The Primary and Lower Secondary School at the Scandinavian School of Madrid includes the preschool class up to year 9. We have two sections, one with Swedish and one with English as the language of instruction. The English speaking section has been extended from preschool class to year 4 and there are plans to continue the expansion to include all years up to and including upper secondary school.
This school year, 2010/2011, we have a total of eight groups and about 110 students in primary school and 15 in lower secondary school.
The school day starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 3:30 p.m. Later in the afternoon pupils are offered extracurricular activities.
Both sections are based on Scandinavian pedagogy and values. We want to inspire creativity and a desire for lifelong learning. We encourage students to think critically and to express their own opinions. Students are also taught to respect differences in people’s views and show empathy for the situation of others.
The Swedish speaking section follow the Swedish national curriculum for the compulsory school, Lpo 94 (New curriculum Lgr 11 will be in force from school year 2012/13). The National Agency of Education in Stockholm supervises operations. The curriculum applies by agreement also to students from the other Nordic countries and is partially used in the English speaking section. The school is an authorised Cambridge International Examination Centre and the English speaking section follows the Cambridge International Primary Programme in Maths, English and Science.
To make the transition between preschool and primary smoother, children aged 5 or 6 participate in a school-preparatory year, the preschool class. This includes working with numbers, words, letters as well as social training in preparation for the start of school. The preschool class is working in close proximity to the youngest school-children. The Scandinavian School offers a school start at 6 or 7 years of age.
We have an age-integrated and individualised education. Work is self-paced and independent of other classmates. Group affiliation is important. Therefore, we also work with the whole class and through our music profile we create cohesion across ages and groups. On several occasions during the academic year we give concerts and musical performances of various kinds and themes.
We take into account each student's level of development and ability. All students have an individual development plan. Students are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their studies by planning parts of the weekly program themselves. We work not only in the classroom but also visit museums, concerts, theatres, study the nature and make other field trips. The ability to cooperate, express ideas and listen and respect others is important.
All school pupils learn Spanish. The school is accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Education, which also carries out supervision of the programme. Native Spanish speakers have additional tuition of the Spanish language, literature and social studies according to the Spanish curriculum. Teachers of these subjects have a Spanish teaching degree. Other students study Spanish as a foreign language.
Students in the Swedish speaking section study English from year 2 and students from the English speaking section study Swedish as a foreign language from the same year. Student in both sections with Nordic origin receive mother tongue tuition from Year 1. French is studied from Year 7. In Year 3, 5 and 9 students in the Swedish speaking section take national tests in Swedish, mathematics and English. Starting the academic year 2012/13, the tests in year 5 will move to year 6.