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One of the most striking features of the Lower School is the pleasant, happy and purposeful atmosphere that permeates its classrooms and corridors. We aim to ensure that the children are provided with a stimulating, caring environment in which they can develop an approach to learning that will help their growth as individuals throughout their lives. In school the children go about their activities with enthusiasm and curiosity and they are always keen to share their achievements with others. New children are warmly welcomed to the school by both pupils and staff. Even though the children come from many different parts of the world, the language of the school is English except when the children attend Italian lessons. Obviously the partnership between staff and parents is recognised as playing a key role in each child’s learning development.
The Lower School has 2 Nursery and 2 Reception classes in the Foundation Stage (3 to 5 year olds) and then 3 classes per year in Key Stage 1 (5 to 7 year olds) and Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 year olds). All classes are of mixed ability. At the end of Year 2, the children will take the KS1 tests in English and Mathematics and these are marked internally. Our Year 6 pupils sit the KS2 Mathematics, English and Science SATs which are marked externally.
From the moment the school bell rings at 8.50am the learning experience begins. The children form class lines in the middle playground, are greeted by the Head of Lower School and their class teachers and then make their way to their classrooms in quiet, orderly lines ready for the day’s work ahead. Literacy, Numeracy, Science, History, Geography, Art, Design Technology, Music, P.E. and PSHE/Religion are taught following the guidelines of the English National Curriculum.
Being a school in Italy the children have the opportunity to learn Italian in advanced, intermediate and beginners groups from Year 2 onwards. There is a well resourced Lower School library and each class has a weekly library lesson. Specialist teachers deliver P.E. and Music to all children from Nursery to Year 6. P.E. takes place either in the school gymnasium or, from Year 2 onwards, classes have the opportunity to go off-site to a sports centre nearby. The swimming programme starts from Year 3. Drama and Music are an important part of the school’s ethos and pupils enjoy participating in assemblies, school productions and concerts. Peripatetic staff teach a wide range of musical instruments and a large number of pupils have private instrumental lessons. Pupils are encouraged to pursue their interests and attend the various after school clubs offered by teaching and non-teaching staff.
There is a short play break for Reception to Year 6 children from 10.20am to 10.40am and then it is the turn of the Nursery children to play outside. Lunch is usually eaten from 12 noon to 12.20pm and then the children play outside until 1.15pm. There is a short afternoon play break from 2.25pm to 2.40pm for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
Assemblies and song practices take place alternate weeks. Assemblies give the children a sense of being part of a community and provide them with occasions to come together and develop a sense of responsibility for others. Values and ideas are explored through stories, music, drama and quiet reflection. By effective use of a range of activities and structures, the children are encouraged to trust each other, to share thoughts and feelings and take a collective responsibility for positive behaviour. Personal and social achievements are addressed by the class group or the staff enabling each child to feel valued. There is a Lower School Council and two representatives from each class in Years 4 to 6 are elected for one year. This enables pupils to make a contribution to the school environment and ethos.
So if you’re moving to Milan and looking for a British school for your children please come and visit SJHS. We look forward to meeting you.
Angela B. Dean Head of the Lower School
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