The Wangari Maathai International School integrates various curricula to meet the requirements of the Berlin Senate and those of an international bilingual school. The school in general and the subjects German and mathematics in particular follow the Berlin framework curricula.
At primary level, these can be easily combined with the other curricula used in schools (National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
Mathematics is taught in German. History and ES can also take place in German, depending on resources. English classes are held exclusively by native speakers.
At the end of the 10th grade, the children take the MSA exams. These exams in German and mathematics must be taken in German, which is why attention is paid to teaching mathematics consistently in German. In the 3rd grade, all children take part in the comparative work VERA 3, which is also in German. Our children always finish here with very good results.
More information about the Berliners framework curricula can be found here:
Principles of performance evaluation in the classroom and on the reports, the weighting and the number of class tests at the WMIS can be found here in German and in English:
According to the decision of the school conference, the children get the Grades 1-4 indicator-based reports at the end of the school year. At the end of January, the certificate is replaced by an interview. This regulation is in accordance with the School Act. At the end of the school year, your child will be assessed according to certain performance indicators in each subject with 4 different levels.
Since the framework decree for the international schools in Berlin only provides for the award of grades from grade 5, we have decided to start awarding orientation grades as early as grade 4. These grades appear under class tests for orientation. The testimony is an indicator-based one.
In the Grades 5-6 become grade reports granted at the end of the year and at the end of the year. In addition, learning development talks take place.
At the end of the school year, from class 3, a report on work and social behavior is issued.
Mother tongue and partner languages: German and English
Since the children's English language skills are checked before they start school at the NMS, each child is given either the status "mother tongue English" or "partner language English" and thus the opposite status for German. i.e. a child who, for example, has native language skills in English is automatically assigned to the "German partner language course". Since many children come to us from abroad and/or grow up in bilingual families, the language skills of the children are very heterogeneous, especially in “German partner language lessons”. If a child has no or only weak oral German skills, they take part in “German partner language lessons” as far as possible, but receive additional lessons as “German side entrants” and are exempt from grading in German for up to two years.
The different language skills and learning requirements of the children in their mother's and especially in their partner's language lessons sometimes require strong differentiation measures that are implemented through action-oriented and more open teaching methods (e.g. daily or weekly plans). As far as possible, each child should be encouraged individually and increasingly learn to become more independent and take responsibility for their own learning. The development of methodological and social skills is just as important and a matter of course in German lessons as in all other subjects.
Children with English as their mother tongue begin their alphabetization in English, the English partner language children learn to write in English in the 3rd grade. The subject English will be after the National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland informed. As textbooks, in particular Jolly Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree, such as Oxford International Literacy used.
Children who are native speakers of German begin learning German literacy. The German partner language children (i.e. English native speakers) usually start writing and reading in the German language in the 3rd grade, since they must have a sound level of literacy in their native language. By the end of the 3rd grade, many children have also acquired written language in their partner language
An annual "highlight" in this respect is our reading morning in the run-up to Christmas. This morning, all the teachers at our school will read from one of their favorite books. The children can choose two “lectures” in advance. As a result, all children in the NMS from grades 1-6 mixed, ie not sorted according to their class or grade level, listen to a story in small groups and discuss it. This is a special experience for both young and old.
Since the school has a small library, it can be integrated into everyday teaching. In addition, there is a small class library in each classroom.
Mathematics is taught in German in grades 1-6, in grades 5-6 the pupils are prepared for the secondary level subject lessons, some of which are in English. Classes 1-4 work with the textbook "Rechenraabe" The mathematics lessons follow the requirements of the framework curriculum of the State of Berlin. In addition, the Mathematics Conference has formulated basic minimum requirements for the completion of Class 2, Class 4 and Class 6. These represent minimum requirements that provide orientation when allocating new students to the appropriate grades. If these learning objectives are not met, successful further work in mathematics in the following school year is at risk.
