2022–23 | DBIS Early Years Curriculum Handbook

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Early CurriculumYears

• We are responsible and honest in our actions.

• To work in partnership with parents, alumni and the local and wider community in the ongoing development of the school.

• To encourage internationalism, providing students with the skills, dispositions and knowledge to participate in an increasingly interconnected world.

• We are supportive of each other.

• To foster a learning community where every student, teacher, staff member, parent and DBIS alumni has an ongoing passion for learning.

• We respect the needs and rights of each member of our community. We show care, kindness and compassion to others.

2 Our Core Values Our Mission Our Aims

• To use innovative pedagogy and technology to enrich learning.

• To provide a broad and balanced curriculum that reflects the international nature of the DBIS student community.

• To ensure a supportive, happy and secure environment for learning.

• To develop leadership skills and a sense of service to others through a range of extracurricular opportunities locally and internationally.

• We embrace diversity and celebrate individuality.

• To promote a culture of excellence in teaching and learning.

• To encourage the physical and emotional wellbeing of each individual.

• We promote a sense of personal identity and a global mindset.

We provide an outstanding holistic international education to students in an inclusive and nurturing learning environment. We seek to inspire and empower students to succeed in fulfilling their individual potential as global citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Our Early Years Philosophy Teaching & Learning in the Early Years Contents Welcome to DBIS Early Years The DBIS Learner Profile Assessment for Learning 060213190826390410The Early Years Curriculum at DBIS The Nursery & Reception Curriculum The Early Years 1 & 2 Curriculum The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile End-of-EY1 End-of-EY2ExpectationsExpectations 322735 Sharing Your Child’s Learning

Our Nursery and Reception children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS), and our children in EY1 and EY2 follow the Key Stage 1 National Curriculum of England. Our curricula are adapted and personalised to suit our international context and are delivered through a play-based pedagogy that is progressive in nature as children move through the phase.


Discovery Bay International School’s Early Years phase consists of Nursery and Reception at the Early Years campus as well as Early Years 1 (EY1) and Early Years 2 (EY2) at the Main campus.

Welcome to DBIS Early Years

The non-statutory ‘Birth to 5 Matters’ guidance and the ‘Every child matters’ document are used to support the delivery of our curriculum in Nursery and Reception.

Our Early Years phase places the children at the centre of all that we do, and our approach to teaching and learning is inspired by the principles of Reggio Emilia, where respect, responsibility and community lie at the heart of our practice. We view children as having extraordinary potential for learning and the ability to form their own understandings of the world around them. Our focus is upon nurturing creative, resilient and independent learners who are excited and confident to experiment and explore through play and active learning. The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the DBIS Learner Profile provide the foundations to support children in becoming lifelong learners and critical thinkers. Supporting the development of different learning dispositions, behaviours and habits is an important part of our approach to teaching and learning within the Early Years.

Hannah Tait Head of Early Years

After reading this booklet, you will gain a sense of how our warm and caring environment, as well as the provision of opportunities for stimulating, play-based learning, inspire our children to become curious, independent learners who demonstrate awe and wonder of the world around them.

Teachers and educational assistants are seen as partners and co-adventurers in the children’s learning journey, ensuring learning is continually placed in a meaningful context by engaging with the children’s interests and ideas. Our children experience authentic learning opportunities such as woodwork, Forest School and Beach School.

We place great importance on positive relationships and interactions amongst all members of our Early Years community as these support our holistic and inclusive approach. We derive much of our strength from the surrounding community; therefore, establishing and maintaining supportive relationships is key to our Early Years ethos.


We pride ourselves on our child-led, Reggio Emilia-inspired learning environments, which support opportunities for open-ended inquiry.

By working together, we can ensure that all children in our Early Years phase continue to value and enjoy their time here, that they are sufficiently challenged and supported in their learning and that they realise their potential in a happy, nurturing environment.

We offer a curriculum and experience which begins in Nursery and finishes in EY2, at which point the children are fully prepared to transition to the Primary phase of the school. Our children are supported to take risks, think critically and develop understandings by exploring through play. This experience is underpinned by our child-centred, personalised learning approach, which supports the development of the whole child and recognises the magic of childhood.

The learning environments throughout our school are thoughtfully planned to ensure they are inviting places for the children to learn. The Reggio Emilia philosophy believes that the environment in which your child explores is the third teacher; therefore, time is invested to carefully plan these environments to allow powerful learning to take place all the time. Materials in the classroom inspire the children to think critically, and they support our children’s independent expression of thought.


DBIS Early Years has adopted the overarching principles taken from the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. The Reggio Emilia approach derives its name from its place of origin, Reggio Emilia, a city located in northern Italy. Shortly after the Second World War, the parents of this region collaborated with Loris Malaguzzi, a lifelong educator, innovator and creative philosopher, to find a unique system of early childhood education. The Reggio Emilia approach is based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy believes in the rights and opinions of each child. A child is a competent, capable and natural learner who has the desire for knowledge and life and is always ready for challenges.

