Our Curriculum

At MSB, we educate the whole child. Our curriculum follows the Montessori approach, building upon its core principles and adapting it for students within an international setting.

This dynamic Montessori-based curriculum ensures a strong base in all of the fundamental skills and concepts, while promoting a keen understanding of self and the environment. Rather than learning by rote, learning at MSB is largely activity based, with children engaging with hands-on materials and independent projects. Here, children are encouraged to ask questions and think, explore and investigate on their own, thus building the necessary framework for academic success.


Our goal is to equip children with a strong academic foundation in all subjects and to guide them towards becoming confident, self-directed and life-long learners, full of curiosity and creativity.

 

Character Education

At MSB, character education is just as important as academics. Our curriculum includes a strong social element, teaching students the appropriate behaviours and skills for everyday living. Children learn conflict resolution and how to apply virtues such as courtesy and tolerance to classroom activities and behaviours. They learn to collaborate with others, respect differences and acknowledge each person’s unique contribution to the community. Developing the appropriate language and social skills from an early age enables our students to engage positively in the classroom and beyond.

An Individualised Approach

Every child is unique and learns differently. Steady observation and careful evaluation throughout the school year allow our teachers to cater to individual skill sets and present each child with the learning materials that best match his or her abilities and needs. This tailored approach ensures that children are able progress through the curriculum at a pace that is appropriate to them, while continuing to meet national and international standards. By the same token, there is never any risk of a child being left behind or bored. Our low student-teacher ratios means that extra in-class support is always readily available and children may advance to the next topic or level as soon as they are ready.

  • Preschool Curriculum
    • Preschool Curriculum

      Preschool at MSB encompasses both Nursery and Kindergarten. The focus of the curriculum during these formative years is to establish and expand each child’s knowledge base and skill set, paving the way for future learning.

      The Preschool curriculum is comprised of five Montessori areas: Practical Life, Sensorial (includes geometry), Language, Maths and Culture. Throughout the year, our teachers continuously observe and record the children’s progress in each area, carefully documenting their individual levels of understanding to better guide their learning.

      In Nursery, children are immersed in a bilingual environment that alternates freely between English and Chinese. Here, children may master key vocabulary in both languages in preparation for entry into the Dual Language or English Only programmes.

  • Reception Curriculum
    • Reception Curriculum

      Reception is a pivotal year for our children as it marks their transition from Kindergarten to Elementary. At this time, children review and build upon what they learned in Preschool and grow more proficient in mathematical operations and concepts in numeracy. They also expand upon their knowledge of physical geography, learning about the continents, oceans, land forms and biomes of the world.

      The Reception year is also the period when children take the steps towards greater physical independence and begin their journey towards intellectual independence. They may begin keeping a journal in which they can share their thoughts or experiences. Thus, by the time they complete Reception, our children are prepared to enter Grade 1.

      Global Hanyu Programme
      Students in Reception who possess a high level of Chinese (as per teacher assessment) have the option of enroling in our year-long Global Hanyu Programme. This programme uses standard Chinese teaching methods to help children master up to 1,000 characters by the end of the school year.

  • Elementary Curriculum
    • Elementary Curriculum

      MSB Elementary students follow a carefully constructed, rigorous academic curriculum that guides them through all of the fundamental and abstract concepts in each field of study. In addition to their regular lessons in science, history and geography, children engage in a
      comprehensive language curriculum that includes vocabulary, spelling, word study (parts of speech, compound words, homonyms, etc.) and literature. Opportunities to write, read aloud and present their work abound.

      In maths, children begin by mastering the four basic functions — addition, subtraction, multiplication and division — and the concepts of place value and quantity-symbol association. From there, they transition into the more abstract fields of problem solving, fractions, long division and binomial equations. The hands-on Montessori approach is particularly impressive here where the use of manipulative maths learning materials allows children to discover for themselves the patterns and rules in a given mathematical process.

      To encourage good time management and a strong work ethic, MSB Elementary students learn to keep a record of their work via an agenda. At the start of each week, our teachers will assign each child a list of lessons and exercises to complete before the week’s end. This helps children develop the habit of meeting deadlines and managing their time wisely.

      Intensive Chinese

      Every Elementary child receives a 50-minute Intensive Chinese lesson each day. Children are assessed at the start of each school year in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening and then grouped according to degree of Chinese fluency. Advanced students are taught from the Chinese National Curriculum; beginner to intermediate students are taught from the MSB Chinese curriculum. All lessons are led by native Chinese speakers. The language of instruction and communication is entirely in Chinese, as well as all of the learning materials.

