How OWIS' Early Childhood Programme prepares children for Primary School

Niki Wallis
Updated on
October 29, 2020

Transitioning to primary school is a big step for young children and their parents. For many families, the change can be a stressful one. Fortunately, it is possible to navigate this journey with a minimum of stress and worry. Children who already have experience with a classroom environment are better-prepared for Grade 1 than children who do not. Young learners benefit most when early childhood programmes provide a supportive environment that nurtures their curiosity, develops their skill sets and equips them with confidence.

At One World International School, our Early Childhood Programme is a "school within a school" that is designed as a bridge to the primary years. 

Here are some of the ways our programme prepares preschool students for a successful transition to Grade 1:

Early Years Curriculum

At OWIS, we follow the IB PYP, a challenging, highly-engaging curriculum for students between the age of 3 to 11. For our youngest learners, we use the PYP framework’s “Early Years” component that is designed for preschool-aged children. This early learning approach instils a love of learning by encouraging children's natural curiosity. Our preschool students build concepts by asking questions to delve deeper into topics, primarily through play and other activities centred on children's interests. Through exploration and inquiry, children begin to take ownership of their learning, setting the stage for success throughout the rest of their school years.

Our knowledgeable preschool teachers are attentive to all aspects of students' development — intellectual, physical, social and emotional. They know how to provide support while fostering independence. Furthermore, our Early Childhood 3 teachers are familiar with the expectations for students entering Grade 1. They align the learning objectives in EC3 to allow smooth progression to Primary School.

Familiarity with the School Environment

Another advantage of attending our preschool programme is that it enables children to enter Grade 1 already familiar with the school environment. At OWIS, there are several ways we introduce children to primary school.

Specialist Teachers

To ensure a well-rounded education, our Early Childhood students participate in Music, Art, Mandarin, PE and Library lessons (in addition to their other subjects). Preschool students have their own learning spaces at OWIS, but they use primary classrooms for some of these specialised subjects**. Specialist teachers work across different grades and many of them work with both our Early Childhood and Primary students. By the time children reach Grade 1, they're already acquainted with the primary school environment, as well as some of their teachers.

Whole-School Events

Our Early Childhood students participate in school-wide events, such as International Day, Book Week, Kindness Week and cultural days and festivals. During these activities, they interact with older students and see them perform. Our Early Childhood students also take to the stage during their class assemblies and our EC school production at the end of the year. This gives our youngest learners confidence and even more to look forward to in primary school when they can continue these activities and performances.


Kindness Ambassadors

During whole-school events, some of our Grade 5  Kindness Leaders and Secondary students come into Early Childhood classrooms** to serve as buddies and mentors to guide preschoolers through activities. Both groups benefit from these opportunities to connect, and for younger children, this bonding time makes the prospect of transitioning to primary school much less intimidating.

Integrated Classes**

At certain times during the year, Early Childhood and Primary students attend class together. For the duration of the shared class time, younger students are paired with older ones. Hence, preschool children get to experience what it's like to be in a primary class and have opportunities to interact with older children.

Service Projects

Service to others is an integral part of student life at OWIS, and we include our youngest students in community projects. During seasonal celebrations or year-end festivities, like Christmas time last year, our Early Childhood students visited a home for the elderly to present gifts and bring residents some holiday cheer. Volunteering at an early age raises children's awareness of the needs of others and teaches them to respond with compassion and kindness. Involving Early Childhood students in community projects fosters early character development, equipping them with habits and traits that will stand them in good stead in primary school and beyond.

Grade 1 is the class that has the highest number of students seeking admission each year. Enrolling your child in our Early childhood programme ensures a place in our primary school programme well ahead of time. To learn more about early learning at OWIS, contact us to book a tour and talk to our friendly admissions team.

** With current Phase 2 Covid restrictions in place, this activity/interaction will not happen at present. Only when all Covid-related restrictions are lifted, will the above activities resume.  

* Please note: All the images in this blog were taken in pre-Covid times.


About Author

Niki Wallis

Senior Coordinator - Early Childhood

Niki is originally from Royston, a small market town in Hertfordshire, England. She completed her BEd. (Hons) degree at De Montfort University, Bedford and has been teaching since then. Her early career was UK based but since 2005, she has moved with her family and worked in Cyprus, Beijing and now Singapore. Niki also has a Cambridge English Level 5 Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) from Language Link, Beijing.

Niki has always been passionate about teaching and working with children. She considers it to be a great privilege and responsibility to help shape the minds of the next generation and unlock the potential within each child. 

She believes that she is in a privileged position to be able to provide the personalised support to ensure that every student can progress, whatever their starting point; achieving more than they ever dreamed possible, and to remove any barriers that stand in their way.

She also believes that it is her responsibility to help children to grow as individuals, love learning, and be inquiring, knowledgeable, compassionate and caring global citizens. She believes strong community links, where parents, students and teachers all work together in genuine partnership with open and regular communication are vital to achieve this.

She is particularly interested in working with non-native English speakers and being part of the process of unlocking the English language for them. She finds it immensely rewarding to witness the special moments of success when learners are correctly supported and encouraged to thrive.

Niki has moved to Singapore with her husband and youngest son. Besides travelling, she enjoys cycling, yoga, weight training, reading, the outdoors and nature. Most recently, she has had a go at Roller Derby!

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