The Role of the Teacher & Other Adults


Our Early Years Philosophy REGGIO

The teacher and supporting adults play a critical role by being the child’s partner and by co-constructing learning possibilities. In order to further the learning process, the teachers listen, observe, inquire, document, work together and reflect upon the experiences of the children. The Environment as the Third Teacher

There is an expression from the Reggio Emilia approach that ‘a child has a hundred languages’. This expression symbolically describes all the languages of learning. These can be displayed through innovation, nature, construction, fantasy, art, music, dance, building, writing, talking, signing, science, body and soul. The languages of learning are used to help children develop knowledge, make connections and understand the world around them. Image of the Children

In the Early Years, our environments are carefully planned to ensure the children are able to develop these characteristics.


Active Learning – Children concentrate and keep trying even if they encounter difficulties, and they enjoy achieving what they set out to do.

Creating & Thinking Critically – Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

From the day they are born, children are powerful learners. They can develop strong behaviours, habits and dispositions that will support them throughout their learning journey and help them to self-regulate both cognitively and emotionally. It is our job as adults to foster these attributes and characteristics in each child as they grow and control their processes of thinking and learning.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING Documentation Each moment of your child’s day is filled with meaningful experiences and thoughtful interactions. In order to understand the children and the way they learn, our teachers work diligently to document all aspects of the learning process. Whether it be online learning journals, child-specific observations or the children’s artwork, all moments are considered parts of the process and are made visible in the classroom for revisiting and reflection. Teachers and children alike are able to view the children’s thinking and learning processes through documentation. Our child-directed, Reggio Emilia-inspired environments and approach to teaching and learning come together to promote personalised learning experiences for our children in DBIS Early Years.

The three characteristics of effective learning are: Playing & Exploring – Children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’.


The DBIS Learner Profile further supports the children to grow as learners and global citizens. In the Early Years, our Learner Profile characters support the children in becoming familiar with each attribute and with how the attributes support their growth as a learner. Our children are positively recognised as they develop competence and capability in the different attributes. Learner Profile



I am curious and motivated to learn. I am committed, adaptable and resilient, and I learn from my mistakes.

EFFECTIVE COLLABORATOR I can work independently. I can work collaboratively with others to achieve an end goal.

I am reflective and thoughtful and consider how my actions impact myself and others. I believe that more effort or a different approach will pay off.

CREATIVE THINKER I am inquisitive and imaginative. I make connections to further my understanding, which helps me to create new ideas.


PROBLEM SOLVER I enjoy finding out new things. I am a risk-taker and learn by trial and error. I set myself goals, and I plan to find solutions.

CONFIDENT COMMUNICATOR I organise and share my ideas clearly and confidently, and I show active listening to others. Logos designed by our Early Years children



I am aware of my responsibilities, and I courageously make good choices to help other people, my community and the environment.


I am empowered to lead others. I respectfully communicate with others and demonstrate flexibility. I value honesty, kindness and equality.

Teaching Learning in the Early Years


The Role of Outdoor Provision


Play-Based Learning Play is a powerful vehicle into enabling children to learn. Children learn most effectively when they feel safe, are engaged and are having fun. Children’s learning becomes really meaningful when they are free to inquire and learn at their own pace and in their own way. It is for this reason that learning at DBIS Early Years is facilitated through the children’s play as well as through quality play-based experiences, inspired by the children’s interests, that truly challenge them.

Our Early Years curriculum is enhanced by our Discovery units. Through these units, our children learn the subject knowledge, skills and understanding they need to become aware of the world around them. Our units focus on ways of thinking, communicating, conceiving and realising ideas and information. Our Early Years teachers act as facilitators and assist the children to develop the capacity to design and evaluate processes to ensure creativity and innovation. Different concepts underpin the planning, and the concepts represent big, abstract ideas. Our Discovery units also enable our children to develop the personal skills they need in order to take an active part in their world throughout their lives. They help our children develop an international mindset alongside their awareness of their own self, encouraging them to become lifelong learners.

For young children’s wellbeing and development, the outdoor environment is as valued and important as the indoor environment. We ensure that our children have access to high-quality outdoor environments on both of our campuses. These environments are carefully planned to ensure their purposeful use. The climate here in Hong Kong provides a wonderfully rich and dynamic environment for exploration, play and discussion.

Discovery Units

• Be active and interactive, developing sensory integration, movement, coordination, control and manipulation;





• Develop a positive sense of themselves and others;

• Explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about mathematical ideas in a broad range of contexts;

Woodwork Woodwork is part of our child-initiated provision. Having trained how to use the tools and equipment safely, our children are able to explore the woodwork area. They are encouraged to engage in the design process and to implement their ideas using wood alongside a range of loose parts and other recyclable materials.

