By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

The International School of Beijing (ISB) held a dedication ceremony for its Early Years Learning Community (EYLC) this morning. After enjoying and growing in this space all year, ISB’s youngest students of course played a central role in the ceremony – as these pictures show.

All three EYLC grade levels presented a special project to dedicate to the EYLC, which was among the new facilities opened at ISB for 2020-2021, the school’s 40th anniversary year. The EYLC is home to Early Years 3 (EY3), Early Years 4 (EY4), and Kindergarten classes. 

EY3 presented stepping-stones for the EYLC’s Secret Garden. EY4 presented a painting representing the EYLC garden to be hung above the EY4 community space. And Kindergarten presented community banners that will have pride of place in the EYLC. All the projects featured student work and were an opportunity for learning – the painting, for example, was aligned to a gardening unit.

The EYLC space was purpose-built for ISB’s youngest learners. It features 13 classrooms, lofts, and large common areas. The facilities are child-sized and designed for flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The EYLC space supports ISB’s Early Years philosophy of differentiation, play-based and enquiry-based learning. Children in the EYLC gain the confidence to question, the inspiration to create, and the passion to learn and grow.

While the EYLC is staffed by world-class educators, the facilities are also of great importance. ISB bases all its programs, across the school, on progressive educational principles, best practice in education, and science – and the science shows that creative learning environments help children thrive.

In his speech at the ceremony, Head of School Patrick Hurworth said, “Our job, as people who care for and love our students, is to take the school’s Mission statement from the abstract to the concrete. There’s nowhere in the school where the Mission of ISB is more apparent than in the Early Years Learning Community. We promise students the freedom to explore, the chance to find their place in the world, and we promise students and their parents that the learning every day will be challenging and joyful. When I look at the work being done here, I’m so proud that the students, teachers, and staff are making the Mission come to life.”

Elementary School Principal Clarissa Sayson explained that conceptualizing the new EYLC began in May 2017. “At the time, we dreamed of what we could provide so that our students would be inspired, so that they would be able to create, and so that most importantly, they would be able to explore and build on their curiosity. That dream has been realized now in the EYLC.”

Visit the EYLC section of ISB’s website to learn more about this bright corner of the school and watch a video about ISB’s Early Years philosophy.

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