Lower School

General Information

The Lower School includes Kindergarten – Grade 4. Classes are taught in German and English, and Spanish language will be taught starting in Grade 3. We combine German and American Curricula, and align with International programs. The students are prepared to study in Germany, in the United States and all over the world. The German, Mathematics, Science and Art lessons are based on certified teaching materials from Schulexpert/Deutsche Fernschule. The lessons in English and Social Studies/Science are aligned with the common core standards.

The teaching methods during the lessons include:

  • independent student work
  • studying with a partner or within a group
  • project work, doing research
  • following a workshop model
  • following direct instructions given by the teacher

The students learn to develop their own plans and make independent decisions, while also following set instructions and completing specific assignments. They learn to work in different social forms, to adapt, be flexible and to achieve in various ways. Lessons focus on problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Students learn to read, write and express themselves using a wide vocabulary in both English and German.

We take care to focus on each child´s development, and strive to create a community of balanced, self-confident, tolerant, flexible and personable students who are prepared to face the challenges of life. We make a concerted effort to teach the students the joy and boundlessness of learning.

In addition to fostering inquiry and knowledge, we focus on developing each child’s social, interpersonal and communication skills, to help students express themselves confidently and considerately.

Daily Schedule Kindergarten

08:00 am –  8:50 am Arrival Time, supervision available
08:50 am –  9:00 am Morning Circle
09:00 am – 10:00 am Lessons
10:00 am – 11:00 am Breakfast/Play Time
11:00 am – 12:00 am Lessons
12:00 am – 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 pm –  1:30 pm Park
01:30 pm –  3:00 pm Lessons with break to play
3:00 pm Pickup Time

Daily Schedule starting Grade 1

08:00 am –  8:30 am Arrival Time, supervision available
08:30 am –  9:30 am Lesson 1
09:30 am – 10:30 am Lesson 2
10:30 am – 11:00 am Breakfast/Break
11:00 am – 11:45 am Lesson 3
11:45 am – 12:30 pm Lesson 4
12:30 pm –  1:30 pm Lunch Break & Park
01:30 pm –  2:30 pm Lesson 5
02:30 pm –  3:30 pm Lesson 6
04:00 pm –  5:30 pm Afternoon activities
05:30 pm –  6:00 pm Supervision available

Subjects

  • German
  • English
  • Mathematics (in German and English)
  • Social Studies and Science (in German and English)
  • Ethics
  • Music
  • Art
  • Sport/Yoga/Dance
  • Projects/Independent Work
  • Spanish (starting in Grade 3)
  • Homework session

stundenplan

PARENT INVOLVEMENT

It is very important for us to have a communicative relationship with the parents and caregivers of our students. Parents are welcome to visit the school and to make appointments with the teachers to talk about their child’s development.

To build relationships with parents and caregivers, we:

  • schedule regular teacher/ parent meetings
  • schedule regular parent representative meetings
  • plan many school events where the parents are invited to join and participate
  • send updates about school life through letters, email and the website
  • provide advance written notification about all exams, so that parents know the date and how to help their child prepare
  • offer individual feedback about the development of the child

 School Trips

Our students go on various field trips. We have regularly scheduled trips for each grade every year.

Additionally, the class teachers plan trips, including joint trips for the entire Lower School. For example, we may go on a “nature” field trip to the park, to view current exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum or we may even go orienteering (an outdoor adventure using a map and a compass.) The students learn both inside and outside the school building. We take trips to meet the worlds of culture, science and nature and then have the opportunity to apply what we’ve learned to our studies back at school.

 

A DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRICULUM

GENERAL INFORMATION

The curriculum of the German School Brooklyn is based on German Curricula, the Curricula of the New York State Department of Education and, starting in Middle School and especially in Upper School, on the Curricula of the International Baccalaureate Program.

Students will receive both the New York State High School Diploma and The International Baccalaureate in German and English. The curriculum meets the official requirements of Germany and New York State. In Grades 11/12 the IBO requirements are met. The courses are taught in German or in English, and some courses are taught in both languages.

KINDERGARTEN

Kindergarten at GSB prepares the children for entry in the first grade of the Lower School.

The children play, learn and explore in a well-structured classroom (arranged learning environment) and the school day itself is rich with routines.

The children learn German, English, Mathematics, Science, Music, and Sport. They also explore didactic teaching materials during free choice time, and have plenty of opportunities to sit together with the teacher to share, to listen and to discuss.

One fundamental piece of our curriculum is the certified Schulexpert material, which includes essential lessons in German, Mathematics, and Social Studies.

During the school day, the children have opportunities to learn and play independently, in partnerships and in small groups. They become well versed in how to learn and play in different social forms. Our kindergarteners also do projects and short presentations.

A few times a year we take the children on field trips to the zoo, various museums and exhibitions. We also frequently go to the park to have picnics and explore nature.

 

Elements of the week

MORNING CIRCLE

During the first lesson after the weekend, the children welcome each other and start the week together. They talk about their weekend and discuss the week to come. Is there a new event happening in school? Is there a fun activity going on outside of school? Is there a birthday of a student or famous person?

SUBJECTS

Students focus on their subject lessons during most of the morning and early afternoon.

INDEPENDENT WORK/STUDENT CHOICE TIME

Components of the curriculum have been carefully chosen as didactical education material. The students explore this material individually, as well as in partnerships and small groups. The teacher then has the chance to conference with each student to advise, support and guide their work.

During this time, a student chooses the material and may also study a self- chosen topic.

COLLECTIVE BREAKFAST & LUNCH

While the teacher reads a story, the students have their breakfast as a group. The students learn to enjoy having their meals in the company of others, learn table manners and the procedure of cleaning up.

LANGUAGE CIRCLES

In order to strengthen their German and English vocabulary, language circles take place twice a week. We use picture cards with words and sentences to expand the students’ vocabulary on specific topics.

PRESENTATIONS

Every Friday, short presentations take place in front of the class. The overarching topic such as “animals” is chosen by the teacher early in the year. Each student chooses a specific animal, shows a picture and reports briefly on what they’ve learned. These presentations are conducted throughout all grades. The students get used to speaking in front of a group, and have a chance to organize their thoughts and develop self confidence.

CLEANING UP

Every Friday, the classroom and the school bags are checked and organized.

REFLECTION OF THE WEEK

On Friday the class teacher discusses the week with the students. What did we learn? Were there any challenges? How have they been solved? What went well? At the end, everybody wishes one another a nice weekend.

HOMEWORK LESSONS

The students have homework in German, English, and Mathematics. Most of the homework is done at school during homework sessions. During the holidays, students receive short homework assignments such as writing a holiday diary in German and English or reading books on their own.