Preschool-12 Bilingual Education in
Three Locations in the Bay Area

Preschool & Kindergarten

Preschool and Kindergarten together, as is customary in the German school system, form our early education program.

Lovingly named “Kibili”, the program is designed to nurture the development of the whole child. Our classes blend social-emotional support with gross and fine motor activities, music and art exploration, introduction to early math and language concepts as well as intercultural learning. Language learning happens in a playful and multi-sensory way. Each Kibili class has at least one German and one English teacher, both of whom stick to one language while with the group.

Child-Centered Approach

In our small classes, Kibili children play, experiment and learn in comprehensive learning groups where they are given the opportunity to explore concepts through discovery and hands-on activities. Our approach is project-based and child-centered. Our teachers plan curriculum around children's interests and passions. While offering structure and security in daily routines, we give children time to process and discuss situations and observations. The following example illustrates how a curriculum topic may be sparked by a real-life experience:

The children discovered a spider in the classroom. The teacher observed a variety of reactions amongst the group and discussed with the children what to do with the spider. Together, they counted the spider’s legs, investigated what kind of spider it was, sang a spider song, got wool and built a spider web.

Holistic Learning

Our thoughtfully arranged learning environments feature rich resources, many of them natural, high-quality products made in Germany. Each day includes ample opportunities for free play and outdoor time. And even the youngest members of the GISSV community get to explore their local environment through regular visits of nearby parks as well as field trips. Through its well-rounded activities, the Kibili program fosters independent, collaborative and confident learners.

Click here for information on the Kibili afternoon program

Educational Guidelines

Social and Emotional Competences/Skills

• The teachers, the play partners, parents and experts are role models
• Being able to discuss and philosophize together
• Child based strategies and action plan are communicated
• Respect and fair treatment of all
• To adapt to different/new situations
• Constructive arguments and agreements
• Confidence
• Developing empathy
• Rules are set up, are readjusted, used
• Cooperate with each other
• Setting up standards and values
• Developing the individual identity and the personal role within a social group
• Making responsible decisions
• Respecting the rights of the others
• Conflict resolution
• Dealing with and understanding frustration, developing self confidence and self value
• Participate and develop a democratic set up

Pre-writing Skills

• Developing grapho-motoric experiences and skills on 3 levels
• Practicing good writing posture (hand)
• Developing a good shoulder and wrist rotation
• Pressure on pen/ on paper
• Differentiation of sizes, letters to paper, designated space on paper...
• Organizational skills, work area set up

Movement and Physical Development

The child’s brain learns and takes in more if the information is linked to sensory impulses. This is why the sensorial integration and physical development is so important.
• Creative movement and exercise options
• Kneading, touching, mixing, ball baths, trampoline jumping
• Experiences out in nature
• Acquisition of essential movements
• Support and improvement of gross and fine motor skills
• Developing balance (dynamic and static)
• Developing a good relation between space and direction
• Strong muscle tone
• Assessment of heights
• Balancing and dosage of strength
• Development of dodging techniques
• Development of hand-eye coordination

Nature, Science and Environmental Competences

  • Experiences in nature
  • Fieldtrips – walks in the neighborhood
  • Knowledge and visits of public institutions (library, museum...)
  • Natural cycles: knowledge and experiments
  • Knowledge about the native plants and birds
  • Weather and the seasons: experiments, observations
  • Exploration of materials and objects
  • Usage of books, documentaries and posters
  • Equipment for further and exact observation: microscope, binoculars...
  • Exploring of properties (liquid, solid, soft...)
  • 5 Elements • Experts in the classroom (carpenter, biologist, gardener...)
  • Natural materials are available to the children
  • Animals: Feeding, taking care of, observe, hear, recognize...
  • Observations are documented, presented
  • Questions and ways to find the answers

Art, Music and Dance

„Painting is like dreaming,” says Neo Rauch, one of the most fantasy inspired and gifted painter of our times. For children it is important to express their impressions of the world and this happens most easily through art.
• Expressing, digesting, and presenting feelings through art, music and dance
• Getting to know different instruments and their sound
• Music and dances from different cultures
• Experience of different materials and techniques
• Painting in the range of big surfaces to small details
• Getting to know about different artists and their work

Cognitive Development and Skills

• Exciting and fascinating projects following the guidelines of the educational plan.
• Room, space, area for the natural sciences
• Challenging and motivating learning set ups / offers
• Allowing the curiosity of the children
• Developing problem solving skills
• Experiences following the principle: trial and error
• Build and check hypotheses
• Playful communication of basic mathematical principals
• Learning through self-learning
• Self- explanatory toys and materials

Play, Create and Experiment

• Room and materials for free creation
• Time for free play and creations
• Materials and tools to experiment in classroom
• Planning and implementing of new projects
• Experiments with: magnetism, weights, energy, elements...
• Results of the experiments are documented and discussed or compared
• Learning how to „read“ recipes and tables

Cooperation with families

• Parent teacher meetings/ conferences
• Parent representatives
• Parents are invited as experts in the classroom
• Festivities and celebrations
• Portfolio

Intercultural Learning

• Artwork, clothes and decorations from other countries and cultures
• Books and stories from other countries or cultures
• Having guests and hosting get togethers
• Experts in the classroom (different language, culture, country...)
• Celebrations, traditions and festivities with different cultural aspects
• Food and recipes from other cultures or countries
• Music, songs and stories in other languages.

Fantasy & Role Plays

  • Ways to express oneself through costumes, materials and designated areas in the classroom
  • Time for free role play
  • Fairytales and stories
  • Imaginary journeys
  • Dolls and stuffed animals to act out emotions

Building and Constructing

• Offering different building material: natural and artificial materials
• Technical toys and materials
• Child sized tools
• Experts in the classroom (carpenters, technicians, mechanics...)
• Exchange and discussions while solutions are found during experiments and building projects
• Developing the awareness for sizes, shapes and proportions during building projects

Food and Nutrition

• Rituals and eating routines are introduced
• Food culture is cultivated in classroom
• Trying out new recipes, baking and cooking together

Health and Nutrition

• Sharing needs and feelings
• Room and materials for physical hygiene
• Hygiene ritual and routines (washing hands, brushing teeth)
• Children learn how to respect and be aware of others feelings and needs (posters, rules, exchange)
• Food and Drinks – theme in classroom projects
• Children have opportunities, areas and materials to relax and recuperate
• Experts in the classroom (dentist, doctor, nurse…)
• Cooking, baking and trying out healthy recipes together in the classroom
• Child appropriate books and pictures about the body, health and sickness and hygiene
• Theme: health and sickness (role play, books, stories…)

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