The Lower School includes Kindergarten – Grade 5. 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.
The curriculum of the German School Brooklyn is based on German Curricula, the Curricula of the New York State Department of Education.
Students will receive the New York State High School Diploma. 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.
GSB KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM
We have four overarching units during the school year:
–Books & Stories: visiting a library, identifying genres of books, learning the elements of a story, building/telling your own story
–Fairy Tales and Performing Arts: learning the difference between text and performance, watching a theater performance, practicing scene acting
–Syllables and Rhymes: exploring lyrics and poems, writing your own songs/rhymes
–Travel Journalism – Around the world, Persuasive Writing, Individual Presentations and First steps of reading
Throughout the school year, we follow the outline of our ABC Hefte (Schulexpert) with additional interactive exercises and games. We learn to identify, pronounce, and write letters and letter sounds, as well as listen for them at the beginning, middle and end of words. We start with uppercase vowels followed by uppercase consonants, then we continue with the lowercase letters in the same order.
MATH in German
In Math we focus on recognizing and writing numbers and exploring how to connect numbers with quantities. We also learn to count and compare numbers on the number line, leading to adding and subtracting numbers up to 10, for results up to 20. Additionally, we learn about 2D and 3D geometric forms, patterns and symmetry, and how to measure and compare objects. At the end of the year, the children are introduced to the clock and learn about time (full and half hour). Our work is based on the Flex and Flo Series (Schulexpert) and other hands-on Montessori oriented materials. Through introducing first word problems and learning about numerical relationships in everyday life, we focus on using math as a fun way to understand the world around us.
SOCIAL STUDIES – Sachkunde
During the school year, the children learn about the following themes through project based learning:
–My Origins/Origins of Humans/Africa
–This is Me/Us/Others, including an exploration of cultures and religions
–Landscapes/Climate Zones/All Continents, including a study of rainforests and deserts
–Under the sea/Environment/Animals/Asia/Australia/Antarctica
–Animals and Plants from our continent and other continents, including ocean animals, coral reefs, and student led choices; also includes the four elements of water, fire, gas and air through an exploration of volcanoes and space, along with an aquarium visit
–Photography, including exploring light and shadows
–Machines, including how to construct a simple machine
–Life in the Past and Today, including Black History and the history of Native Americans
In English we explore various literary components such as author, illustrator, character, setting and action/plot. We engage in daily read-alouds that are relevant to the topics taught in English as well as other subjects.
We also begin to unpack the world of print. We familiarize ourselves with letter names and letter sounds, and learn to write them as well! For this, we use a blend of methods including Sounds in Motion, as well as elements of the Wilson FUNdations Phonics Program. Through these programs, students strengthen their knowledge of written and printed letters and words.
Our year-long theme for Science is Weather and Our Environment. Within this theme, we explore topics such as:
–What is Science?
–Force and Motion: we test our engineering skills to build ramps and determine how to make objects move faster or slower
–Liquids and Solids: we learn about the different types of matter
–Life Cycles – Living and non living
–Weather and Environment
–Animals + Habitats: we conduct a mini-research project on an animal to figure out what the animal needs to survive, what it likes to eat, and where it lives
–Our goal as Scientists is to observe, make predictions, conduct experiments, as well as record and reflect on our data.
Art – Kunst
The art curriculum aligns with four units of Social Studies. We explore, experiment, interact, and express ourselves through a variety of materials, processes and techniques. We also plan field trips to explore NYC’s art scene.
Main topics include:
–Collage Project: Fantasy animals – use of different materials
–Drawing project – Animals – Different shading and line techniques with several drawing tools
–Painting project: Primary and secondary colors – watercolors, Tempera paint
–Sculpture project: Convex/Concave, Clay – shaping with and without tools
Storytelling will also play a large part in the curriculum to support imagination/creativity and to help express feelings, thoughts and ideas on paper.
Ethics – in German
Together with the children we set up classroom rules, routines, and hopes for the school year.
We learn about how to take care of our bodies, our feelings, and the environment around us. We discuss, read books, and explore fun activities to explore and implement important social emotional strategies and mindfulness techniques.
The music curriculum is split up in 2 main units:
–Fairy Tales: Reading, acting and singing
–Instruments: Ear training, experiencing classical music pieces
–We use different pieces of music along with other sound/music experiences to start training our ears to listen well. Students explore instruments and notation, and are introduced to graphic notation and half quarter notes. We also explore voice training, rhythm and speech exercises along with movement and dance. Last but not least, the children experience melody through songs and plays. They will also watch a musical theater piece and listen to sound stories.
The PE curriculum covers :
–Gymnastics: Yoga, Types of jumping
–Running: Various Movement types
–Group games and Team sport