From the third grade, the students take part in the worldwide kangaroo mathematics competition, a mathematical multiple-choice competition with more than 4.5 million participants from many European and non-European countries. The aim of the competition is first and foremost to arouse enthusiasm for mathematics and to arouse the joy of mathematical thinking and working
Environmental Science (ES) is a subject taught in grades 1 to 4 that introduces students to scientific and technical phenomena and to the social, economic and historical aspects of their environment. In the first 4 years of elementary school, students get to know the world by exploring phenomena from eight subject areas: earth, child, market, wheel, animal, water, life and time. For example, they investigate how water changes its state depending on the temperature, what makes a skateboard roll down a ramp, which animals live in the desert and which in the rainforest, or how a banana finds its way from a farm in South America to a supermarket in Germany . Each school year, around 4 of these overarching topics are dealt with in a practical and project-based manner, so that all areas were explored over the course of a two-year volume.
All topics are also linked to the five perspectives of environmental science: social science, natural science, geography, history and technology.
On the one hand, learning in the classroom builds on the experiences of the students, but it also includes technical content, methods, concepts and goals from various scientific disciplines. This also guarantees the connection and preparation for the subjects history/social studies and natural sciences taught in grades 5 and 6.
history and geography
From the Berlin Framework Curriculum: "The primary goal is to give the students orientation in space, time and society". The subject of social studies forms the bridge between general studies (grades 1-4) and history, geography and politics (secondary level I). The compulsory topics in grades 5 and 6 are:
3. Cities & Urban Diversity
4. Europe without borders
5. Tourism and mobility
6. Democracy and Participation*
In addition, one topic is chosen each year from the following areas: children, fashion, media, diversity, work and religions. Current events are also covered as news and issues emerge from the world. Students begin learning about the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods and early humans, and progress through early democracy in ancient Greece and Rome. Learning about early societies and prehistory lays the foundation for the modern history taught in secondary education. Geography is also taught, starting with that of Germany and later with Europe as a continent. The goal is to make students aware of how geography affects society. One focus is on sustainability and the “Global Goals”. Through the use of primary sources, maps, atlases and the internet, students' research and thinking skills are enhanced. History and geography in grades 5 and 6 (Social Sciences - GeWi) are taught in English by international teachers according to the Berlin Framework Curriculum.
The subject of art has a special status at our school in all grades, since we can particularly promote artistic talent in the Bega program. The art classes, which are mostly held in English, will be open to artists from different nations and will start interdisciplinary projects as part of Bega.
2 beautiful music rooms are the best conditions for demanding music lessons.
The physical education curriculum at the Nelson Mandela School aims not only to develop the physical abilities of the students, but also to promote their social skills and sense of responsibility. All primary school grades have physical education classes three weeks a week. Lessons can take place in two sports halls and in the sports field next to the school.
The flex classes are mainly taught by their class teachers, from the third class the physical education and swimming lessons are taken over by subject teachers. The language of instruction is not fixed, but depends on the mother tongue of the respective teacher. In classes 1 and 2, the focus is particularly on training teamwork and empathy as well as fairness towards your classmates. The students should have the opportunity to get to know their new classmates and grow together as a class. The students learn that smooth and joyful game processes require compliance with the rules of the game and that certain, simple strategies and tactics have an impact on the effectiveness of their actions. The focus in this class is on the joy of playing and physical activity.
In grade 3, students have two hours of swimming and one hour of physical education.
Protestant religious education or humanistic knowledge of life
Parents decide at school enrollment whether their child will participate
a) in the teaching of Protestant religion, conducted by the Protestant Church, or
b) in lessons in humanistic life skills, offered by the Humanistic Association of Germany.
EEA - Earth Arts Action This is a two-hour subject taught in the 3rd and 4th grades, in which we offer cross-year projects that are based on our mission statement. Depending on resources, we use internal and external educators to work with the students. In the school year 2022/23 we offer: Choir, dancing, art and music, schoolyard, newspaper and gardening.
Elective lessons (Wuf) (Wmandatoryandlessons fakultativ) is anchored in the timetable with 2 hours for the 5th and 6th classes across all years.
In the school year 2022/23 we offer the following activities: Photography, ceramics, drama, orchestra and mediation. Which 2-hour elective courses are offered from class 5 is decided under pedagogical standards in coordination with our mission statement and the resources.