Our experiential learning opportunities help our children to:

Forest School & Beach School

• Develop the confidence to use their communication, language and literacy skills for a range of situations and purposes;

DBIS was the first school in Hong Kong to adopt the principles of the Forest and Beach School programmes. These sessions take place every week, giving our children a unique opportunity to investigate the natural world, to collaborate, to construct, to build and to begin to develop an awareness of sustainability and of our ecologically diverse world. Both programmes enhance authentic learning opportunities for our children and are important parts of our Early Years curriculum.

• Work at making sense of their world, encountering and exploring creatures, people, plants, tools and materials in natural and real-life situations;

• Nurture their creative curiosity, exploration and play, using a full range of experiences to explore and share creative thoughts, ideas and feelings.

DBIS follows Professor Françoys Gagné’s definition of challenge: as the possession of natural abilities or aptitudes at levels significantly beyond what might be expected for one’s age, in any domain of human ability. All staff are responsible for differentiating the curriculum for children identified on our challenge register and will monitor their progress. Teachers review and monitor the progress made by children and the efficacy of resources and other curriculum material. At DBIS Early Years, we support your child by making sure the learning opportunities are suited to their unique needs yet are flexible enough to be able to follow their interests.

Our approach to teaching and learning in the Early Years is informed by the best available research and evidence on child development between the ages of three and seven. The learning experience reflects the broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding children need as foundations for a successful future. We guide the development of the children’s capabilities with a view to ensuring they complete the Early Years ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead of them in the Primary phase and beyond.

Our Early Years curriculum is complemented by our specialist teaching in Music, Mandarin, Physical Education (PE) and Learning Technologies. In addition, our children visit the library on a weekly basis. Our Forest and Beach School programmes, and our woodwork opportunities, help to provide authentic learning experiences for our children, enabling them to rehearse and practice skills and enrich their learning. Our experiential learning opportunities support the development of the whole child and help cultivate attributes for lifelong learning.


The Early Years Curriculum at DBIS

In the Early Years phase of the school, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS) and the Key Stage 1 National Curriculum for England, which are tailored to meet the needs of our unique international community. We believe play is a powerful vehicle for children’s learning and that it promotes the highest standards of learning and development for children between the ages of three and seven.

Children learn to be strong and independent learners through positive relationships. Enabling Environments with Teaching & Support from Adults

Children learn and develop successfully in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. At DBIS, we value how positive relationships with all stakeholders in the community make a difference to our children’s learning and development.

Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. Our framework covers the education and care of all children, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. In planning and guiding children’s experiences, we reflect on the different ways that children learn, and we mirror these in our practice.



Four guiding principles shape our practice here at DBIS Early Years and are documented in the EYFS 2021 Statutory Framework. A Unique Child Every child is unique, constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

Positive Relationships

Learning & Development


• The seven areas of learning and development;

• Specialist teaching and learning in Learning Technologies, Music, PE, and Mandarin;


The DBIS Nursery and Reception learning experience is based on the EYFS 2021 and is supported by the non-statutory guidance of ‘Birth to 5 Matters’. It includes:

• A strong focus on self-regulation and executive function to build strong foundations for learning and development as the children move into Key Stage 1;

The Nursery & Reception

• The Early Learning Goals (ELGs), which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the Reception year. Curriculum (Early Years Foundation Stage)

• A strong focus on language development through quality interactions and a language-rich environment;

• High-quality, age-appropriate observation and assessment opportunities that inform future planning;

Communication & Language

• Communication & Language

• Physical Development


• Personal, Social & Emotional Development

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

Young children depend on interactions with responsive others to become confident communicators and language users. Communication and language are the foundations for learning and development, supporting independent thinking and emerging literacy skills. A language-rich environment is crucial for supporting children as they explore sounds, symbols and words in their everyday world. Through ongoing, varied and positive experiences, we give our children opportunities to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations. We recognise that for many of our children, English is a second or third language and that their first language provides the roots to learning additional languages. With this in mind, we encourage parents to continue to use their home language as it strengthens their child’s language proficiency when they engage with new environments.

Who we are, our relationships with others and how we feel are the foundations for our lives. Developing a positive sense of self is key to children’s wellbeing and resilience, which we know has a significant impact on their learning and achievement. Children’s self-confidence and their potential to think and learn is influenced by their sense of self, their emotional understanding and the quality of their relationships. Personal, social and emotional development is therefore crucial to children in the Early Years as it is fundamental to all other aspects of lifelong learning.


