2.0 Elementary (Pre-Nursery – Grade 5)

2.0 Elementary (Pre-Nursery – Grade 5)

2.01 Introduction

In Grades PN – 5 we provide many varied and challenging opportunities in order for the students to excel. The Primary Years Programme provides us with a platform to offer academic excellence, personal development and the opportunity for all students to achieve success.

Students are assigned to a homeroom teacher who organises a comprehensive learning programme for the students. A typical day is structured around eight 40 minute periods with a 30 minute break for snack and play in the morning and one hour given to lunchtime. Nursery and Pre-K students have an extra afternoon snack as well.

We ensure that an appropriate level of English support is given to all students depending on their previous learning experiences, current understanding and mother tongue. The school also employs talented single subject teachers who offer expertise in the areas of Art, Music, and P.E. The students visit these for 1 or 2 periods a week. We offer a variety of Chinese language lessons to students depending on their native language and ability levels, and in our Nursery-Kindergarten classes each homeroom has their own Chinese homeroom teacher who works alongside the English speaking homeroom teacher.

A wide range of sporting, recreational, artistic and cultural activities supports our academic programme. We positively encourage parent involvement and participation, indeed many activities are arranged to encourage parents to visit and involve themselves in the learning experiences.

2.02 Grade Levels

The grade levels in the Elementary School, the corresponding children’s ages, and the equivalent years of school are as follows:

Grade Level

Age Range

Equivalent Years of School

Pre-Nursery 2 to 3 year olds  Early Years, Preschool, Early childhood
Nursery 3 to 4 year olds Early Years, Preschool, Early Childhood
Pre-Kindergarten 4 to 5 year olds Early Years, Preschool, Preparatory Year, Early Childhood, Reception
Kindergarten 5 to 6 year olds Year 1 of school
Grade 1 6 to 7 year olds Year 2 of school
Grade 2 7 to 8 year olds Year 3 of school
Grade 3 8 to 9 year olds Year 4 of school
Grade 4 9 to 10 year olds Year 5 of school
Grade 5 10 to 11 year olds Year 6 of school

Grade level teams maintain close co-ordination to ensure that all children at the grade level are working towards the same concepts and outcomes, while allowing for individual differences in development.

2.03 Curriculum and Beliefs

The Elementary School aims to provide an education of the highest standard, preparing students to become responsible, effective, creative, enterprising and happy members of tomorrow’s society. We are committed to fostering a community of learners, and to providing an academic curriculum that develops a broad knowledge base, while developing the skills of critical and creative thinking.

To compliment the school’s educational philosophy the Elementary staff have developed a vision to ensure deep learning and enduring understanding. This vision also recognizes the need for all members of the school community to be active contributors in the learning process.

The Elementary Staff believes, as educators, that our focus should be on educating the whole child through active engagement in meaningful real life and life like experiences, in a supportive and stimulating environment, enabling them to reach their full potential and become life-long learners.


We aim to use inquiry in which planned and negotiated experiences are promoted through flexible learning environments.


Students learn best in an accepting environment where they work independently and collaboratively whilst having ownership of their learning.


Children need to learn to participate effectively in society by being equipped with the knowledge, understandings, attitudes, skills and tools that enable a meaningful interaction with both personal and global communities.

Our journey with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme is enabling us to deliver our ideal learning environment. The Primary Years Programme combines the best research and practice from a range of national systems with a wealth of knowledge and experience from international schools to create a relevant and engaging educational framework for all children.

In the Early Years Phase, an age when children are going through many developmental milestones, the focus is on providing the conditions necessary for continued progress in:

  • Social development and emotional well-being
  • Language development, including both oral and written language concepts and skills
  • Intellectual development, including the development of a range of mathematical and scientific concepts and skills
  • Aesthetic development
  • Physical development

The method used by the teachers to direct this development is to carefully construct play and discovery opportunities that meet the needs of the children. The teachers continuously plan to move each child’s understanding forward through close observation and interaction with each student during their play or activity.

The Primary Years Programme

The curriculum, philosophy and approach to teaching and learning in the Elementary Division is based on the Primary Years Programme (PYP).

The PYP is an inquiry-based programme which strives for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes, and the opportunity for effective action.

Learner Profile

The PYP aims for students to become responsible, global citizens with international understanding. The IB define this as the Learner Profile which outlines 10 desirable attributes that we encourage in the students both within, and outside, the learning environment.

