1、What is the educational philosophy of Huijia Primary School?
We always promote the bilingual and bi-cultural concept, combining Chinese traditional culture with the international advanced pedagogical thoughts and teaching methods, to create a teaching model with unique features.
We hope we offer a safe learning environment and a multi, broad and balanced curriculum which helps each child to reach his full potential. We believe that students’ academic success derives from the mutual respect between students and teachers and the trust and happiness they enjoy when they explore and learn together. While we help students to improve their academic attainments and intelligence, we also emphasize the development of their health, social skills and emotions. The students are given the opportunities to improve their research skills, critical thinking skills and analytical abilities, and to enhance their creativity and exploring spirit.
Like all other IB schools in the world, we educate students from different areas and countries to be knowledgeable thinkers, open-mined communicators, principled risk-takers, and to be well-balanced, reflective, caring and principled persons.
2、What are the unique features of the curriculum of Huijia Primary School?
At Huijia Primary School, we implement the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization. The written curriculum is based on National Curriculum Standards in China. All the subject contents are taught under the framework of PYP curriculum.
At Huijia Primary School, languages, the arts, physical education, mathematics, science and social studies are taught according to the national standards. In addition, we use some international standard curriculum documents for reference. It was shown that these documents have followed the principle of gradual improvement of children learning. For the children at different ages, the documents elaborate clearly on the knowledge they should know, the skills they should have and the concepts of different subjects they should understand. Based on these tables, teachers can map their students and provide differentiated teaching. We always strive to a comprehensive internationalized curriculum system.
3、What are the features of the PYP teaching at Huijia Primary School?
We adopt the PYP transdisciplinary teaching method. We hope students can get better understanding about the situation of human societies and find out the common natures between different cultures, organizations and groups. In the past, when we learn history we need memorize different historical events and the wars that occurred in different countries at different times. In PYP learning, students need learn these historical events, but also discuss the concept of “conflict” in groups with their different viewpoints, different experiences and different backgrounds, and find out the reasons that caused the conflicts. They will find out the differences and common natures of wars at a deeper level.
In PYP, there are six significant transdisciplinary themes, which provide students the opportunity to discuss domestic and international problems they come across during learning in a universal way. The related subject knowledge, like languages (Chinese and English), mathematics, the arts and physical education, are integrated in the units of inquiry. Students are challenged to think beyond the surface of knowledge. For example:
4、What are the features of students' learning ways at Huijia Primary School?
We hope we can help students to obtain the life-long wisdom and high quality life.
In order to ensure all the students to obtain their academic, physical, social and emotional development, at Huijia, the students learn thinking, communication, social, research and self-management skills, which are important for both children and adults.
We do not give children a lot of information to memorize, which is only useful for training skilled workers. The students are given the opportunity to learn by themselves, to ask questions, to find out reasons and they are willing to continue their own study. We teach students to get research skills, to know how to find out the right information and how to collect information to solve their own problems. We help students to be aware that learning is based on communication and cooperation.
Students always think over what they already know and what they want to know further. They ask questions about the learning contents. All these are indispensable parts in students’ learning process. Teachers always show respect to students’ points of view and encourage them to ask more questions.
5、Why the students of Huijia Primary School sit at the round tables?
We provide students the opportunity to cooperate in groups and to learn from each other.
Our classroom arrangement meets different learning requirements. Sometimes students learn individually, in other times they learn in couples or in bigger groups. We hope we can create a constructivist classroom, in which students can participate in a series of teaching activities designed by teachers. To maximum extent, we use the teaching methods of inquiry. We create authentic learning environment, which helps them to actively participate in their own study, to ask their own questions and to design their own way of inquiry.
We do not want teachers to tell students all the information, but allow students to create their own knowledge. Teachers only play the role of assistants. PYP teaching is much more difficult than that with only textbooks. PYP teachers need devote much more thinking and creativity.
This is the education we provide to students at our school.
6、What textbooks do you use?
We cater for all the students’ learning needs. We provide authentic teaching experiences.
The textbooks universally used in China’s classrooms have their own advantages. All the teaching aims from National Curriculum Standards in China are edited into one set of books, which makes teachers’ job easier, but leave not enough learning spaces for students with different learning features and abilities. It is also difficult to meet the needs of differentiated teaching.
All the activities in textbooks are presented with imaginary pictures, which cannot meet the learning requirements of different learners. In elementary education, children learn through five senses. Children need to see, to smell and to touch real stuff so that it becomes possible for them to understand abstract concepts. Only if teaching activities are related to real life, children will know learning exists at every place and the purpose of learning is to get armed for living in the real world.