There are seven areas of learning and development that shape our educational programme in Nursery and Reception. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the Prime Areas, are:

• Expressive

• Literacy • Mathematics • Understanding

Literacy In Nursery and Reception, Literacy focuses on understanding and being understood. This is achieved by developing in the children the skills to interpret, create and communicate meaning through writing and reading in different media. Our children have access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest and to encourage a love of reading. In Nursery and Reception, the children link letters and sounds and begin to read and write. Our reading, writing and spelling programme, Read Write Inc. (RWI), is a multifaceted approach to developing early literacy skills. Physical Development Children’s learning and development is underpinned by physical development. Engagement with extensive physical experiences supports the development of neurological, sensory and fine motor skills that are essential for positive body image. Physical development includes health, wellbeing and self-care. We help our children to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food. Twice a week, under the guidance of a specialist teacher, our children participate in physical activities whilst practising the rules of safety, cooperation and gross motor skills development. Throughout the day, our children are engaged in activities that promote the development of fine and gross motor skills, which must develop together so that children can achieve what they set out to do.

We also support our children in four Specific Areas, which are strengthened and influenced by the Prime Areas. The Specific Areas are: the World Arts & Design


We enable our children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials; we also provide opportunities and encouragement for the children to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of experiences in art, music, drama and imaginative play. Our ateliers play an important role in facilitating opportunities for exploration and creativity. The children visit the ateliers to learn new skills as well as to experiment with different forms of media and materials. ‘Expressive Arts & Design’ fosters imagination, curiosity, creativity, cognition and critical thinking. Through engagement with the arts, our children are able to improvise, collaborate, interact and engage in shared, sustained thinking.

Understanding the World Through our Discovery units and concept-based planning, we guide our children to explore and make sense of their expanding world and their community. Children in Nursery and Reception learn through regular and direct contact with the natural, man-made and virtual environments by collaborating with others, inquiring, problemsolving and shared, sustained thinking. Our active involvement with the local community supports the children in developing responsibility and respect for diversity. Our experiential learning opportunities, including Forest and Beach School and woodwork (Carpenters’ Cabin), provide the children with first-hand involvement with the natural world, developing a sense of ecological balance, environmental care and sustainability. ‘Understanding the World’ supports learning about our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse environment and how to stay safe within it.


Early mathematical understanding is acquired through repeated experiences using hands-on materials in enjoyable, meaningful contexts. In Nursery and Reception, we support the children in developing their own understanding of number, quantity, shape and space. We nurture the children’s natural interests through playful exploration and high-quality interactions, and we provide them with plenty of opportunities to revisit, develop and make sense of mathematical concepts for themselves in order to build a strong mathematical foundation.

Expressive Arts & Design



RWI is a synthetic phonics programme that ensures reading, writing and spelling success. At the core of RWI is the rigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words over a short period of time, alongside letter formation and spelling. Importantly, they then read books with words they can sound-blend so that they achieve early success in reading. The more sounds they learn, the greater the range of texts they can read.

RWI starts at different points in the year, depending on the year group and child’s stage of development.

It is important to ensure that children are ready to begin the phonics programme before they commence it so that they approach it with a positive outlook on reading and writing.

One of the basic skills for writing is learning letter formation. It is very important that a child holds the pencil in the correct way. We encourage our children to hold a pencil in the ‘tripod’ grip, between the thumb and first two fingers, when they are ready and able to. Before children can begin to form letters, they need to build the correct muscles; therefore, plenty of opportunities for pre-writing skills are offered within the school environments. Letter and number formation develop when your child is ready. READ WRITE INC. IN NURSERY & RECEPTION HANDWRITING

• A focus on developing core skills in order to achieve success in all areas of the curriculum;

The learning experience in Key Stage 1 includes:

• Specialist teaching and learning in Learning Technologies, Music, Physical Education and Mandarin;

The DBIS EY1 and 2 learning experience is based on the Key Stage 1 National Curriculum of England. Whilst the most obvious change is a shift to more subject-specific learning, at DBIS Early Years we maintain our approach of learning through play and exploration in developmentally appropriate ways. Furthermore, wherever possible, we create opportunities for the children to be engaged with learning in multiple subjects at the same time so that connections can be made between the subjects.

The Early Years

• High-quality, age-appropriate observation and assessment opportunities that inform future planning;


1 & 2

Curriculum (Key Stage 1)

• The compulsory subjects of the English National Curriculum; these are categorised as core and foundation subjects;

Children experience learning in a number of different ways, many of which are familiar from their time in Nursery and Reception. The environment continues to be valued as the third teacher and, as such, is carefully planned to ensure the children are able to practise, rehearse and acquire new skills, supporting their development as learners and guiding them as they make progress through the curriculum. Our approach ensures that the children engage with a number of subject areas through their play. This is complemented by high-quality adult interactions to help the children apply their learning to real-life contexts and to make connections.

• A strong focus on wellbeing and developing the attributes of the DBIS Learner Profile in order to support the children as they continue to grow and develop as a learner.