Inquirers Knowledgeable
Thinkers Communicators
Risk-Takers Principled
Caring Open-Minded
Balanced Reflective

Curriculum Delivery

The Elementary Curriculum at SSIS is a balanced exploration and investigation of skills and knowledge. The table below outlines the scope of the curriculum. Some areas are explored within ‘stand alone’ subjects and some are explored through the Programme of Inquiry (POI).

Scope of our Curriculum


Subject Strands

Language(English & Additional Languages) · Oral communication: listening and speaking· Written communication: reading and writing· Visual communication: viewing and presenting
Mathematics · Data handling· Measurement· Shape and space· Pattern and function· Number
Science · Living Things· Earth & Space· Materials & Matter· Forces & Energy
Social Studies · Human systems and economic activities· Social organization & culture· Continuity and change through time· Human & natural environments· Resources & the environment
Visual Art · Creative processes· Elements and principles of art and design· Visual art in society· Reflection and appreciation
Music · Performing: singing and playing instruments· Creating and composing· Notation· Listening and appreciation· Music in Society
PSPE(Personal, Social and Physical Education) · Self Concept· Health & Safety· Interaction with Others· Organization for learning· Health –related activities· Body control & spatial awareness· Athletic activities· Games· Movement to Music· Adventure Challenge

2.04 Homeroom Teachers / Classroom Structures


Students are assigned to a homeroom class depending on their age. Each class has one expatriate teacher, one Chinese teacher and one ayi. The teachers work together to plan and teach all areas of the curriculum, and in addition the Chinese teachers deliver one lesson per day solely dedicated to Chinese language learning. In addition to homeroom lessons, children work with single-subject teachers for Visual Arts, Performing Arts or Music, and the Perceptual Motor Programme or Physical Education.

Grades 1-5

Students are assigned to a homeroom class depending on their age. Each class has one homeroom teacher who organises all homeroom-based lessons, predominantly Literacy, Maths and PYP Units of Inquiry. Students will visit different teachers for additional language instruction (Chinese and/or ESL), Art, PE and Music. Grade 5 students have the option to choose from additional languages such as Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French and German.

For more details of English Language Support please see section 8.

2.05 Academic Programmes (Single Subjects)


New students are given a Chinese placement test on arrival at SSIS, with the exception of those in the ESL Phase 1 and 2’ Classes. There are 3 Chinese streams catering to the different needs of the students:

  1. Chinese A: for students who speak Mandarin as their Mother Tongue or students who have a good command of the language.
  2. Chinese B: for students with Chinese language skills who do not come from a Chinese background.
  3. Chinese C: focusing on Chinese culture, arts and oral communication skills. This course is most suitable for new learners of the Chinese language, and for those children whose families do not intend to be in China beyond one or two years.

All N-K students study Chinese except German students. N-K students Chinese Levels determined through an assessment process.

  • Native and more advanced non-native Chinese speakers attend Chinese mainstream.
  • Other non-native Chinese speakers attend Chinese as a Second Language(CSL).

The Chinese programmes include activities related to the grade level Units of Inquiry. Formative assessment is interwoven into the students’ daily learning. Summative assessment will be carried out at the end of each topic to give the students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.

Elementary Visual Art Program

Students in the Visual Arts Program are actively involved in creating and communicating through art. Students reflect on their work and the work of others. Students develop fine motor skills that enhance the quality of their artwork. They study visual arts in society and a variety of media through the creative processes and develop their understanding of the elements and principles of art.

Throughout the program students develop their skills and craftsmanship by using different media. For example they paint with watercolours, acrylic, and tempera paints. They study drawing in pencil, coloured pencil, charcoal, and pastels. They also study a variety of types of printmaking and mixed media.

Students compile an archive via a sketchbook where planning is done as well as a photo of the finished art work to show the process from beginning to end.


The Music Department caters to the development of knowledge and abilities in all areas of music. Vocal skills are taught in all year levels, with in-depth studies of vocal technique in Grade 5. Classes are equipped with a variety of pitched and unpitched percussion for group ensemble work and individual rhythmic and melodic development. All students are provided the opportunity to learn keyboard in Grade 4. Note reading skills are developed largely from Grade 3, where students all learn the soprano recorder. All year levels are provided opportunities for creative expression, improvisation and musical composition. Music history and listening skills are approached through a variety of media. Students have many opportunities to display their learning in school assemblies as well as regular concerts in each semester. Extra ensembles, both vocal and instrumental, are provided for those seeking enrichment activities.