Our teachers spend a lot of time in thinking and preparing their lessons. They transfer the teaching aims in textbooks to activities related to children’s real life, which is more fun and conform to children’s cognitive ways. If you visit our classrooms, you will find, with teacher’s assistance, the students participate in different activities in different groups and complete different tasks. These activities are designed at different levels to cater for different learning needs.
We emphasize the authenticity of learning. Before class, according to different needs of units of inquiry and teaching aims, teachers need prepare various teaching materials and reading resources. During units of inquiry, experts are invited to school to give lectures and students are shown to related spots, which help to make connections between students’ learning and their real life. Teachers always encourage students to make connections between the knowledge they learned in classroom with the happenings in the world. Students are given the opportunity to put knowledge and concepts into practice.
7、How would you educate students’ thinking abilities? How to think?
We provide a challenging curriculum. Students are always challenged to think from different aspects. It is the symbol of people with international visions.
At Huijia Primary School, we use many strategies to educate students’ thinking skills. While students take part in many interesting activities, they also grasp different thinking skills which they will benefit through their whole life. We encourage students to think about different viewpoints and find their connections. In class or their real life, students are encouraged to rethink of their own views about one issue by considering others. We always try to make students feel their thinking in class are always supported and appreciated. At Huijia Primary School, it is our aim to respect students’ thinking, cooperation and inquiry in different group activities. We always try hard to build a thinking culture.
8、How would you cater for children of different abilities?
Any two students coming to school have different knowledge and abilities. They are two different individuals in both social activities and emotions. Our differentiated teaching is shown in different teaching processes, different teaching contents and different ways to present academic attainments.
Teachers design various teaching tasks for students to make their own choices.
9、What are the features of teaching environment?
At Huijia Primary School, there are plenty of teaching resources and the teaching environment is related to our real life.
We believe teaching environment is the third teacher of children. We carefully design the environment with our teaching purposes. Students’ work pieces are displayed. They feel they are accepted. Lots of resources are available for students to inquire. They will become independent gradually. It is a warm and friendly place where students would love to stay and study.
10、What are the unique features of language study?
Both Chinese and English are taught at our school. We think language teaching need help students to develop their language abilities in all aspects, like listening, speaking, reading, writing and viewing, not only teach them simple language concepts.
Language learning permeates the whole curriculum at our school. Students always practice their listening, speaking, reading and writing in authentic situations. They also use language as a tool to know the world and to understand things. It is important we educate students’ research skills in language, which will help them to use various strategies to find out verbal meanings when they meet unfamiliar knowledge.
11、How do you assess?
We use a variety of assessment tools to assess students’ mastery of knowledge, understanding of concepts and their attitudes as learners.
At Huijia Primary School, there are three categories of assessment:
Personal mastery: unit tests, mastery of specific sets of skills and knowledge. Assessment data supports teachers in designing learning experiences according to the needs of their students.
Growth over time: Students’ learner portfolios show their growth over time in skills, attitudes, changes and development.
Applied understanding: using a variety of assessment tools to assess students’ ability to solve authentic problems with their own understandings.
Students can set their goals after examining their own strengths and the parts which need to be improved. They need communicate with teachers all the way to reach their goals. It is more important that students realize they are active participators. Goal setting at school is very important, even adults sometimes find it difficult to reach their goals. Teachers expect students to be responsible learners.
Teachers regularly inform parents the overall valid assessment information.
Score / Storytelling Rubric
Integrity of stories
It is a whole story, including the beginning, middle and end. The time, place and characters of story are related clearly.
It is not a whole story. Storytellers miss out beginning, middle or end of story. The time, place or characters are not very clear.
Story is often interrupted, important details forgotten. The time, place or characters are not clear at all.
Facial expressions while retelling stories
Storytellers change their facial expression to show the emotions expressed in the story. The vivid facial expression attracts the audience.
Storytellers only have some facial expression to show the emotions expressed in the story. The story is not very vivid.
Storytellers look very nervous. They only tell the story with little facial expression.
Fluency of stories
Storytellers know the story very well. They tell the story fluently, without any stop.
Storytellers know the story. They can tell the important plot of story. Sometimes they need stop to recall the story.
Storytellers do not know the story very well. Some important plot of the story is missed out. They often stop with some "um's"
Storytellers can tell the story loudly. The audience can hear it clearly. They often change their voices to show different characters of the story.
The audience can hear the story. They try to change their voices to show different characters of the story.
The voice of storytellers is very low and flat. The audience cannot hear it clearly.
The above table is one of examples we use to assess students’ specific skills and knowledge, which will help them get prepared for future study.
12、What kind of students will my kid study together with?
Now the parents who choose Huijia all pay close attention to education. They hope their children can have more experiences and the knowledge at school is closely connected with the real world. Many parents are willing to participate in our school education, to make connections between school, families and society, which will help students to get ready for their future life. At present, about 2,400 students from 15 countries and regions are studying at Huijia, which enable all the students of exposure to different languages, cultures and backgrounds.