20 In Key Stage 1, children will develop confidence in different subject areas through adult-led interactions and child-initiated learning. The children may focus specifically on one subject area or develop confidence and capabilities in a range of areas at the same time when engaged with their learning environment. The different curriculum subjects complement each other; therefore, the children make and create links to learning throughout each day. Furthermore, our Discovery units are specifically planned to ensure critical content in all subject areas is covered through a concept-based approach which allows the children to form deeper understandings. There are three core subjects. These are: • English • Mathematics • Science THE CORE SUBJECTS

As the children move into Key Stage 1, we continue to support mathematical fluency throughout their engagement with the learning environment. As part of this, we ensure the children are given opportunities to apply their mathematical understanding in reallife contexts, which helps them develop a love of the subject. We continue to support the children in developing a firm understanding of numbers, building upon the knowledge and understanding acquired in Nursery and Reception. The children are encouraged to apply their mathematical understanding to problem-solving and to describe the reasoning behind the steps they take. The children begin to understand the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data, and this is applied in different contexts, including through their play.

In Key Stage 1, we ensure that children are fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, are able to reason mathematically, can solve problems and are ready to build upon these skills and develop confidence in tackling concepts and strategies in the Primary phase.

Science In Key Stage 1, a great deal of attention is placed on enabling children to experience and observe phenomena, closely examining the natural and man-made world around them and building upon the experiences they have gained in Nursery and Reception. Our environments are carefully planned to promote curiosity, encourage children to ask questions and develop their understanding of scientific ideas through inquiry. We support the children with developing their own investigations to find answers to their questions and to test hypotheses by providing opportunities for first-hand, practical experiences. Our Discovery units are planned to ensure the children develop skills and obtain a firm understanding of critical scientific knowledge related to living things and everyday materials. The children’s experiences in Key Stage 1 prepare them for broadening their scientific view of the world around them in Key Stage 2 (DBIS Primary).


English Key Stage 1 focuses on developing children’s capability and confidence in spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary. We continue to focus on supporting a love of reading by offering a rich variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, which ensures the development of fluency. We focus on helping the children learn that writing has purpose and on supporting them as they practise the skills they have acquired and apply them to different genres, including narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations. Our environments continue to be places that are rich in language where children can rehearse new vocabulary through their play and be supported in developing confidence in explaining, hypothesising, speculating and describing.


22 There are seven foundation subjects; these are: • Art & Design • Design & Technology • Geography • History • Physical Education • Music • Learning Technologies THE FOUNDATION SUBJECTS

Design & Technology

In Key Stage 1, we build upon the children’s experiences in Nursery and Reception, inspiring curiosity and fascination in the world around them. Through carefully planned environments and Discovery units, the children begin to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes as well as the formation and use of landscapes and environments. The value we place on our surrounding environment supports the children to engage with their community and develop as responsible, global citizens. By developing conceptual understandings, the children are encouraged to question, think critically, evaluate and develop perspective and judgement. Keeping our international context and community at the heart of our learning, the children are supported in understanding the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies and relationships. We value the individual histories our young learners bring to our setting and provide regular opportunities for these to be celebrated through the children’s play and within the environment.

Art & Design

We support our children in continuing to develop an appreciation of art as one of the many languages of learning. Our ateliers support the children in developing new skills with which they can experiment, invent and create. Our children are encouraged to think critically about their designs and to develop an appreciation for how art and design shape and reflect our history and contribute to different cultures.

Our environments provide children with the opportunity to see themselves as designers and to engage with the design process to create a product which can be evaluated and critically analysed. Children’s creativity and imagination is supported with opportunities to engage with problem-solving and to design products that solve these problems by drawing upon mathematical, scientific, engineering, artistic and computing disciplines. Our woodwork sessions allow the children to take risks and innovate in order to produce creative and enterprising designs. Humanities (History & Geography)


Our children continue to participate and progress through the RWI programme in Key Stage 1, when they begin to focus even more on spelling and writing in order to apply these skills to their own pieces. We aim for all children to have completed the RWI programme by the end of EY2. We liaise closely with teachers in the Primary phase to ensure support is given to those who require further or additional support with phonics when they enter Year 3.


Our children are supported in developing the skills they have learned in Nursery and Reception and continue to have access to opportunities that develop fine motor control. In EY1, we focus carefully on perfecting the tripod grip for handwriting, provided the children are developmentally and physically able. By the end of EY2, we expect children to be able to join their letters to ensure fluency and stamina when writing, in preparation for Primary. READ WRITE INC. IN EY1 & 2


The following foundation subject areas are taught by specialist teachers: • Physical Education • Music • Learning Technologies

In addition, all children in Key Stage 1 continue to learn Mandarin. This takes the form of three longer lessons per week, up from two shorter sessions in Nursery and Reception.


