At the centre of the Educational Syllabus (Piano triennale dell’Offerta formativa) the School offers a primary school curriculum specialising in languages (Italian, English, French).
In this way, the teaching body aims to promote the learning of each pupil in order to gradually acquire the key skills of an active citizen:
1. communicating in the Italian language
2. communicating in foreign languages
3. skills in maths, science and technology
4. digital skills
5. learning how to learn
6. social and civic skills
7. entrepreneurial skills and initiative
8. cultural awareness
Learning in foreign languages (English and French) make up 15 hours of the lessons each week in the primary school forming an important extension to the core subjects of the main curriculum taught in Italian. A strong correlation of the main curriculum subjects taught in Italian can be found within the curriculum of foreign languages.
On one hand, pupils at Saint Denis School are taught the full curriculum as required by the Italian Ministry of Education.
All of these subjects are taught in Italian for the total number of hours as established by the Ministry of Education.
Studying these core curriculum subjects, pupils gain knowledge, ability and skills. Pupils gain a solid all round preparation and study method fundamental for a positive and successful transition to middle school.
On the other hand, at Saint Denis School great importance is given to thepractical study of the English language
The School maintains that it is essential for pupils to have the key skills to become “citizens of the world” without neglecting their own native language and cultural heritage.
To this end, is it fundamental that young pupils, alongside their study of grammar and lexis of the Italian language, also learn to speak and write correctly in a language key to global communication: English.
How pupils study English at Saint Denis School
Learning English and Learning in English (13 hours a week):
- English is taught as a curriculum subject (phonics, grammar, lexis, listening, speaking, reading, writing, heritage and culture);
- learning in English is taught via the CLIL method (Content Language Integrated Learning). This learning strategy has been used at the School for many years whereby lessons of one of the main core Curriculum subjects are held in English. CLIL allows students to learn in the English language as a means of exploring new concepts rather than the study of the language itself. Additional lessons, further to the core teaching program in Italian, are therefore held exclusively in English, for example Maths, Science, Geography or Music in English;
Pupils are encouraged to test the skills and knowledge gained in English through the annual exam sessions held by the University of Cambridge, starting at the Young Learning Starters certificate through to the K.E.T. or P.E.T. certificates.
ICT (Information and Communications Technology) is taught by a qualified specialist teacher in English as a logical means to enrich pupils in their awareness of the ever-expanding variety of instruments available to them both in terms of their study methods and search for knowledge.
Saint Denis School considers innovation in teaching a priority aiming to constantly enrich pupils and give them the skills to tackle their future as students and adults.
Alongside class lessons, smaller work groups are created whereby pupils have lessons with a dedicated teacher and/or two members of the teaching body work alongside with one class group.
Textbooks for the English curriculum are carefully chosen to reflect the objective of global communication, for example, the graded reading system from the United Kingdom National Curriculum are used at Saint Denis School.
French as a third curriculum language
From the preschool class and throughout the primary school, French is taught as a third language. Initially at preschool the language is introduced to then become part of the Curriculum for 2 hours a week during the primary school.
The results are significant considering the Curriculum time dedicated to the study of this language. In fact, at the end of primary school pupils reach they key skills of A1 level (Delf Prim) of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference).
Further to the hours of formal lessons in English and French, these languages form part of the daily life of pupils at school during their time before lessons, in break time, at lunch, in the various afterschool activities and in the optional course.
The School also offers families the opportunity for their children to have swimming lessons during the school day at a nearby swimming pool, accompanied by their class teachers. The lessons are held by qualified swimming instructors with a degree in Sports Science