Colegio de San Francisco de Paula Primary School gives priority in terms of places to students from the Colegio de San Francisco de Paula Pre-School, where a bilingual syllabus is followed. If there are places available to children from other pre-schools, admission requirements include a sufficient level of English to be able to keep up with the subjects that are taught through English.
At Primary School, the pre-school bilingual program –Spanish and English– is intensified. The introduction to French is continued and German is added to the curriculum as a fourth language. Classes in Natural and Social Sciences, Arts and Crafts, Physical Education and English Language are taught through English. In the Third Cycle of Primary School (years Five and Six; ages ten to twelve) Religion or its alternative is also taught through English, bringing the total amount of teaching received through English up to half. Drama and French are taught in French, while Music and German are taught in German. The teachers are native speakers of the languages in which they give classes, and can therefore not only introduce students to the language, but also to the relevant culture, encouraging intercultural awareness and understanding.
Since 2013/2014, and as a candidate center, and since 2016/2017 as an authorized center, the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) is taught to Primary students from year 1 to year 4. With this implementation, the school aims to use the rapid development taking place during the first years of childhood to achieve a more meaningful learning based on competencies, which is the Spanish educational system traditional deficiency.
To do so, the PEP provides a curriculum framework in which traditional learning areas are enriched with transdisciplinary approaches, focused on improving the basic knowledge and concepts of students (what they should know and understand), but also developing social, communicative, reflective and inquiry skills, encouraging students to adopt positive attitudes towards themselves and the others and, at the same time, promoting their capacity to "make" through the practical application of the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired.
Year 5 and Year 6 students follow guidelines of the Middle Years Programme.
This entire educational project is based on the student-centered approach that supports the holistic development of children, nurturing their emotional, social, language, cognitive, and physical needs. The aim of the programme is to develop responsible, internationally minded people who go beyond the strictly academic sphere and help to create a more peaceful world. The PYP curriculum therefore focuses on developing the IB learner profile attributes in students. The profile aims to develop learners who are:
With the IB learner profile as a key element, the implementation of the PYP will mean to extend the formative / summative evaluation to a stage where it has not been presented yet, which will ensure better continuity of evaluation system and will get the students to receive a consistent message throughout the different stages of education.
As we are also implementing methodological innovation projects at other grade levels, the development of the PYP Program of Inquiry is a part of our School culture. The families will be provided with full information of the actions taken by the School and its teachers for the successful implementation of the program, with particular attention to the contributions they could make.
At Primary level, special attention is paid to developing students’ social and ethical values, as well as their self-organisation and study habits, therefore, from the age of six, encouraging work habits, a desire to do things well and a drive to succeed. A particular emphasis is also placed on the introduction of scientific experiments, through activities carried out both in the classroom and in the laboratories, to which students have access from the first year. Furthermore, through their use of computers and interactive whiteboards, children are introduced to new technologies, and to the idea of using them as a study tool. At primary level, the classes at Colegio de San Francisco de Paula show an academic load that is 36% higher than the majority of schools.
For primary children that are having difficulty keeping up with the rest of their class, the School provides support classes in Spanish, Mathematics, English and Physical Education. These classes, always in much smaller groups, take place during the school day, at the same time as the regular class; the children are taken from their usual classroom to the support classroom. Physical Education support classes normally take place at the 13.20 to 14.50 timeslot.
For children diagnosed as being highly intellectually gifted, the School provides classes in Mandarin Chinese (3hrs/week) during school hours. Similarly, very gifted children who take Music receive two extra hours of music practice.