Assessment for Learning

At the end of Key Stage 1, children complete a set of external assessments to gauge their attainment in English and Mathematics. These assessments inform the judgements our teachers make, and they support baseline assessments which lay the foundation for learning in the Primary phase. We always place great importance and value on our teachers’ assessments of the children; they are the people who know your children’s capabilities the best, and summative assessments are simply used to inform their judgements.

The observation, assessment and planning cycle is an integral part of our practice in the Early Years and underpins the decisions practitioners make with regard to the environment for learning, direct teaching opportunities, and interventions. We believe that assessment of children’s learning and development is best achieved through careful observations of the children in order to understand how a child is developing, learning and growing. Teachers carefully observe each child at play as it helps us to understand and support their individual wellbeing and development. We really get to know our children as unique people with special skills, interests and ideas. Our observations help to inform our planning and the next steps for supporting the children within the setting; the more we understand about your child, the better we can support them.

The Early FoundationYearsStage Profile

At the end of each child’s time in Reception, a summary of their development and achievement in response to the ELGs as defined in the EYFS is produced in the format of an EYFS Profile. This supports the children’s transition into Key Stage 1 at the Main campus.

Listening & Attention ELG Children at the expected level of development will:


• Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding;

• Participate in small-group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary;

• Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction text, rhymes and poems, when appropriate;


• Hold conversations when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.

In the EYFS Profile, your child will be given an attainment level for each of the 17 aspects of learning. Each child will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ against each ELG. The EYFS Profile is separated into seven areas of learning and development, which are broken down further into the 17 specific aspects of learning:

Speaking ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole-class discussions and small-group interactions;

• Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including the use of past, present and future tenses, and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.

• Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly;


• Form positive attachments to adults and form positive friendships with peers;

Self-Regulation ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

• Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly;

• Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.

• Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate;

Managing Self ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others;

Fine Motor Skills ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery;

Building Relationships ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.

• Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing;


• Show sensitivity to their own and others’ needs.

• Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases;

Gross Motor Skills ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Be confident to try new activities, and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge;

• Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.

• Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others;

ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Have a deep understanding of numbers to 10, including the composition of each number;

Numerical Patterns ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.


• Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.

• Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.

• Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;

Number ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system;

• Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5;

• Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;

• Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;

• Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;


Word Reading ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction text, rhymes and poems, and during role play.

• Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including even and odd numbers, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.


• Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;

• Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity;

Writing ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;

People Culture & Communities ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Talk about the lives of the people around them and the roles those people have in society;

The Natural World ELG Children at the expected level of development will:


• Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants;

• Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and from storytelling.

30 Past & Present ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.

• Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their own experiences and what has been read in class;

• Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.

• Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps;

• Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their own experiences and what has been read in class;

• Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their own experiences and what has been read in class;

Creating with Materials ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Share their creations, explaining the process they have used;


• Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function;

Being Imaginative & Expressive ELG Children at the expected level of development will:

• Invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher;

• Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs;


• Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.

• Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and – when appropriate –try to move in time with music. & DESIGN


• Reading accurately by blending the sounds in words that contain the common graphemes for all 40+ phonemes

• In a familiar book that is read to them, answering questions in discussion with the teacher and making simple inferences


• Reading many common exception words (we refer to these as ‘Red Words’)

• Reading accurately some words of two or more syllables that contain the same grapheme phoneme correspondences

By the end of EY1, we work towards children showing confidence in the following aspects of the spoken language:

• Sounding out many unfamiliar words accurately (we refer to this as using ‘Fred Sounds’)

• Having developed vocabulary which can be rehearsed and applied through play and everyday interactions


The end-of-EY1 expectations are outlined below.

• Listening and responding to adults and other children by engaging in turn-taking within a conversation

• Using repeated phrases from familiar stories in their imaginative play


• Beginning to retell familiar stories

• Asking relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge

At DBIS, we aim to ensure that children meet certain standards of attainment by the end of EY1; these are detailed below for each core area of the curriculum. Having said this, we also know that children learn and develop at different rates; therefore, if some children have not met end-of-year expectations in certain areas of the curriculum, support, interventions and next steps will reflect each individual child’s stage of development when they transition to EY2.

By the end of EY1, we work towards children beginning to show confidence in the following aspects of reading:

• Reading aloud a range of familiar words quickly and accurately without overt sounding and blending (we refer to this as ‘Fred Talk’)

• Re-reading books to build fluency and confidence

• Forming lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place

• Understanding that writing is a form of communication and beginning to apply this purposefully within their play

• Partitioning a two-digit number into tens and ones to demonstrate an understanding of place value, with the support of resources

• Forming lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another in some of their writing

• Counting in twos, fives and tens from 0

• Knowing the value of different Hong Kong coins


• Demarcating some sentences with capital letters and full stops


• Applying knowledge of the sounds learnt in RWI to spell some words correctly and making phonetically plausible attempts at others

