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Brian Lettinga, Lower School Principal, International School of Belgrade

Empowering and Inspiring Students

Opportunities for academic excellence, artistic expression and international understanding are accessible to every student at The International School of Belgrade (ISB). The school’s challenging and diverse programmes offer high-quality international education with a global perspective. ISB relies on innovation and the best instructional practice to ensure they address pupils’ varying learning styles. The ISB staff is a representative group comprising more than 10 different nationalities, while the students come from more than 40 different countries. ISB welcomes learners from all parts of the world, as well as working to inspire members of the community to embrace their responsibility to make the world a better place.

The ISB has for years represented a shining example when it comes to educating children of all ages. What forms the basis of your educational curriculum for the youngest children?

students– Empowering and inspiring students begins with our youngest learners here at The International School of Belgrade (ISB). We follow the Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is one of the programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO). The PYP represents a framework for learning through which students and teachers can co-construct understanding together. It is through inquiry that deep and enduring understanding takes place each and every day here at ISB. Our students connect their learning through off-campus field trips and are involved actively in serving others and our school through various action projects that we undertake each year. Our curriculum is also balanced, providing students with opportunities to take educational risks in learning other modern languages, physical education, the performing arts, or visual arts.

What distinguishes your education system from those of other similar schools in Serbia?

students– What makes ISB Serbia’s flagship school is its international nature. While the PYP is a framework, our curriculum is based on resources from around the world. We use various sources, ranging from Australia to the United States, to draw upon the best teaching practices and instructional outcomes. Staff members are regularly trained in the inquiry process and possess advanced level university degrees. Our staff is a representative group comprising more than 10 different nationalities, while the students come from more than 40 different countries. ISB welcomes learners from all parts of the world, as well as working to inspire members of the community to embrace their responsibility to make the world a better place.

The PYP represents a framework for learning through which students and teachers can co-construct understanding together. It is through inquiry that deep and enduring understanding takes place each and every day here at ISB

In addition to basic education, IBS also takes care of the social development of children. Which channels of education do you utilise in order to achieve that?

– All International Baccalaureate schools embrace the IB Learner Profile, which consists of ten attributes that we aim to instil in our community. 

students

Children are encouraged to be inquirers, thinkers, communicators, caring, balanced, principled, knowledgeable, reflective; risk-takers who keep an open mind. ISB welcomes learners with various educational needs and we can support them by having a full-time counsellor, learning support teachers, and doctor on staff to help meet the needs of all of our students. We have a systematic orientation process that welcomes new students and families to our community, as well as a ‘buddy’ system in place so all new students have support in their classrooms and during break times.

How do you manage to “conduct” the needs, habits and cultural differences of children coming from different countries and cultures?

– ISB seeks to be inclusive in its education. Our staff members recognise and celebrate the many differences that can be part of a truly eclectic school population. We embrace the challenge, change, and open-mindedness in all that we do. Our school enjoys a strong and supportive spirit of community that extends to new students and families from our staff, students and parents, welcoming all new members into our community regardless of their cultural or ethnic origins.

Are there specific criteria that a child needs to satisfy in order to enrol in the ISB Lower School?

students– ISB enjoys an open enrolment system, meaning all children are welcome to apply. We follow a rolling admission process, which ensures new students can join at any point during the school year. ISB seeks to look at each applicant as an individual and we work to follow that model with all student applicants. A desire to learn alongside a group of internationally-minded community members is about all it takes to apply to the Lower School. I would like to invite the Belgrade community to contact ISB for access to our upcoming ISB Open Day event on 18th May, at which we will welcome prospective students to ISB.

Our programme is designed to encourage a balance of child-initiated and teacher facilitated activities, taking into account the individuality and diversity of each learner

How would you assess the education system for the youngest age groups in Serbia?

– There is a good body of research that supports organised play at early ages, and we refer to this as ‘play-based learning’. ISB begins instruction with our programme for three-year-olds. Our programme is designed to encourage a balance of child-initiated and teacher-facilitated activities, taking into account the individuality and diversity of each learner. Our programme creates learning opportunities and individual inquiries which spark children’s natural curiosities, interests and enthusiasm.

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