13、What are the arrangements for students after dinner?
After dinner, dorm mothers will lead students to walk around or play games on campus. In the evening, students of different apartments take turns to read in the library. On Tuesday nights all students need read in classrooms. On Thursday nights all students pack up their luggage. Monday and Wednesday nights are flexible, students may attend some cultural activities or life skill trainings and so on. Some students need attend art group activities. Sometimes movies, heath lectures or performances may be arranged according to different year levels. At night, students can contact their parents at dorms. After washing, students of lower year levels go to bed at 20:45, higher year levels at 21:00.
14、How is the accommodation at Huijia?
Students’ dormitory is designed like apartments. Students are grouped according to sexes and year levels. There is one leader in each building. One dorm mother is in charge of one apartment. Some students are nominated as dorm leaders and apartment leaders. There are 8 to 10 rooms in each apartment. 3 to 4 students live in one room. In the apartment, there is also a hall, constant temperature drinking fountains and telephones. Bathrooms are very large with enough shower nozzles and bathwater is available at night.
15、Will it affect children’s mental and physical health if they attend a boarding school?
We always try to build a homely atmosphere for students. Generally students return to school on Sunday nights, which ensures them to attend the second day’s classes. On Friday afternoons students are dismissed in turn from lower year levels to higher levels. Parents come to pick up their kids at school or at school bus stops. When students stay at school, teachers guide them to learn self-management skills and to cooperate with others. Parents can call their kids at night, and have talks or together attend some activities on weekends. Students can enjoy both the happiness of staying with their friends and the love from their family. To meet some parents’ needs, our school also provides accommodation to some long-term boarding students and temporary ones. Dorm mothers look after them and sometimes organize some out-going activities.
16、Are there any day pupils at Huijia Primary School?
Huijia Primary School opens day school classes for the students who live nearby. The school provides a reasonable timetable for day pupils, seven periods and club activities every day. Day pupils are supposed to arrive at school before 8:00am, and school buses leave at 4:30pm. At present, 8 lines of school buses are available for day pupils to guarantee their study and life. (Please refer to School Bus Form for Day Pupils)
17、How is the food at school?
Students are served three meals and three snacks a day. Most food is made from pollution-free green materials from Huijia Farm. The canteen provides buffet. Sets of menus are made up by nutritionists. Main food, fruit, meat and vegetables are combined reasonably. During lunch and dinner, more than 20 kinds of dishes are available. They are adjusted with season changes. Dorm mothers serve them food to guarantee the balance of various foods and control the amount of fried food. Every term, health center doctors measure their weight and height three times. For the students who have extreme light or heavy weight, we need contact their parents and discuss their diet. Three snacks include yoghurt, fruit, milk and cakes.
18、How to ensure students’ health?
In the Health Center, there is a health care center, a food safety examination studio and an air quality monitoring center. Twelve school doctors in the Health Centre provide 24-hour services to all the students and staff. Child oral cavity experts make out sets of detailed teeth care plan and provide a full range of prevention and protection services to all the students at school. Every day the Food Safety Examination Studio need check all the materials purchased by the canteen staff. The Air Quality Monitoring Centre everyday reports air quality data, which helps the school to arrange suitable outdoor activities for students.
19、Is there anything we need concern about for new students?
For many children, it is a symbol phase that they move into a bigger collective from their families, and meet many new things. At school, new students are encouraged to build safe and reliable relationship with adults and classmates. Teachers and parents will closely cooperate with each other to help students to smoothly get through this phase.
20、How does Huijia ensure teachers’ quality?
Our foreign teachers are recruited from the internationally recognized recruitment agencies. Every year school leaders attend the job fairs held in Thailand, America and Britain, so we can recruit qualified teachers. All new foreign teachers must have teachers’ certificates issued in their own countries. All new Chinese teachers are excellent education graduates or experienced teachers.
A lot of trainings are provided to help teachers to improve their professional abilities. Ms. Tania Lattanzio, an experienced PYP consultant, is employed to take charge of teacher trainings and help them to solve teaching problems in class. In addition, every year we regularly send teachers to attend PYP trainings organized by IBO in the Asian-Pacific region. Some experts are also invited to our school to provide trainings. Some teachers are sent to visit PYP schools in China, Singapore and Australia. As learners, teachers are always encouraged to inquire better ways of group cooperation, teaching, assessment and differentiation.
21、How is Huijia's further education?
Authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization, Huijia provides IB programmes for students of 3 to 18 years old. After students finish the study of Primary Years Programme, they can directly enter the Middle School to join Middle Years Programme. In High School, we provide IB Diploma Programme curriculum. Until now we have already sent the high school graduates of 2000 to 2012 to some top universities in the world.