• Naming some common 2D and 3D shapes and describing some of their properties

By the end of EY1, children should have a fluent understanding of whole numbers and counting as well as a developing knowledge of addition and subtraction using concrete objects and pictorial representations. They should be starting to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity and volume, and they should recognise simple fractions. Children will be beginning to tell the time and should read and spell mathematical vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word-reading and spelling knowledge. Teachers will observe the children applying their understanding through play and exploration. In addition, children will be beginning to show confidence in the following:

• Recalling at least four of the six two-number bonds for 10 and reasoning about associated facts (e.g. 6 + 4 = 10; therefore, 4 + 6 = 10 and 10 – 6 = 4)

• Spelling common exception words relevant to children in EY1 (we refer to these as ‘Red Words’)

• Reading and writing numbers in numerals up to 100

• Writing sentences that are sequenced to form a short narrative (real or fictional)

• Using spacing between words

33 By the end of EY1, we work towards children beginning to show confidence in the following aspects of writing, either with the support of an adult or independently:


Native Speakers

By the end of EY1, children should be beginning to develop confidence in the following and locating parts of the human body, including those related to the senses Describing and comparing the observable features of animals from a range of groups Grouping animals according to what they eat Describing seasonal changes Distinguishing objects from materials, describing their properties and identifying and grouping everyday materials


By the end of EY1, children should be beginning to develop confidence in the following areas, which will be consolidated in EY2: Asking questions about what they notice Using different types of scientific inquiry to gather and record data, using simple equipment Making simple observations Communicating their ideas and making simple hypotheses Scientific Content


Children will understand common classroom instructions, the numbers 1 to 10, and simple questions. They will be able to act out a part in a Chinese play, increasingly without supporting gestures, ask simple questions to elicit basic information and use a range of action verbs in a classroom context. Children will recognise the characters for the numbers 1 to 10 as well as common radicals that appear in a learnt play. They will write these items with increasing independence.

Non-native Speakers

Children will be able to retell learnt stories with the support of some visual aids. They will be able to apply the learnt language in classroom communications and other situations. Children will be able to read and write the key characters and short phrases based on the learnt stories.


• Being able to participate in discussions about what they are reading, taking turns, listening, and considering what others have to say

By the end of EY2, we aim to ensure that children have developed the skills and dispositions to be able to embark upon their next chapter in the Primary phase (Key Stage 2). Throughout their time in the Early Years, our children will have had the opportunity to develop the ability to make decisions, cope with setbacks, think critically, problem-solve and sustain concentration. Furthermore, the children will have developed a positive sense of themselves as a young person and as a learner. This will provide firm foundations from which to embark upon the demands of the Key Stage 2 curriculum and the Primary phase at DBIS. We aim for our children to have reached certain levels of attainment, and we ensure that support and intervention are planned for those who are still working towards the end-of-EY2 (Key Stage 1) expectations. Transition into DBIS Primary is therefore a key feature of the children’s learning experience in EY2.

• Being able to provide well-structured explanations and narratives and express feelings

• Contributing confidently to whole-class discussions

By the end of EY2, we work towards children showing confidence in the following aspects of the spoken language:

• Having developed further vocabulary which can be rehearsed and applied through play and everyday interactions – SPOKEN LANGUAGE



End-of-EY2 (Key Stage 1) Expectations

• Explaining and discussing their understanding, giving opinions and supporting reasons

• Forming capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower-case letters

• Using spacing between words that reflects the size of the lette rs

• Using present and past tense mostly correctly and consistently

• Sound out most unfamiliar words accurately, without undue hesitation (we refer to this as using ‘Fred Sounds’).

• Explain what has happened so far in what they have read.

• Reading most words containing common suffixes

• Reading most common exception words (we refer to these as ‘Red Words’)

• Writing about real events, recording these simply and clearly


• Answer questions and make some inferences;

By the end of EY2, we work towards children showing confidence in the following aspects of writing, either with the support of an adult or independently:

• Applying their knowledge of the sounds learnt in RWI to spell many words correctly and making phonetically plausible attempts at others

• Understanding that writing is a form of communication and applying this purposefully and in a range of contexts within their play


In a book that they can already read fluently, children will be able to:

In age-appropriate books, children will be able to:

By the end of EY2, we work towards children showing confidence in the following aspects of reading:

• Read most words accurately without overt sounding and blending and with sufficient fluency to allow them to focus on their understanding rather than on decoding individual words;

• Check it makes sense to them, correcting any inaccurate reading;

• Writing simple, coherent narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real or fictional)

• Demarcating most sentences in their writing with capital letters and full stops and using question marks correctly when required

• Accurately reading most words of two or more syllables

• Using coordinations (e.g. or/and/but) and some subordinations (e.g. when/if/that/ because) to join clauses

• Spelling many common exception words (we refer to these as ‘Red Words’)

