Nursery & Prekindergarten

ISB’s Nursery and Prekindergarten are full-day play-based programs that meet five days per week. In these grades, 100% of the core instruction is in the target language, French or Spanish.

ISB believes that in order to bring out the best in each child, the learning experience in preschool must respect individual learning styles and developmental readiness, and that learning should be joyful.

ISB uses play to introduce inquiry- and project-based learning, allowing students to learn how to ask questions and adapt to group learning while teachers still relate to students as individuals.

These experiences are designed to nurture the development of the whole child - emotionally, socially, academically, physically, linguistically, and culturally. Students start to build literacy and math skills through this highly effective approach.

Preschool Curriculum

ISB’s Preschool curriculum covers six areas: language arts, mathematics and scientific thinking, social studies, the arts (music and visual arts), physical development, and personal and social development. Daily schedules include a balance of activities that are both child-directed and teacher-directed.


Literacy in Preschool is focused on growing students’ emergent literacy skills in the target language. Teachers engage students in early literacy skills, such as letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and story comprehension through a variety of activities that are of personal interest.

Students in Nursery and Prekindergarten begin to play with and manipulate letters and sounds in the context of their names, the classroom environment, and word games. Students begin to take ownership of their written name to label their work, take pride in beginning to read their classmates’ names, and start to read the words that surround them in their classroom environment. Students will grow familiar with the full alphabet in the target language by the end of Prekindergarten and continue to consolidate this skill in Kindergarten.


Math education in Preschool is integrated into unit-related projects, games, and class routines. Students develop their number sense and problem solving skills through the use of manipulatives such as building blocks, calendars, and puzzles. Regardless of the task, ISB’s teachers are skilled at differentiating activities in order to support each child’s growth within a nurturing environment.

What are the Benefits of a Play-Based Education?

  • Provides a meaningful context for children to learn concepts and skills
  • Makes learning fun and enjoyable
  • Encourages children to explore and discover together and on their own
  • Allows children to extend what they are learning
  • Enables children to experiment and take risks
  • Gives opportunities to practice cooperative behavior and problem solving with classmates

Academic Overview

  • 100% core instruction in the target language (Spanish or French)
  • Full-day programs, five days a week
  • School Day Hours: 9am–3pm (early drop-off available from 8am-8:45am and extended care available from 3pm–6pm)
  • 15–18 students with two (or three) teachers per class
  • Twice Daily Recess
  • Weekly Art, Music, Physical Education
  • Play-based program



The Buddy Bench is Here!

By Dr. Liz Helbraun, School Psychologist and Lower School Counselor The Buddy Bench is an anti-bullying, pro-kindness initiative to help students find someone to play with during recess times. An American boy saw the Buddy Bench used in his school in Germany and brought the idea to the US when he returned to school here. Now Buddy Benches are being used all over Europe and the United States. I started looking into the Buddy Bench after hearing about it from a mother at ISB. What’s nice about this approach is that it’s very child-directed, rather than adult-directed. It gives our students a tool for helping peers and making friends.

Screen Shot 2016-12-15 at 3.15.59 PM

Bon Appétit, Lapinou!

During the beginning of the year, our beloved "Lapinou" has been a big part of our life here in French Pre-K. He went home with a student every week and came back with some fantastic stories to share. Our class was inspired by the book Bon Appétit Monsieur Lapin by Claude Boujon and decided to write our own version of the story.


The Origins of ISB’s Walk for Water

I’ll never forget my first encounter with Kids for Kids’ founder Patricia Parker. We were living in London at the time, and my four-year-old son came from school one day with an important message: “In Darfur, the kids have to walk really, really, far to get water and we need to send them money so they can have water and a goat!” His seven-year-old sister was able to fill in a few of the blanks: in Darfur, Sudan, children had to walk as many as seven hours from their villages to collect water for their families.