We have invested heavily in infrastructure and resources to support an excellent ICT program. Our site-wide high speed Internet connection enables teachers, students and parents to use laptops and mobile devices in all areas of the school campus. Teachers and children are supported by dedicated technology integration teachers and a highly trained and motivated ICT support team. SSIS teachers are highly trained in using ICT to support, enrich and extend student learning. Laptops, iPads, Apple TVs, document cameras and other technological devices are available for students to use when needed.

All students in the Grade 5 are expected to participate in our 1 to 1 Apple Laptop program. Parents have the option of purchasing their laptops through the school or externally. However, if a student has a laptop purchased externally they must have the school’s software installed on the machine prior to its use at school.

Laptop order forms are available through the website.

Our focus is on integrating ICT lessons with classroom transdisciplinary units of inquiry as much as possible. Students learn to use various equipment and software, navigate the Internet safely and efficiently, and improve their touch-typing skills.

At SSIS, we view computers as a tool to promote student’s learning including helping students access and process information. These skills are seen not as ends in themselves but as belonging to research, communication and thinking skills needed to be a contributing member to society in the 21st Century.

Elementary Physical Education and Sport

Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten students are involved in our PMP (Perceptual Motor Programme) for two lessons per week. The perceptual motor program (PMP) is a motor coordination programme for school aged children. PMP activities involve fun activities that help children with motor coordination, cognitive development, self-esteem, social skills and the ability to cope better in the classroom. The programme aims to develop children’s motor skills – hand-eye, balance, locomotion and fitness.

In Kindergarten-Grade 5 students participate in two lessons of Physical Education (PE) per week. Throughout the year, students will take part in a wide variety of physical activities to help them develop their movement skills. These include: swimming, gymnastics, creative dance, athletics, adventure challenge activities which are designed to promote team work, problem solving and co-operation and various sports such as: football, basketball, badminton and floor hockey.

Lessons follow the IB PYP philosophy of providing students with inquiry based learning opportunities designed to develop students’ understanding of the role of physical activity in a healthy lifestyle.

There are many other opportunities provided for Elementary students to be involved in extra curricular sporting activities including: lunchtime sport, after school swim club, JISSA sports, ACE, inter-school sport and sports day.

2.06 Assessment

Formative assessment is regularly carried out in the Elementary School. Summative assessment takes on a variety of guises in the form of exhibition, performance tasks, standard testing and the use of a variety of other assessment tools and strategies. Grade-wide moderation takes place in the areas of writing, reading, unit of inquiry, and mathematics. This ensures that all teachers have a shared understanding of expectations for the grade level. School-wide data collection and analysis is carried out for reading, writing, and mathematics and the teachers work together to mark these pieces of work. Classroom teachers also carry out regular assessments and keep records of student progress and achievement in all areas.


Each student creates a portfolio of work during the year that they share with parents at certain points during the year and at a student-led conference in May. This is a collection of work samples from all curriculum areas designed to show your child’s progress throughout the year. The child or the teacher reflects upon each piece of work.


Semester report cards are sent home and are available through the Public Portal on the last day of each Semester. Report cards are unfortunately not available earlier than this, though parents may opt for an interim report if students are leaving before the end of a semester or by leaving a forwarding address for the report to be mailed to.

ISA – International Schools Assessment

The ISA is a high quality test that international schools use to monitor student performance in mathematical literacy, reading and writing and to confirm that their international assessments are aligned with international expectations of performance. The ISA testing allows use to compare our results against other international schools. Grade 3-5 students sit for these tests each year in February and results are sent home. A parent information session is held each year to explain how to interpret the ISA report.

Repeating a Grade Level

Usually a student will move from one grade level to the next at the end of the school year. However, it is sometimes the case that we recommend that a student repeat a particular grade. In all cases we make this decision based on what is best for the student.

The steps below outline the process for such a decision being made:

  1. In the professional judgment of the teachers, the student has been unable to cope with the work in the current class and the teachers feel that repeating that year will enable a better understanding of the concepts and knowledge covered.
  2. In the professional judgment of the teachers, the maturity level of the student means that he/she would be better suited to repeating the class.
  3. The school’s recommendation for a student to repeat a year is presented to parents and a final decision is reached.