• Reading scales (e.g. number lines) in divisions of ones, twos, fives and tens

• Reading the time on a clock to the nearest 15 minutes

• Naming and describing properties of 2D and 3D shapes, including the number of sides, vertices, edges, faces and lines of symmetry

• Communicating their ideas, what they do and what they find out in a variety of ways


By the end of EY2, children will have consolidated confidence in the following areas in preparation for the DBIS Primary curriculum:

By the end of EY2, children will have secured a firm understanding of place value and will have begun to apply this knowledge to solve mathematical problems. The children will be able to reason mathematically and will have an appreciation of the value and importance of Mathematics in everyday life. Teachers will observe the children applying their understanding through play and exploration. In addition, children will show confidence in the following:

• Using different types of scientific inquiry to gather and record data and using simple equipment, where appropriate, to answer questions

• Asking their own questions about what they notice

• Carrying out simple comparative tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information

• Recalling multiplication and division facts for 2, 5 and 10 and using them to solve simple problems, demonstrating an understanding of commutativity as necessary

• Observing changes over time

• Noticing patterns

• Adding and subtracting any two two-digit numbers using an efficient strategy and explaining their method verbally, in pictures or using physical resources (e.g. 48 + 35, 72 – 17 etc.)

• Recalling all number bonds to 10 and using these to reason with and calculate bonds to 20, recognising other associated additive relationships

• Grouping and classifying things

• Identifying 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 , 2/4, 3/4 of a number or shape and knowing that all parts must be equal parts of the whole

• Partitioning any two-digit number into different combinations of tens and ones and explaining their thinking verbally, in pictures or using physical resources


• Using different Hong Kong coins to make the same amount

By the end of EY2, children should have confidence in the following areas:

• Naming different plants and animals and describing how they are suited to different habitats

• Distinguishing objects from materials, describing their properties, identifying and grouping everyday materials and comparing their suitability for different uses

• Grouping animals according to what they eat, describing how animals get their food from other animals and/or from plants and using simple food chains to describe these relationships

Children will understand common classroom language. They will have a firm understanding of stories that have been introduced in class. Children will be able to perform role plays with gesture aid prompts. Children will be able to express their feelings and requests in the classroom. They will be able to write key Chinese characters and short sentences in the correct form.

• Naming and locating parts of the human body, including those related to the senses, and describing the importance of exercise, a balanced diet and hygiene for humans

Children will be able to retell stories that have been introduced in class. They will also be able to apply the language in classroom communications and in a greater context than before. Children will be able to create their own short stories verbally. They will be able to read and write key sentences based on the learnt stories.

MANDARIN Critical Scientific Content

• Describing the basic needs of animals for survival and the main changes as young animals, including humans, grow into adults

• Identifying whether things are alive, dead or have never lived

38 Native Speakers

Non-native Speakers

• Describing the basic needs of plants for survival, the impact of changing these, and the main changes as seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants

One long report detailing your child’s attainment and achievement in all areas of the curriculum will be issued at the end of Term 3.*

*Should your child leave DBIS Early Years part way through the year, you can request an interim report which shares your child’s learning and development.


Three Parent–Teacher Conferences (PTCs) take place during the year: August, December and March

Sharing Your Child’s Learning




The electronic learning journey may include: Photographs & Videos – These capture moments and sequences of your child’s learning, their interests and their explorations. We will write down exactly what your child says so we can capture the individual voice of your child in their learning. This also provides an accurate record of language development.

We believe that parents are our children’s first teachers. We will therefore continually engage with you regarding your child’s learning journey. In addition, there will be different points in the year at which we will formally meet with you or report on your child’s learning and development.


Throughout your child’s time in the Early Years, we will record their learning in an electronic learning journey (Seesaw) to celebrate their experiences. Over time, it will tell a story about your child and their learning as well as their friends and the activities they enjoyed sharing with others.

– These are quick notes of significant and spontaneous moments we notice in your child’s learning. Your Child’s Creations – These could be photos of the children’s models, their role play, marks they have made, their writing, their artwork etc., with a comment to explain what your child did or said.

The EarlyDBISYears Experience We hope that by reading this curriculum booklet, you have gained a firm understanding of what we intend to achieve for your child in terms of their growth and development throughout their learning journey at DBIS Early Years. Our play-based approach, which is grounded in research about child development between the ages of three and seven, is crucial for the development of confident, capable learners, and it provides children with the opportunity to secure the very best outcomes of achievement and attainment.

Hannah Tait Head of Early Years htait@dbis.edu.hk

We recognise and celebrate the individuality of all our learners at DBIS and look forward to joining your child on their exciting journey as we play, learn and grow together at DBIS Early Years.

Lyndsey Coote Deputy Head of Early Years lcoote@dbis.edu.hk

Ruth Brislen-Patel Assistant Head of Early Years rbrislen-patel@dbis.edu.hk