“The deepest magic of all…” – Step into the International School of Lausanne’s production of the world of Narnia
For the young learners lucky enough to have the opportunity to join the International School of Lausanne community from a young age, an ISL Early Childhood education is the first step in a journey that celebrates learning both inside and outside of the classroom. Keep reading for a trip into the vibrant and colourful world of our EC Reception 3 and 4 students, and to discover more about the EC’s Immersive French programme.
If you step outside the backdoors of ISL’s North Building, cross the rolling expanse of green lawn and playground in the direction of our basketball and tennis courts, you will find yourself at the International School of Lausanne Early Childhood (EC) Building.
Separated from the main primary and secondary playground by a low beech hedge and a green fence decorated with rainbow-coloured pinwheel flowers, the Early Childhood Building has its own play area for the Reception 3 and 4 students (age 3 – 4 years).
Step through the doors of the Early Childhood Building and you’ll enter a vibrant space of colour, light, and discovery…
The free-flow form of our Early Childhood Building was specially designed to create an interactive environment for ISL’s youngest learners. The play space contains a range of equipment to foster motricity skills; the Reception 3 and 4 students can choose to ride bikes and tricycles, or play on gymnastic features, such as balance beams.
The EC ground floor is composed of a wide corridor, which transforms into the free flow play and active learning area, and the light and airy Reception 3 and 4 classrooms.
The classrooms feel cosy and welcoming: the walls, decorated with the children’s own work, invite you into a world of learning and imagination; the furniture is modern and colourful; and the learners begin each day clustered together on a thick rug in front of the large interactive smartboard with the day’s learning goals on it.
For many of the R3s and 4s, however, their favourite part of EC learning is when they climb the stairs to L’Atelier space upstairs…
Stretching the full length of the International School of Lausanne Early Childhood Building, with a high roof, skylights, and large windows overlooking the playground, L’Atelier was tailor-made for our EC learners, and plays an integral role in the EC’s Immersive French curriculum.
Decked out at one end with a cooking station and fully-equipped kitchen (built at child level in order to ensure easy access for all children in L’Atelier de cuisine classes), the room unfolds in an open plan series of themed play and learning areas, with one whole wall dedicated to the EC student art gallery.
A typical learning session in L’Atelier begins with the children gathered beneath one of the skylights in the library area.
Ms Goetschel (Teacher of French) leads the students in French storytelling and singing, and they talk – in both French and English – about the illustrations in the storybooks.
Immersive French at the International School of Lausanne is the first step in our students’ journey towards acquiring another language and gaining an appreciation of the culture in Switzerland.
The EC English speaking and French speaking teachers plan and work alongside each other, allowing the students to learn the language in a relevant and meaningful context.
L’Atelier learning complements home room learning, giving the children the opportunity to consolidate and extend their thinking through stories, songs, and art in an Immersive French environment.
After a session of group singing or storytelling, the children are given the chance to choose where they want to play, and are free to move from one activity to another, sometimes working with their teachers or playing with their peers, at other times individually.
“By combining the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) framework with a play-based learning environment, the International School of Lausanne EC focuses on developing the child as a whole across of all the important developmental domains of language, physical, social and emotional, and cognitive development. The children are guided and supported by the time to develop their understanding of the world, to strengthen their sense of self, and to build relationships with others. The bespoke-design environment is fun, and, to paraphrase Piaget, child-led play is after all the work of children!” (Ms Preston, Early Childhood Coordinator, Teacher of EAL)
In the EC, the students have access to a French speaking teacher in their classroom space for over a third of their week, which encourages them to build their language skills through daily routines.
For the teaching staff of the EC, seeing the Reception 3 and 4 students gaining in confidence as they learn to share their ideas and thoughts in a new language is one of the highlights of their role:
“To see my little ones able to express themselves in English/French and communicate with teachers and classmates (especially those who don’t speak the languages) is my favourite moment.” (Ms Cantoni, Teacher of Reception 3)
“Seeing students have the opportunity to acquire or strengthen their language through exciting play-based activities that allow them to problem solve, communicate their thinking, inquire and build new relationships has been really exciting.” (Ms Preston, Early Childhood Coordinator, Teacher of EAL).
Learning in the world of the ISL Reception 3s and 4s does not only take place within the colourful confines of the EC building, however; just as the older students in the Primary get the chance to venture out into the lovely woodland surroundings of ISL as part of their dual language programme, so too is outdoor learning a fundamental part of the EC curriculum.
The winding forest pathways and tree-encircled lake of Lausanne’s charming Sauvabelin Park lies practically on the doorstep of the International School of Lausanne; joined by support staff or ISL parents, the EC learners just need to cross two yellow-striped pedestrian crossings and a wide bridge, before finding themselves in nature’s own classroom.
The development of ISL’s dual language programme has been highly popular with parents and pupils, furthering our aim to encourage interculturalism and to create closer links within our local community; the EC’s forest-based lessons enhances this goal.
By venturing out into our surrounding community, the ISL Reception 3s and 4s begin to cultivate an early appreciation of how the language, skills, and concepts that they discover within the walls of the Early Childhood building are relevant and transferable to the wider world beyond.
Whether it is applying English or French vocabulary learning to their woodland visits – “un arbre”, “une feuille”, “un baton” – or building on their classroom collaborative learning skills to work in groups to build a shelter constructed of sticks, the EC students start making connections between studies in class and their real-world application.
For the young learners lucky enough to have the opportunity to join the International School of Lausanne community from a young age, an ISL Early Childhood education is the first step in a journey that celebrates learning both inside and outside of the classroom, and which ultimately empowers our students with the skills and self-belief to bring about positive change in a local and global context.
Click here to discover more about the International School of Lausanne’s Early Childhood International Baccalaureate Programme, or keep scrolling for a few more images of life in our EC…