2.07 Homework

SSIS Elementary School Homework Policy (For Parents)


Homework can be an effective tool for intellectual development and academic learning. It allows students to explore subjects more fully than the classroom time permits. Homework provides opportunities to deepen understanding, review and practice skills, and prepare students for future lessons. At SSIS, homework is not formally assessed nor is it considered when determining a student’s level of achievement. However, it is considered when reporting on a student’s self-management skills.


 The purpose of homework is to:

  • provide parents with an opportunity to share in their child’s learning
  • enable parents to be involved and informed about work being undertaken in the class
  • develop good study habits, positive attitudes and a sense of responsibility in children
  • provide children with practice in aspects of class work
  • enable children to become independent learners and to manage their time

Homework can also create greater understanding between families and teachers and provide opportunities for increased communication between home and school.


 All students from Nursery to Grade 5 will be assigned homework. All homework will have a purpose related to the learning programme and individual student’s needs. Students are expected to complete all homework as well as reading on a daily basis.

Homework Grid

 Reasons for implementing:

  • recognises the wide range of after school activities
  • encourages positive family interactions
  • allows relaxed time for children to pursue their own learning
  • children need life skills as well as academic skills to cope with life beyond school and home
  • parents and teachers work together for the benefit of all children
  • consistency across grade levels

Homework Procedures

Roles and Responsibilities


Teachers are expected to:

  • select appropriate meaningful tasks which reinforce classroom learning
  • monitor time taken to complete homework assignments
  • provide timely feedback – assigning, monitoring, correcting, acknowledging and returning
  • understand the needs of families and be mindful of holidays
  • ensure students have the necessary skills to complete tasks
  • differentiate homework assignments to accommodate needs of each student
  • be consistent across your grade level


Parents are expected to:

  • support the independent reading programme
  • assist your child to develop good study habits by providing a comfortable, well-lit study area, away from distractions
  • work with your child to set a balanced study schedule
  • ensure a balanced approach between homework/study time, activity time and personal time
  • support & encourage independence and do not actively complete your child’s homework tasks, but, indicate you are available to help
  • encourage your child to put the assignment away for a while and move to something else, or take a break, if frustration occurs.


Students are expected to:

  • work with parents to set a balanced study schedule
  • inform the teacher and ask for help if an assignment is not understood
  • complete homework assignments to the best of your ability
  • know what you are expected to do for homework each night
  • establish a homework routine that is free from distractions
  • be independent and pack your bag and organize belongings for the following day
  • take a break, if frustration occurs. Put assignment away for a while and move to something else. Follow up with the teacher on the following day.

Homework Allocation Time

 The table below represents a possible homework time – it is only a guide.

N – PK – Read a storybook in English or mother tongue
K – 10 minutes reading and sight word practice
Gr 1 – 10-20 minutes, including 10 minutes reading
Gr 2 – 15-30 minutes, including 10 minutes reading
Gr 3 – 20-40 minutes, including 15 minutes reading
Gr 4 – 30-50 minutes, including 20 minutes reading
Gr 5 – 40-60 minutes, including 20 minutes reading

1. The total homework time from every teacher (including single subject teachers) should not normally exceed the maximum amount.

2. Every child is different and a parent and teacher may decide that less homework could be an option for an individual student.

3. It is the child’s responsibility to hand in homework on time.

4. Reading should be an integral part of homework and should be counted in the total time. The child’s reading is recorded in the green communication book and is regularly checked by the homeroom teacher.

5. Parents and teachers should communicate with each other if there are any concerns about the level of homework or the ability to complete it.

6. Single subject teachers may also set homework at different times throughout the year.

7. Good time management and a set homework routine at home are critical to success. In the event a child is taking more time than the chart indicates, parents and/or children should communicate this to the appropriate teacher.

Home Reading procedure:

Most students will be set reading that is at an independent level.

A variety of reading texts should be encouraged including free choice reading (for example mother tongue, library books and listening to parents read).

Independent levels are determined by comprehension and accuracy of reading.

Homework from Specialist Teachers:

World Languages/Chinese homework is given nightly – the amount depends on the child’s level. Please contact the individual Chinese/World Language teacher for more information.