      Guided Reading Programme

      The MSB Guided Reading Programme aims to promote English literacy and fluency through weekly lessons with our English Department. As with Intensive Chinese, students are assessed at the beginning of each school year and then grouped according to grade and ability.
      Guided Reading lessons are an opportunity for students to read aloud and engage in purposeful discussion with their peers. For children in Grades 1 and 2, these sessions are extremely helpful in improving phonemic awareness, sight reading and the ability to analyse and
      critique text.

      As the children move up through Elementary, the Guided Reading lessons become more complex. In Grade 3, the introduction of a guided writing element encourages children to explore different writing strategies and genres, in addition to the standard reading and discussion. In Grades 4, 5 and 6, Guided Reading transitions into Novel Studies. Here, the focus is on text analysis and critique, with students being asked to reflect on what they have read, recount the story and give an opinion.

  • Specialty Subjects
    • Science

      Science at MSB covers all of the main branches: biology (botany and zoology), chemistry and physics. In Preschool and Reception, science falls under the Culture curriculum and topics are introduced informally through the children’s culture lessons. In Nursery, science concepts are introduced seamlessly during Circle Time discussions and activities. For example, the life cycle of the butterfly may be introduced in conjunction with spring. In Kindergarten and Reception, in-class experiments are used to help illustrate abstract concepts
      such as gravity, magnetism and momentum. These experiments may be carried out at the classroom level, i.e., by the teacher in front of the whole class, but more often by the students themselves using the materials provided in the Culture area of the classroom.

      Science in Elementary is taught formally with children attending science class once a week in our dedicated laboratory. The curriculum begins as an overview of life sciences in Grade 1, and eventually revolves around physical science in Grade 6. At this point, the focus also turns to ecology and conservation, with the assistance of our onsite wormeries and aquaponics system. Our Science Fair is a rite of passage for our students with children completing one new project every other year in Grades 1, 3 and 5 (during Grades 2, 4 and 6, children participate in our Elementary Exhibition Night). These projects are completed by the children at school under the guidance of our teachers.

      Art

      Creativity and self-expression through art is embraced and encouraged at MSB. During art class, children learn fundamental art vocabulary and explore a variety of artistic movements, techniques, mediums and styles to create their own masterpieces. Our campus is a rotating
      exhibit of their work, ranging from wall-sized murals to small clay sculptures, all inspired by famous artists of the past and present.

      In June, MSB hosts its annual Art Show, a highly anticipated affair for which students select a single artwork to represent their artistic achievements over the course of the academic year. In addition, each class collaborates on a special piece of art to be auctioned off at the event for charity.

      MSB has been a proud host to many artists and illustrators, including renowned Japanese block printer Ralph Kiggel and Spanish artist El Tono. The latter’s three-day workshop with our Elementary children resulted in the colourful contemporary mural on the second floor of our Elementary building.

      Music

      MSB offers a complete music curriculum that both teaches and inspires. In Preschool, children explore rhythmn and sound through introductions to various instruments, music and dance styles from around the world. In Reception and Elementary, children learn to read and write sheet music, master active listening and learn to play the recorder (Grades 1 and 2) and the ukelele (Grades 3 and up). Children are also introduced to works by Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Beethoven, to name a few, and engage in classical music appreciation during their lunchtime.

      MSB is home to three student bands, one each for Grades 4, 5 and 6. Band members may take up instruments of their own choosing and rehearse under the guidance of our Elementary Music Director Charles Dujat. In addition to performing incredible covers of hits like “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, the students also have the opportunity to compose their own music.
      Performances are held throughout the school year, during school assemblies and events like the Spring Picnic and Let’s Show talent competition.

      Every December, MSB hosts a Reception Recital, Lower Elementary Holiday Celebration and Upper Elementary Winter Show. Each performance features a combination of music and choreography, accompanied by stunning backdrops and costumes. Our 2015 Winter Show was one of our finest yet, taking the audience on an adventurous overnight stay at the MSB museum. Our students were excited to transform into dinosaurs, toys, Roman soldiers and more!

      PE

      The PE programme at MSB is extremely diverse, going beyond the usual drills to also promote fitness, leadership, teamwork, and the development of hand-eye coordination, balance and agility. Children engage in a variety of athletic activities, ranging from football and swimming to obstacle course running.

      MSB organises a number of sporting events throughout the school year. In addition to our Reception and Elementary cross country races, we host a schoolwide Sports Day every May. We also sponsor regular off-campus field trips for our Elementary children giving them the opportunity to sail, kayak, snowboard, ski, rock climb and hike.