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Curriculum in the
Primary Department


The primary department curriculum of the International school Haarlem is based on internationally recognised teaching and learning programmes. The curriculum is designed to engage and challenge students whilst promoting a love of learning.

Early Years 

In the Early Years (ages 4 to 5), children are taught through active, play based learning. Children explore opportunities to develop strong foundations for their learning journey by working within the guidance of the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.
It is comprised of the following prime and specific areas of learning

  • Personal, social and emotional development

  • Communication and language development

  • Physical development

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding of the world

  • Expressive arts and design

By the end of the Early Years, most children will have acquired early reading and number skills and explored Dutch as an additional language or mother tongue.


Primary Years
In the Primary Years (ages 5-11), learning guidance is taken from the British National Curriculum and The International Primary Curriculum (IPC).


At the ISH we use the British National Curriculum to teach English and Mathematics. This is a structured academic curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of all students. The core of the curriculum consists of a wide range of differentiated teaching and learning activities that excite, challenge and support children, whatever their interests or ability.


We use the IPC framework to provide a thematic, multi-disciplinary approach to learning history, geography, science, ICT and computing, design, technology and innovation, art, health and wellbeing, music and physical education. The IPC is a creative, motivating curriculum which has children’s learning at the center. It actively promotes personal learning goals alongside curriculum content. We encourage children to be adaptable, empathetic, ethical, resilient, respectful, communicators, collaborators and thinkers. In addition to subject and personal learning, the IPC aims to nurture children to become internationally minded and globally competent world citizens. 


At ISH we developed a definition of learning that is the core of our practice.  We focus on three areas of learning; subject, personal and international.  We plan, teach, and assess knowledge, skills and understanding in different ways.  Learning happens in the brain and is facilitated by the processes highlighted in our definition below.



At ISH we encourage learners to understand and express different perspectives and ideas to promote acceptance and inclusion. We do this by celebrating our diversity and our shared humanity.  We infuse our curriculum with international learning and provide opportunities for learners to take meaningful action with positive impact. 


See the PDFs of the parent information sessions below for more detailed information about how we use the IPC here at ISH. 



Students in the primary school receive Dutch Language and Culture lessons.


More detailed information about the organisation and the curriculum can be found in our school guide 2022-2023, which you can find on the 'policies' webpage.


During the school year, we inform our parents about the curriculum/goals for that term and we organise workshops for parents in which we inform them about our curriculum and give advice on how to help their child(ren). You can find the presentations by clicking on the links below:


Maths at ISH 

We also provide you with maths progression documents, these show the learning, language, and strategies the children will be taught in each year group:


Group 2


Group 3


Group 4


Group 5


Group 6


Group 7




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