World Languages/Chinese teachers should communicate with the homeroom teachers and parents to inform the time allocated for Chinese homework.

At the beginning of the school year (at parent night) the Language teachers will communicate to the parents the expectations of homework for the different levels.

Single Subject Teachers – Single subject teachers sometimes assign extra homework. When this occurs, parents will be contacted by email.

 2.08 CCA

Our comprehensive Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) programme runs once a week on a Thursday for 40 minutes (N-PRK) and on a Friday for 60 minutes (K-5) within the school day. Each student is able to experience a variety of educational, creative, sporting and recreational activities through a rotation. CCA is split into three 10-week sessions with the students selecting a new CCA each block. The groupings for CCA are Nursery and Pre-K, Kindergarten to Grade 1, Grade 2 to Grade 3 and Grade 4 to Grade 5.

Extra Curricular Clubs and Activities

Extra Curricular Clubs and activities are offered to all students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 and run over 2 seasons in the year. For these activities, children are placed in similar age groups and commit to one activity each season.  G2 – G5 student activities include a range of arts activities on Tuesdays and sporting activities on Wednesdays after school. While all K- G1 activities are on a Wednesday after school.  This is complemented by outside groups who also offer after school classes.

Bus Transport:  A reduced service is run at 5:00pm for students in grades 2-5, who are involved in after school activities. It does not stop at all compounds. If you select the bus transport option you will be notified which bus number your child should take and the closest drop off point, where you should meet them from the bus.

Please contact the school if you have any questions regarding bus transportation.

Parents sign up children for elementary activities through an online platform called the PublicPortal. The process for parents to register their students is available at this link

2.09 Excursions and Field Trips

All grade levels have the opportunity to go for field trips during the academic year. Examples of these might be a trip to places of interest such as gardens, cultural centres, historical places, factories and zoological centres. Many of these places are located in or around Suzhou however possible destinations include Shanghai, Taihu and Changzhou. These trips are linked closely to our programme of inquiry.

In addition to this, Grade Four and Grade Five students also have the chance to participate in Camps. These camps last for three days and include many exciting activities promoting teamwork and leadership skills. Grade 3 students take part in a sleep over in the Elementary library.

2.10 Special Events

Many special events are celebrated throughout the year. All classes lead an assembly during the year. Assemblies are run bi-weekly on a Friday from 11.45-12.25 in the theatre. Parents are welcome to attend. Other groups may perform at assemblies from time to time to showcase what they have been learning.

In addition, each grade organises events, which can take many forms such as an exhibition, presentation or performance and open days. These are linked to the Primary Years Programme and give the opportunity for parents to experience and participate in student learning. Throughout the year we organise special events such as choir and musical performances, book week, sports day, swimming carnival, arts exhibition and a large Christmas and Chinese New Year celebration. We end the year with a concert for all students.

We are constantly reviewing and adding to the special events calendar and exploring ways in which these can be linked to the curriculum in the Elementary School.

2.11 Daily Routines




8.00 Students begin arriving at school
8.30 Classes begin
9.30 Morning snack
10.00 Class continues
11.45 Buses home




8.00 Students begin arriving at school
8.30 Classes begin
10:30 Morning snack
11.00 Class continues
12:30 Lunch and playtime
1.30 Classes continue (1.30-2.30 Nursery rest time)
2.15 Afternoon snack
2.45 Class continues
3.30 Dismissal


  • Pre Kindergarten students using the Sodexo service have a morning snack and hot lunch served in the Early Years Dining Room and an afternoon snack served in the classrooms. Teachers supervise and model appropriate manners and social skills. During second semester these students start to transition to eating in the school canteen.
  • For Nursery students using the Sodexo service all meals are served in the Early Years Dining Room.
  • Teachers gently encourage students to try new foods and to enjoy the meals and are mindful that students are eating sufficient quantities and a balance of foods. If you have concerns about your child’s eating habits it is best to speak to the teacher in person.
  • Students who bring their own lunch take their lunch boxes to the canteen to eat with the other students.
  • The school does not provide refrigeration or heating facilities for home lunches.


  • After lunch Nursery children have a rest. The beds and linen for the naps are provided and allocated to individual children for the year. These are sent home bi-weekly to be washed.


