups of an appropriate level. Differentiated instruction allows children to focus on their own learning needs, rather than compare themselves to classmates of the same age. Children learn naturally from other children, and are able to experience themselves in different roles, acting both as "teachers" and "learners".   

The same principle applies to social interactions, where children interact with a wider range of classmates depending on their interests and level of maturity. In a multi-age classroom, children develop a sense of belonging to a group characterized by different backgrounds, abilities, interests and ages. 

In grades 5 and 6, students are taught in year groups, rather than in a mixed-age setting, given the particular preparation that is required for secondary school.  

  • 24 fifth graders make up a grade 5 class
  • 24 sixth graders make up a grade 6 class 
Primary facility

Located in Berlin-Friedrichshain, the Primary School is a short walk from Alexanderplatz, and can be easily reached by bus, tram and subway.

Our school building is situated on a quiet footpath across from a park used by the city for traffic safety education. Built in 1968-69 in the East German “Plattenbau” style, the school is comprised of four stories. A playground, tended by a garden group of parents, features a football pitch, monkey bars, a swing and a trampoline. 

Facilities within the school include:

  • 12 classrooms
  • Art and music rooms
  • Library
  • Student kitchen
  • Cafeteria
  • Assembly room
  • After-school art room
  • Band room
  • Pottery workshop
  • Wood shop
  • Construction room
  • Games room
  • Movement room
  • Role-play room

Outside facilities used regularly by the school include:

  • Alte Feuerwache (theater performances)
  • Hallenbad Holzmarkt (swimming in grade 3)
  • various sports halls throughout Berlin (physical education)
  • Volkspark Friedrichshain (physical education and recreational activities)
Student support at BBS

At Berlin Bilingual, every effort is made to meet the cognitive, emotional, physical and social needs of students. Throughout the school day, children interact with and are guided by teachers and Erzieher who reflect upon the development of the child from many angles.  Close communication between home and school brings together the adults in a child’s life so that they can share information and develop common strategies.  Ultimately, the goal of parents and teachers/Erzieher is for children to truly thrive in the school environment.

 

Each Primary School classroom has a teacher and an Erzieher. An Erzieher is an educator trained in the social and emotional development of children. They provide continuity throughout the day, including during recess on the playground and at lunch.

Some children require more individual attention, be it in learning, developing or maintaining relationships with other children, taking responsibility for themselves or coping with emotional setbacks.  BBS is committed to supporting students to the best of the school’s abilities and in the best interest of the child. 

The Student Support Program offers individual students the opportunity to meet with a learning specialist or teacher to reinforce basic skills in English, German and mathematics. Additionally, the SSP staff work with children who have physical or mental disabilities, medical conditions, dyslexia and dyscalculia. BBS works closely with specialists from School Psychological Services (Berlin). 

The Hort receives state subsidies for the support of children whose particular physical or emotional needs require some degree of assistance from an Erzieher within the classroom.

Primary School traditions and events

Einschulung is the German celebration for children starting the first grade.  Each year, Berlin Bilingual School holds this celebration on the Saturday before the first graders’ first school day on the following Monday. Families and children are welcomed by the school community, shown their classrooms, and introduced to the teachers and educators. It is customary for families to give children a Schultüte, which is a decorated paper cone filled with school supplies, small gifts and candy. Einschulung is held on the Saturday after the school year begins for the Berlin school system.

Community Day honors the founding of the school, as well as serving as a welcome to the new Secondary School students. Community Day is observed on an afternoon during the first month of school.

Open House is a day in the autumn when families from outside the school are invited to tour the school.

Halloween takes place on October 31, and is celebrated either during the vacation Hort program or during the school day, depending on whether the date falls during the autumn holidays.  On this day, children wear costumes and participate in Halloween activities in school.

Rubbish Awareness Week is a special project run by the Hort team that highlights the importance of recycling and cleanliness.

The Winter Concert takes place in early December in a venue near the school.

The Winter Market is a December bazaar, organized by parents together with the staff, at which food and small gifts – typically crafts made by the students – are sold.  Students also perform dances, skits or songs. The proceeds are designated for a project at the school.

Fasching is the German “carnival,” a festive season that occurs immediately before Lent and is celebrated in many countries with colorful costumes and parades. For Fasching, children dress up in costumes and celebrate in school on a day in February.

Book Week, which takes place in the second half of the school year, is a week-long celebration of books and reading.  Each year, the week has a theme.  Typical events include a read-a-thon, drop-everything-and-read and a book sale. Proceeds from the read-a-thon go to the library.

Math Week is a week-long celebration of mathematics, each year having a different theme. Math Week is held in the autumn.

Music Week is a week-long celebration of music. Students who study instrumental music hold a lunchtime recital for their classmates.

The 5th Grade Musical takes place in the spring. Students perform songs from one or more musicals, and perform them for the school at the Alte Feuerwache.

Sports Day takes place shortly before the end of the school year. The entire school participates in traditional and untraditional games.

Portfolio Day is an afternoon when parents are invited to school to see their child’s portfolio. Students select representative work from various subject areas, and put it in their portfolios, which serve to highlight student development and provide students with a lasting memory of their primary school years.  Portfolio Day takes place near the end of the school year.

The Summer Fair, organized by parents, is held shortly before the end of the school year in the school garden.  Typically, there are booths selling food, drink and small crafts from the different countries represented within the school population.

Final Assembly takes place on the second to last day of school, and is the official closing ceremony of the school year. At this assembly, we recognize achievement and say good-bye to departing students and staff.