  • Children are given frequent reminders to use the toilet and are supervised in hygiene practices such as washing their hands before meals and after the toilet. All children must be toilet-trained and able to use the toilet independently before they can be enrolled from Nursery. Ayis support the children when they are using the toilets.


  • There is a daily time allocation for outdoor play, in addition to a daily opportunity for guided physical activity. Children will not be taken outside in extremes of weather.

Procedure for the arrival and departure from school – Nursery-Pre-Kindergarten

Morning arrival

  • Children coming by bus are brought to their classroom by the bus ayi.
  • Children being brought to school by parents must be brought to the classroom and not dropped at the gate.
  • We expect that all children should be at school at 8.20am. This allows time for each child to complete their morning routines and settle in before the start of class.
  • 8am is the earliest time a child should arrive, as before this time there may not be any teachers here to supervise them.

Students who travel home by bus

  • Students will be taken to the buses at 3.25.
  • Students will be handed over to the ayi who supervises the bus and will not be left on a bus unattended.
  • Should a parent decide to collect their child from school instead of using the bus the parent must let the office or the teacher know before 12.00 so that the child can be taken to the pick-up room and marked as not travelling home on the school bus.
  • If there is a problem with meeting your child at the bus drop-off point, please inform the office before 3.15 to make alternative arrangements if necessary.
  • Please be sure to have your bus ayi’s mobile number in case of emergencies.

Students who are collected from school

  • Students will be waiting for parents in the pick-up room.
  • Students must be collected by 3.35 pm.
  • The person picking up the child must have authorisation to do so and must inform the duty teacher when collecting their child.sign for the child.

Kindergarten-Grade Five



8:00 School opens (children start arriving from this time)
8:30 Classes begin
10.30 Morning snack and play
11.00 Classes continue
12:25 Lunch and playtime
1:30 Classes continue
3:30 End of school

Arriving at and Departing from School

  • Please inform the Elementary office if your child is going to be absent from school by ringing or emailing the respective Elementary secretary or homeroom teacher.
  • We expect that all children should be at school at 8.20am. This allows time for each child to complete their morning routines and settle in before the start of class. 8am is the earliest time a child should arrive at school.
  • Please inform the bus office and homeroom teacher by 12.00 if your child will not be traveling by bus for any reason. Bus office email address: bus@ssis-suzhou.net
  • The ayi will ensure all children in Elementary are accounted for before leaving the school so it is vital that you inform the office and homeroom teacher if there is any change to the normal schedule.
  • Please note that students may not travel on buses other than the one that they are assigned.
  • Please pick up any students from DS113 (N-K) or the Elementary canteen (G1-5) at the end of the day and ensure that you have informed the duty teacher.

Taking a Student Home Early.

The procedure for this is as follows:

  • Inform your child’s teacher in advance.
  • Collect and fill in a Permission to Leave School Grounds Form from Christine Ma or Li Yan, divisional secretaries. Inform the secretaries that your child will not be on the bus.
  • This form needs to be signed by a principal or deputy principal.
  • This form is then given to the guard on the way out.

Food And Drink

SSIS strives to be a nut free zone (we cannot guarantee to be 100% nut free) and no nuts should be brought to school at any time or be consumed on the school buses during transit.


We realize that birthdays are a special occasion for children, which you may wish to celebrate at school. We request that you contact your child’s teacher at least a week in advance if you would like to bring in a cake or special treats for your child to share with their class. Severe nut allergies are becoming more and more common in students. To ensure that all students remain safe, nuts and products that contain nuts should not be brought onto campus at any time.  Please be aware that most of the day is filled with learning activities. Because of this, birthday celebrations, while welcomed, are kept short.

Drink bottles in the Classroom

All children should keep a drink bottle at school. This is especially important during hot summer months. This bottle should only contain water and no sweetened/flavoured/coloured drinks. Please write your child’s name on the drink bottle.

Bringing Food to School

The canteen provides ample food for students using the Sodexo service at both snack and lunch times. If your child brings extra food or their own lunch please ensure it is healthy (eg, fruit, sandwiches, kimbap). To avoid medical issues caused by food allergies, please ask your child not to share food with other people. Candy, crisps and chocolates are foods meant for special occasions such as parties and should not be brought in at any other time.


If you wish to come to join your child during lunchtime, you are welcome to eat with them  in the upstairs canteen.  Please note that you may only take your own children to eat upstairs.

2.12 Parent Involvement

We very much appreciate and value the involvement of parents in our school. There are many ways to become involved, regardless of whether you have a lot of time to spare, or whether you work full time and can be involved only occasionally. Some examples are:

  • Volunteer as a parent helper in your child’s classroom – either for one-off occasions (such as special events), or on a regular basis (helping with reading every week, volunteering to help out during their art classes etc.)
  • Come in as a “guest speaker” during a unit of inquiry, if you have special expertise in that area.
  • 1 to 1 Reading Volunteer
  • Work with the PSP to organise or assist during special events such as International Family Day.
  • Be a Parent Helper during a field trip.
  • Volunteer to be a member of committees such as the Uniform or Canteen Committee.
  • Attend Parent Teacher Conferences, Student Led Conferences, End-of-Unit Presentations, and School Assemblies.
  • Volunteer your expertise to help with the Grade Five PYP Exhibition.
  • Support your child at home with their learning, and help them make connections between their life outside school and what they learning in class.

2.13 Communication

Effective communication with parents is very important to our school. These are some of the ways we will let you know about what is happening in your child’s class, in the Elementary Division, and at SSIS as a whole:

  • Homeroom communication – weekly updates on the class website from the teacher about what the class has been doing.  Teachers may also use email to contact you directly about your child. This is probably the most effective way to communicate with your child’s teacher about any issues or concerns you have. Your child’s teacher may also choose to communicate via a Communication Book/reading log.
  • The weekly “Dragon’s Den” Newsletter, containing articles and information from all parts of the school – Pre-Nursery to Grade 12. This is available on our school’s website www.ssis-suzhou.net another important communication channel.
  • At the beginning of every Unit of Inquiry, you will receive a Unit Letter/Brochure detailing what your child will be learning during the unit, how you can help at home, and how your child will be assessed.
  • The school’s website contains useful and relevant information about school events and programs.
  • Parent Morning Teas and Information Sessions are held regularly. The yearly schedule is posted on the Parent Calendar and communicated via email prior to each meeting.
  • Report Cards are sent home twice a year.
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences are held twice a year, and Student Led Conferences occur once a year.
  • In cases of Emergency the school’s website is used to communicate with parents along with an SMS system. eg. School closed due to snow day

Parents are encouraged to contact teachers directly with any questions or concerns. Should you wish to meet in person with your child’s teacher, please email to make an appointment – this way the teacher will be able to set aside a time specifically to talk to you. If you feel you need more information after this meeting, please make an appointment to see the Elementary Principal or Assistant Principal.

2.14 Contacts and Staff

The following administration staff work within the Elementary School and are happy to answer questions and receive comments or suggestions. Please see your child’s teacher first if your question or comment concerns something that is happening within your child’s classroom.

Elementary Principal: Ms Catherine Nicol

Email: catherinenicol@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62589817

Elementary Assistant Principal: Ms. Becki Clentworth

Email: beckiclentworth@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62589810

Early Years / PYP Coordinator: Ms. Carmen Murray

Email: carmenmurray@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62589810

Grade 1-5 / PYP Coordinator: Ms. Yoon-Ah Lee

Email: yoonahlee@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62589810

Elementary Secretary (Grades 1-5): Ms. Grace Gao

Email: gracegao@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62588339

Elementary Secretary (PreN – K): Ms. Li Yan

Email: liyan@ssis-suzhou.net

Tel: 0512 – 62588362

Additional responsibility post holders for 2016 /2017 are as follows:



Pre-Nursery and Nursery Karen Turner
Pre-Kindergarten Debby Kelly
Kindergarten Karen Brown Miller
Grade 1 Donita Bell
Grade 2 Anthony Theilen
Grade 3 Tim Bell
Grade 4 Maryanna Geraghty
Grade 5 Gareth King
Student Services Michaela Simpson
German Department – Elementary Anne Kaldenbach
Chinese (N-K) Kong Ya Ping
Chinese (1-5) Wang Yu Feng
ESL,Single Subjects (PE, Art, Music) Liz Buglya Jay Brownrigg

All email addresses for teaching staff can be made by using first name and surname with the school email address eg firstnamesurname @ssis-suzhou.net

A full list of staff names and email addresses can be found in the Staff Directory on the website